So many people all over the world have dreams and hopes of successful movie career and planetary recognition. Only the most talented, luckiest and most persistent ones succeed and among them only a few do it at an older age. Movie business is a very competitive field and it’s constantly looking for fresh young blood. However, some of the actors we’ve seen on screen made it in the business at an older age. Here they are.
It wasn’t until Jane Lynch was 43 that she got her big break in Best in Show, where she played a butch lesbian personal dog handler. Lynch was cast in Best in Show because director Christopher Guest remembered her from a “Frosted Flakes” commercial she did in the early 90s. Since then, Lynch went on to take on roles such as the store manager in Judd Apatow’s The 40-Year-Old Virgin and as the harsh, whistle-blowing high school teacher Sue Sylvester on Glee, which landed her an Emmy.
Jon Hamm spent most of his twenties and thirties in Los Angeles as a struggling actor. He waited tables until he was cast in NBC’s drama Providence, but it wasn’t until 2007 when Mad Men premiered that Jon Hamm gained critical recognition and fame as the advertising executive Don Draper. Chosen from a pool of more than 80 actors for the role, Hamm has won a Golden Globe and received eight Emmy Award nominations, for his work on Mad Men and 30 Rock.
Though Connie Britton had secured minor roles on television series like Spin City and the political thriller 24, she didn’t gain fame, critical recognition, and widespread adoration until she was cast in the critically acclaimed Friday Night Lights. She gained two Emmy nominations for her work on the show, and cultivated a large following of fans throughout the show’s five-season run as Tami Taylor. Since then, she has gone one to portray Vivian Harmon in the first season of American Horror Story and is currently playing country western star Rayna James on ABC’s critically acclaimed Nashville.
The actor was in his thirties when he acted in American Graffiti, but turned to carpentry when his career wasn’t going anywhere. Four years later, he met with George Lucas again (directed him in American Graffiti) who cast him as Han Solo in Star Wars. He went on to make the Indiana Jones movies fortifying his position as a leading man.
He was a struggling actor early in his life. He had $50 to his name when he moved to New York and slept in New York Port Authority because he couldn’t afford rent. At the age of 30 he wrote the screenplay for Rocky. Studios wanted to buy the Rocky script from Stallone, but he stipulated he wanted to star in the project and receive a share of the profits. In 1976 the movie came out and catapulted his career into overdrive.
Gene Hackman landed his breakout role at the age of 37, portraying real life Buck Barrow in Bonnie and Clyde. Before then, Hackman worked as a field radio operator in the United States Marine Corps for almost five years, before moving back to New York City. Hackman went on to receive an Academy Award nomination for Bonnie and Clyde, which led to other film work, including The French Connection, which earned him an Oscar.
Before he was Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction, Samuel Jackson was a social worker. After deciding to pursue a career in acting, he took on small roles on films like Goodfellas, and True Romance. It wasn’t until Pulp Fiction, when Jackson was 45, did he become a star. Jackson was critically heralded and received an Academy Award nomination. Jackson remains a big name with box office power, and continues to work steadily.
While taking on small roles in films, Jeremy Renner worked as a part-time make up artist to make ends meet. It wasn’t until 2009 that Renner, at the age of 38, got his big break as Sergeant William James in Kathyrn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker. Since then, Renner has gone to star in blockbuster hits like The Avengers and The Bourne Legacy.
Kathy Bates worked steadily both on stage and on screen early in her life, but it was only when she was cast in the thriller Misery at age 42 did she gained prominence as one of the most impressive actors in her generation. Winning the Academy Award for Best Actress, Bates’ career took off.
Freeman has been acting since he was nine years old, but it wasn’t until the mid 1970s and 1980s, nearing his forties that he made it big. Freeman became a recognizable face to the general public after his work on the popular soap opera Another World and the PBS kid’s show The Electric Company. Today, this Academy Award winner is one of the biggest names in Hollywood.