10 Actors Who Have Their Breakout Roles Later In Life

Age is only a number. Or at least that's what people tell themselves when they turn a certain age. For many people, a lot of opportunities are lost when they get older. Some professions are only available to people at a certain age. This is especially true for actors. To make it in Hollywood, not only do you need talent, but also beauty and youth. Unless you're an established star, once you reach a certain age, leading roles will be much harder to get.
This means they have lots less chance for success... Be honest: when was the last time you heard of an aged actor making it big in Hollywood?
As rare as it is, there are exceptions to this rule. Some actors actually make it big despite their age and gain recognition and fame even in their later years. And here are 10 actors who have their breakout roles later in life.

#1 Jon Hamm

Source: AMC

To make ends meet, the handsome actor had to work as a waiter. He landed his first major film role when he turned 30.
He didn't achieve true stardom until he was 36 years old when he was cast as Don Draper on the hit AMC drama Mad Men. Hamm won an Emmy in 2007 for his portrayal of the hard-drinking, chain-smoking, womanizing Madison Avenue executive.
Hamm also has a sense of humor. He has appeared as a guest on 30 Rock, Saturday Night Live, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Bridesmaids, among other shows.

#2 Brendan Gleeson

Source: Braveheart / Paramount Pictures

Brendan Gleeson was a schoolteacher in Ireland for many years. However, in his mid-30s, Gleeson decided to pursue his acting career full-time and quit his stable job.
It took him a year to land his first Irish film role in The Field in 1990. The prolific character actor then found consistent work in many critically acclaimed mainstream productions, including Braveheart, Michael Collins, Gangs of New York, Cold Mountain, 28 Days Later, Troy, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, and Mission: Impossible 2.
Gleeson received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie in 2009 for his role as Winston Churchill in Into the Storm.

#3 John Mahoney

actors' late breakout roles Source: NBC

In his twenties and thirties, Mahoney pursued a variety of careers. However, Mahoney found no real fulfillment in his day jobs.
He began serious training in his late 30s and eventually worked alongside stars such as John Malkovich at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre. Mahoney received a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play in 1986 for his work in John Guare's American Playhouse: The House of Blue Leaves.
Mahoney landed the role of Marty Crane in the television spinoff series Frasier at the age of 53. Marty was the blue-collar cop who stood in stark contrast to his two snobbish, uppity sons, Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) and Niles (David Hyde Pierce). For 11 seasons, Mahoney worked on the Emmy Award-winning comedy.

#4 Kathryn Joosten

actors' late breakout roles Source: The West Wing / NBC

Kathryn Joosten worked as a psychiatric nurse in a hospital in the Chicago area. She married and had two children.
She landed guest spots on popular shows like Roseanne, Seinfeld, Murphy Brown, and Home Improvement in 1995 when she was in her mid-50s. She then landed her first major recurring role on the hit drama The West Wing in 1999. When she co-starred on the hit ABC TV show Desperate Housewives, the character actress became even more well-known. In 2005 and 2008, she received two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series. Despite arriving in Hollywood late, the prolific actress finished her career with 120 acting credits. Joosten died at the age of 72 in 2012.

#5 Dennis Farina

actors' late breakout roles Source: Crime Story / NBC

From 1967 to 1985, veteran character actor Dennis Farina worked as a Chicago Police officer. Then, through a mutual friend, the Chicago native met director Michael Mann.Farina worked as a consultant and played Carl in Mann's 1981 crime drama Thief.
In 1986, Farina starred as a Chicago police detective in Mann's NBC detective drama Crime Story. The late actor went on to become one of his generation's most prolific character actors. He appeared in films such as Midnight Run, Get Shorty, Saving Private Ryan, and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

#6 Danny Glover

actors' late breakout roles Source: Lethal Weapon / Warner Bros. Pictures

Danny Glover studied acting at San Francisco State University in the 1960s. He decided to work for the city of San Francisco as an evaluation specialist and program manager after graduation. In San Francisco and on the New York City theater stage. Then he decided to go to Hollywood.
His breakthrough performance came in Steven Spielberg's Oscar-winning drama The Color Purple. Glover rose to prominence in 1987 as a co-star in the buddy action comedy Lethal Weapon, which went on to become one of the most successful franchises of the 1980s and 1990s. Glover was also in the films Predator 2 and Angels in the Outfield.

#7 Terry Crews

actors' late breakout roles Source: New Line Cinema

Crews was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in 1991 to play defense. During his five seasons as a linebacker/defensive back, he was a member of several different teams.
He had a number of minor roles in both television and film. Crews made an impression as ex-con Damon Pearly in Ice Cube's cult hit Friday After Next in 2002, at the age of 34. Crews also landed a regular role on television in the 2005 hit comedy Everybody Hates Chris. In the films White Chicks and The Longest Yard, he continued to demonstrate his comedic abilities. His most well-known role was Lieutenant Terry Jeffords on the long-running sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

#8 Ken Jeong

actors' late breakout roles Source: Universal Pictures

Ken Jeong was a licensed doctor. He worked as a comic at night and as a doctor during the day. Eventually, the Detroit native jetted off to Los Angeles. He had several minor roles, including appearances on Entourage, MADtv, and Two and a Half Men.
Judd Apatow, the mega-comedy filmmaker, later met Jeong. For his 2011 romantic comedy, Knocked Up, the writer-director was looking for an actor with medical knowledge.
The role turned out to be a game changer. With his hilarious roles in The Hangover series and Community, Jeong became a household name. He even created Dr. Ken, a semi-autobiographical television comedy series. Much of the show's content was inspired by Jeong's own life story.

#9 Billy Bob Thornton

actors' late breakout roles Source: Sling Blade / Miramax Films

Thornton worked a variety of menial labor jobs after graduation. He moved to California to study acting in 1981. His first big-screen role came at the age of 32, in the television film The Man Who Broke 1,000 Chains.
Sling Blade's script was eventually written by Thornton. Despite being a relative unknown, Thornton won the Academy Award for a best original screenplay in 1997 and was nominated for best actor.
Thornton went on to land major Hollywood roles, becoming one of the most in-demand actors of the 1990s and early 2000s. In leading and supporting roles in Armageddon, A Simple Plan, Monster's Ball, The Man Who Wasn't There, Friday Night Lights, and Bad Santa, he demonstrated both his dramatic and comedic range.

#10 Mr. T

actors' late breakout roles Source: MGM/UA Entertainment Co.

Tureaud began his career as a bodyguard for celebrities such as Muhammad Ali, Michael Jackson, and Steve McQueen. Sylvester Stallone saw Mr. T in a televised strongman competition one day.
That catchphrase inspired the Italian Stallion to cast the tough-talking bodyguard as his much larger, much stronger, extreme trash-talking boxing opponent Clubber Lang in Rocky III. The film was a huge box-office success, but it also established a legend.
Mr. T became a pop-culture phenomenon in the 1980s. T-shirts with his mohawk image were ubiquitous, and his famous catchphrase, "I pity the fool," became part of the lexicon of the 1980s.
For the next decade, Mr. T was a regular on the small screen. is a website that provides you with entertainment updates and creative ideas to brighten your day. Don’t hesitate to visit our site to know more about updated celebrity and entertainment news.
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