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Popular Celebrities Who Did Not Become Famous Until Their 40s

It is undeniable that fame and success in Hollywood usually come early. However, there are some celebrities who achieved stardom after their 40s and made a huge impact on the entertainment industry from then on.

Here are five popular celebrities who did not become famous until their 40s:

Samuel L. Jackson

The iconic Samuel L. Jackson is one of those stars whose age did not prevent him from becoming one of the biggest names in Hollywood. He got his big break at the age of 42 with the movie “Jurassic Park” (1993). Since then, he has appeared in numerous blockbuster films.

Some of his blockbusters include “Pulp Fiction” (1994), “Snakes on a Plane” (2006), and “The Avengers” (2012). His impressive resume also includes several awards and nominations, such as an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor in 1994.

Elle | Iconic film star Samuel L. Jackson rose to stardom after his 40s.

Burt Reynolds

The late Burt Reynolds became an overnight sensation in the 1970s thanks to his performances in the hit movie “Deliverance” (1972) and the TV series “Gunsmoke.” However, he did not become a huge star until he was in his forties. He reached peak fame with movies such as “Smokey and the Bandit” (1977), “The Cannonball Run” (1981), and “Boogie Nights” (1997).

Even after turning 70, Reynolds kept acting until shortly before his death in 2018 at the age of 82.

Margo Martindale

Margo Martindale is another actor whose success came late in her career. After years of small roles and guest appearances, she got her big break at the age of 57 with the movie “Secretariat” (2010). She then took on a lead role in the TV series “Justified” (2010–2015), for which she earned two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress.

LA Times | “Justified” star Margo Martindale was a nobody before her 40s!

In addition to that, she has appeared in films like “August: Osage County” (2013) and “The Good Dinosaur” (2015).

Melissa McCarthy

The talented Melissa McCarthy did not become a household name until she was in her forties. She started off as a guest star in the TV series “Gilmore Girls,” but it was not until 2011 that she got her big break with the movie “Bridesmaids.”

That same year, she also won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress for her performance in the TV series “Mike & Molly.” Since then, McCarthy has appeared in other successful films such as “Tammy” (2014), “Spy” (2015), and “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” (2018).

Alan Rickman

The late Alan Rickman was another actor who achieved success in the entertainment industry after the age of 40. He became a household name with his iconic performance as Professor Snape in the “Harry Potter” films, but he had already appeared in several movies and TV shows before that. It was not until 1988, when he was 41 years old, that he got his big break with the movie “Die Hard.”

GTN | The legendary Alan Rickman did not rise to stardom before hitting his 40s!

He went on to appear in more successful films, such as “Sense and Sensibility” (1995) and “Love Actually” (2003), before passing away in 2016 at the age of 69.

Leslie Jones

Leslie Jones is another example of someone whose career took off after her 40s. She got her big break as a cast member on “Saturday Night Live” (2014–2019) at the age of 47 and has since starred in several successful films.

Her most popular movies include “Ghostbusters” (2016) and “The Angry Birds Movie 2” (2019). In 2020, she won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special for her Netflix stand-up special “Leslie Jones: Time Machine.”

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