Famous actors who started late in show business are some of the best we’ve seen on screen in movies and television. Those who began their acting careers at an older age bring a profound depth in all of their roles, separating themselves from other talents. You might be surprised at which actors actually started later in years.
In a competitive field that prizes youth and new blood in the entertainment industry, there are plenty of known actors who turned famous at an older age. Not all actors make it big in their younger years like Brad Pitt or Leonardo Dicaprio.
Like anyone else who makes a career change and discovers themselves over the years, there are actors who found their niche in acting. When you realize how many famous celebrities had a totally different life before stardom entered their destiny, it’s inspiring to see what can happen and that it’s really never too late to see what’s ahead in your life.
It’s largely unattainable in Hollywood to achieve a marketable career in arts and entertainment if you’re starting at 25 years of age, let alone 30, as most of the actors listed here have done. However, there are those few that beat the odds as seen here. We see them on the big screen and even winning Academy Awards for their stellar performances.
List of Actors Who Started Acting Late
After doing just about everything else under the sun besides acting, Steve McQueen started his career on screen as he approached his thirties in Wanted: Dead or Alive. He made Bullitt his top movie in the famous car chase scenes. The actor went on to make other films: The Great Escape, The Sand Pebbles, The Getaway, and Papillon to name a few.
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 and the rest, as they say, is history.
Hackman was 30 years-old when he started acting late in his life. His performance in Crimson Tide surged his acting career to unbelievable heights. In 1967, Hackman received his first Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor in Bonnie and Clyde. At that point, Hackman would go on to act in 80 films and win numerous awards for his acting abilities.
The British celebrity turned to acting in his early thirties after having a successful business in graphic design. At a good point in his life to pursue the career he always dreamed of, the British actor went to appear in Sense and Sensibility, Die Hard, and Robin Hood.
Stallone isn’t just a good actor, he’s an amazing writer. He was 30 years old acting entered his life for good following the work of a screenplay he had written titled Rocky. Prior to that he performed in a little stage work, but nothing serious. 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. The actor later wrote more hit screenplays for Rambo and F.I.S.T. in addition to all of the Rocky sequels.
The former New York Giants and Los Angeles Rams NFL player transitioned into acting once he retired from football. He famously starred in the 80’s television series,Hunter. At 6’6″ tall, Fred Dryer was perfect for the commanding role. He was 38 years old when he began his career in Hollywood.
A renown martial artist, Chuck Norris didn’t begin acting until later on. Winner of multiple world titles in Tae Kwan Do, Tang Soo Do, and Karate, Norris broke into acting at the age of 29. In 1969 he debuted with Dean Martin in The Wrecking Crew. He had eight successful seasons as the star in Walker: Texas Ranger.
The actor who played Kelsey Grammer’s retired police officer dad on Frasier, began acting at the age of 37. A British-American actor who hails from Manchester, England, Mahoney moved to the states after a career in teaching and editing before joining the Army. He was turned on to performing after actor, John Malkovich, persuaded him to appear in Steppenwolf. Mahoney went on to play in supporting roles in movies such as Manhattan Project, Say Anything, Moonstruck, and Suspect.
The bespectacled actor began his career in the 1960’s, a time he was in his thirties. Brimley worked as horse shoe farrier for animals on movie sets. His previous career in the 1950’s was as a bodyguard for Howard Hughes. He started riding as an extra in westerns and was later talked into acting by actor, Robert Duvall. Brimley is famously known for his diabetes commercials, but the actor has been in wise character roles in movies such as Cocoon and Country.
Time Out Chicago