Some celebrities are born famous, but the most fascinating ones are the stars who take years to get there.
Tiffany Haddish may be the breakout star of the moment, but that’s only because she had years of comedy work behind her before starring in “Girls Trip.” And Judi Dench and Morgan Freeman may seem to have been in every classy movie for decades, but Freeman wasn’t famous until he was 52, and Dench until she was 60.
Here are 31 celebrity late bloomers.
1. Tiffany Haddish was 37 when she starred in “Girls Trip.”
Haddish spent years struggling in the Los Angeles comedy scene — even spending some time homeless— before she landed roles in shows like “If Loving You Is Wrong” and “The Carmichael Show.” But it wasn’t until 2017 that she received a slew of awards and multiple magazine covers because of her role as Dina in “Girls Trip.”
2. Samuel L. Jackson was in his 40s when he became an A-list movie star.
Jackson had a background in social activism before turning to acting in the 1970s and 1980s, mostly getting small roles in theater and in movies. His career started blowing up when he worked with Spike Lee, first in “School Daze” and then “Do the Right Thing.”
In 1991, when he was 43, Jackson got serious critical attention for playing “Gator” in Lee’s “Jungle Fever” and then leaped to the A-list with “Pulp Fiction” in 1994.
Now he’s made more money at the box office than any other actor alive, according to Business Insider.