Famous People Who Had Great Accomplishments Late in Life


jk rowling celebrity with great accomplishments late in life

Our society definitely places a premium on youth. Rising stars who show outstanding talents are showcased and celebrated every single day. This is great when you’re young, but when you’re older, the focus we have on talented youth makes it easy to feel like you’ve passed your chances of making something amazing of your life.

Of course, this isn’t true. The term “late bloomer” exists for a reason, and in many cases, the people who blossom later in life outshine the people who find their success earlier on. You’re never too late to reach your full potential. Don’t believe it? Take a look at these famous names who all earned their success later on in life.

8 Famous celebrities with great accomplishments late in life

Winston Churchill

Among historians, few modern names are as iconic as Winston Churchill’s. The UK Prime Minister guided Britain through the perils of World War II, all while refusing to bow down to Adolf Hitler. His bravery and tenacity earned him recognition around the world, and his wit remains legendary.

Believe it or not, Churchill wasn’t taken seriously through most of his life. His first successful run as Prime Minister came at 62, after failing to get elected every single public office before that.

Julia Child

Julia Child’s contributions to the culinary arts are legendary. She’s the face of modern French cooking and one of the very first celebrity chefs to ever exist. She enjoyed decades of success, all of which started when she published her first book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking at 49.

By 51, she was a television personality. By the age of 72, she had a video series, an Emmy Award, and hundreds of thousands of fans. Had she given up on her dreams of being a culinary guru, French cooking would never be the same.

Kathryn Joosten

If you are a fan of Desperate Housewives, you already recognize Joosten’s name as one of the lead stars. Believe it or not, she went out to chase her dreams long after most other actresses do. Joosten moved to Hollywood to chase her dreams in her 50s, with no agent, reel, or connections to speak of.

Despite the odds, Joosten’s killer acting got the attention of top producers. Her big break came at the age of 56, in an industry where youth seems to be the biggest decision-maker out there. Her big break came from Disney, and that success ended up giving her a happily ever after of her own.

Harland Sanders

For a very long time, the founder of KFC looked like a total failure. Harland Sanders spent a large portion of his life being fired from jobs, and driving around in a Cadillac, begging local diner owners to use his fried chicken recipe in exchange for a commission on each meal bought.

He finally started his first Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant at 65 years old, after countless failures, a destroyed service station, and a bitter divorce. Within a matter of 10 years, he had over 600 franchises across the country.

J.K Rowling

J.K Rowling is internationally celebrrated as the author behind the Harry Potter series, one of the most successful children’s fantasy series in history. If you thought she was young and spry when she found her success, you’d be wrong.

It’s common knowledge that Rowling wrote the Harry Potter series while on public assistance. She submitted her manuscript to all 12 major publishers, only to face 12 rejections. Bloomsbury, an indie publisher, picked it up. When it was finally published, she was in her early 30s.

All the failures made Rowling a lot tougher and more determined to succceed. In a very telling interview, Rowling explained, “Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”

Ray Kroc

Most people wouldn’t recognize Ray Kroc by name, but they definitely would recognize the business he started. Kroc was the man who made McDonald’s big, and like every other late bloomer on this list, he started a little later in life.

A San Bernadino milkshake machine salesman, Kroc was doing well for himself until he ran into a small eatery known as McDonald’s. Instead of selling them a new machine, he bought up the business and turned it into a franchise. Kroc first bought the restaurant at 42 years old. By 48, he had 200 locations.

Nowadays, Kroc’s brilliant business techniques are studies by potential CEOs around the world. This late bloomer definitely knew how to make his industry grow.

Vivienne Westwood

The fashion industry owes a lot to Vivienne Westwood, and respects her for her daring designs. Believe it or not, the youth-oriented designer and fashion icon didn’t get her start as a youngster. Rather, she kicked off her fashion career at 36 when she opened her iconic punk store, Sex.

Her first foray into fashion design came even later, at the age of 41. These days, Westwood is still going strong, proving that you’re never too old to rock.

Debbie Harry

“Call Me” singer Debbie Harry earned eternal fame as the punk rock frontwoman of the 80s band known as Blondie. Most people assume, possibly due to her youthful looks, that she gained her rock stardom during her early 20s. This isn’t true, though.

Harry spent most of her 20s experimenting with looks and sound until she was able to find her fit. It wasn’t until she was 30 that she recorded her debut album, and even then, it took her four years before she gained the mainstream success we all associate with her.

If Debbie Harry was able to get her goals while she was in her 30s, in a youth-oriented world, there’s no reason why you should give up on your dreams once you hit a certain age. After all, late bloomer stories happen every day. There’s nothing barring your life from becoming a “later in life” success.

Never too late to start following your passion. Comment below your thoughts!


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