According to statistics, actors usually reach their career peak and land a breakthrough role between the ages of 30 and 39. However, some of Hollywood’s biggest stars had their big chance after hitting 40, proving that success and talent know no age. And despite the patience and perseverance that it requires, success at a later age can be a true blessing to these stars, as only time can provide them with the maturity and wisdom they need to sustain their fame.
Bright Side roots for these hard-working celebrities who didn’t give up until they made their dream a reality. Here are 10 famous people who made it big in their forties.
1. Peter Dinklage (41 years old)
Even though the American actor had already appeared in 30 movies and over a dozen TV shows, his true big break came when he was cast in Game of Thrones in his early forties. He went on portraying the role of Tyrion Lannister for 8 seasons until the show ended in 2019, and his success has only grown since.
2. Kim Cattrall (42 years old)
The British Canadian has been acting since 1975, but it was her role as Samantha Jones in the hit series, Sex and the City, that brought her worldwide fame. Cattrall first appeared on our TV screens as the confident and powerful Samantha in 1998 when she was 42. This acclaimed role got her many awards, including a 2002 Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress.
3. Bryan Cranston (43 years old)
The American actor got his breakthrough role in 2000 when he played Hal, the dad in the series, Malcolm in the Middle. After the show was over, Cranston didn’t show any signs of slowing down, and he reached even more success in 2008, at the age of 51, when he portrayed the chemistry teacher, Walter White in the mega-hit show, Breaking Bad.
4. Viola Davis (43 years old)
Even though she had appeared in no less than 75 films, the American actress was mainly taking on supporting roles. But this all changed when she was cast in the 2011 period drama, The Help. The film was released a few days before she turned 46. The role earned her a Best Actress in a Leading Role nomination at the Oscars.
5. Kathy Bates (42 years old)
The actress and director has been in the industry since the ’70s. But it was the 1990 horror film, Misery, that turned her into a star and won her an Academy Award. Since then, Bates has appeared in major hit films, including Titanic.
6. Simon Cowell (43 years old)
Although he was already famous in England, it was the show, American Idol, that turned Simon Cowell into a household name. His steely attitude and serious persona as a judge captivated viewers’ attention worldwide since his first appearance on the show in 2002.
7. Martha Stewart (41 years old)
The American retail businesswoman and writer got her big break in 1982 when she published her first book, Entertaining, at the age of 41. Since then, she succeeded in building an empire and had her own TV show, Martha, from 2005 to 2012.
8. Samuel L. Jackson (46 years old)
The 73-year-old actor started his career in the early ’70s and had various movies and TV roles. But he was able to achieve worldwide stardom in 1994, after being cast in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. His performance in the movie earned him an Academy Award nomination.
9. Octavia Spencer (41 years old)
The actress had small roles in many acclaimed and popular films, such as Big Momma’s House in 2002 and Spider-Man in 2002. But her big break came in 2011 when she starred in the movie, The Help. Her stellar performance got her an Academy Award for Best Supporting actress.
10. Liam Neeson (42 years old)
In the late ’70s and ’80s, the Irishman was mainly a stage actor. He later appeared in movies as well, but it wasn’t until 1993, when he was 42, that he landed the main role in the 1993 Steven Spielberg film, Schindler’s List. The film was highly acclaimed and received 7 Oscars, including an Academy Award for Best Picture.
Do you believe that there is no age limit for success? Is there any celebrity you would add to this list?