15 People Who Prove Life Doesn’t Stop at 35
Life doesn’t stop at 35, and it’s important to remember that when you feel like you’ve missed your chance to achieve your dreams when you reach a certain age. Whether it’s changing careers, starting a family, or pursuing a new hobby, there is no limit to what you can accomplish at any stage of your life. Check our article for real-life examples.
1. Jamie Lee Curtis won her first Oscar at 64.
Jamie Lee Curtis is a well-known figure in Hollywood, having appeared in numerous projects like the Halloween franchise, A Fish Called Wanda, and Freaky Friday. Despite having won 2 Golden Globes and a BAFTA in the past, she received her first Oscar in 2023 for her role in Everything Everywhere All at Once. This award is the result of years of dedicated effort and perseverance for the actress.
2. George Clooney married at 53 for the first time.
George Clooney was renowned as Hollywood’s most eligible bachelor until he married human rights lawyer, Amal Clooney. Despite waiting until he was 53 to tie the knot in 2014, George has stated that the long wait provided him with a level of maturity that makes him the perfect partner for Amal. “We agree on most things,” shared the actor, who once claimed that he and Amal had never had an argument. “When you’re 61, which apparently I am... as you get older, you tend to look at things differently.”
3. Colonel Sanders started KFC at 65.
Colonel Sanders was 65 years old when he started receiving his first Social Security check, which prompted him to rethink his life. He took action and began traveling the country with his chicken recipe, hoping to find someone who would take a chance on him. Eventually, he succeeded in finding a backer, and thus, Kentucky Fried Chicken was born.
4. Jennifer Coolidge won her first Golden Globe at 61.
In her early 40s, Coolidge rose to fame after her appearances in the popular films American Pie and Legally Blonde. Despite playing supporting roles, her exceptional talent left a lasting impression on audiences. Unfortunately, she didn’t receive any awards for her work until 2023, when she finally got recognition for her outstanding performance in The White Lotus. At the age of 61, Coolidge won her first Golden Globe, a long-overdue achievement that solidified her status as a gifted actress.
5. Vera Wang became a fashion designer at 40.
Despite being one of the most renowned designers today, it’s difficult to envision Vera Wang doing anything besides building her fashion empire. However, prior to creating high-end runway garments and bridal gowns, she pursued a career in figure skating and journalism. Vera did not transition into the fashion industry until she was 40 years old, demonstrating that it’s never too late to switch careers or pursue one’s passions.
6. Stan Lee published his first hit comic book at 39.
The legendary comic book writer, Stan Lee, started his career in the industry at the young age of 17. He began as an assistant in the comic book department for Timely Publications, where he initially filled inkwells and erased pencil marks. Over time, he worked his way up to running the department.
Despite his hard work, it took some time before he achieved success. Together with his colleague and artist, he created the first superhero team (the Fantastic Four) when he was almost 39 years old in 1961.
7. Ellen DeGeneres got married at age 50.
The famous talk show host Ellen DeGeneres and actress Portia de Rossi tied the knot after same-sex marriage was legalized in their state. DeGeneres was 50 years old at the time, while de Rossi was 36. Despite the age difference, the couple has been in a successful relationship for 18 years, with 14 years of marriage under their belt.
8. Cameron Diaz was 47 when she became a mother.
In recent years, there has been a shift in the age at which women become first-time mothers. The number of women under 30 having their first child has decreased, while more and more women are waiting until after 40 to have children. Cameron Diaz is one such example.
The actress and businesswoman, who is now 50, became a mother for the first time at the age of 47. Diaz described this as the happiest time in her life.
9. Samuel L. Jackson got his first famous role at 45.
It may be hard to believe, but there was a time when Samuel L. Jackson was not a famous actor. This all changed thanks to Quentin Tarantino. Jackson’s breakout role was in the 1993 film True Romance, and Tarantino subsequently wrote the part of Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction specifically for Jackson, who was in his early 40s at the time.
10. Alan Rickman got recognition as an actor at 42.
Alan Rickman, best known for his role in the Harry Potter series, actually began his career in a completely different field: he pursued graphic design. However, at the age of 26, Rickman decided to shift gears and become an actor, eventually attending the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. Despite his talent, it wasn’t until his role in Die Hard in 1988, at the age of 42, that he began to gain recognition. Rickman’s fame skyrocketed when he played Severus Snape in the first Harry Potter movie in 2001 at the age of 55.
11. Steve Carell got his big break at 43.
Steve Carell was once dubbed “America’s Funniest Man,” but he didn’t get his big break until he was 43 years old. Before his rise to fame, he was an underground sensation known to some as a talented performer at the comedy enterprise, The Second City, and as a correspondent on The Daily Show.
However, his career skyrocketed after he played the lead role in the film The 40-Year-Old Virgin. He also gained enormous fame for his portrayal of Michael Scott in the sitcom The Office, which eventually became one of the most beloved comedies of the 21st century.
12. Billy Bob Thornton became famous at 41.
During the mid-1980s, Billy Bob Thornton struggled to make it as an actor and had to resort to working in telemarketing to support himself in between auditions. However, his luck changed when he wrote, directed, and starred in Sling Blade in 1996 at the age of 41, which served as his big break.
13. Martha Stewart published her book at 41.
Martha Stewart, a highly successful entrepreneur and media personality, didn’t become famous until she published her first cookbook in 1982, at the age of 41. Prior to that, she worked as a stockbroker on Wall Street before leaving to run her own catering business. Her first book was a major success, leading to many more books, a magazine, a TV show, and a net worth of $400 million as of 2020.
14. Ray Kroc was 52 years old when he popularized McDonald’s.
The mastermind behind McDonald’s, one of the most renowned burger chains in the world, took a long journey to reach success. Ray Kroc was already 52 years old when he popularized the McDonald’s chain, which ultimately brought him enormous wealth, amounting to $600 million.
15. Paris Hilton married at 40 and became a mom at 41.
Paris Hilton finally found her perfect match in businessman Carter Reum in 2019, although they have known each other since their mid-20s. The couple tied the knot in 2021 when the star was already 40 years old. This year Paris and Carter welcomed their first baby together, a son, via surrogate.