We all strive for greatness by working hard at our jobs, but for some, success and recognition arrive a bit later than they intend for it, but the feat after a long grind eventually comes knocking at the doorstep.
Billionaires like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs didn’t achieve that status overnight, the key to victory is that one should keep trying and trying hard to get to the finish line.
Such is the case for our beloved celebrities, success does not come easy in the field of entertainment, and a lot of rejection is involved before stardom is gained.
We will discuss the early struggles of these famous names and see during which time of their life, they overcame the odds and made it.
Before entering into the field of acting, Melissa McCarthy was a standup comedian in New York and eventually formed a comedy troupe “The Groundlings” joined a comedy group, where she trained with her future Bridesmaids co-stars Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph.
It is hard to overlook the talent that McCarthy possess and her iconic roles like playing Sookie St. James on Gilmore Girls, but it wasn’t until her portrayal of Megan Price in the movie Bridesmaids, released in 2011 at the age of 41 that made her the megastar that she is today.
Melissa McCarthy collected both box office success and critical acclaim, which also helped her in scoring an Oscar nomination in 2012, since then she has been unstoppable as she has earned several accolades to her name, which include the Golden Globe and Emmy awards.
She has not only been involved in comedy projects, as she also gained significant appreciation in playing sombre roles for films such as Lee Israel and Can You Ever Forgive Me? in 2018, which earned her a second Academy Award nomination in 2019.
Did you know that before becoming the world-renowned cooking expert and media mogul, Martha Stewart tried her luck at modelling, which earned her several commercial deals and that she was one a stockbroker on Wall Street?
Martha Stewart left everything behind when her family moved from New York to Westport, Connecticut, where her husband owned a farmhouse. This sudden change in scenery inspired Martha to become a homemaker and a cooking expert, which prompted her to start her own catering business in the late 70s.
She became a nationwide sensation after the release of her first book Entertaining in 1982 at the age of 41, which helped her achieve millionaire status and a series of future book deals whilst also launching a magazine called Martha Stewart Living, which further evolved to a TV program with the same name.
Despite her imprisonment in 2004 under the charges of insider trading, Stewart is still a household name, and her brand continues to grow till this day, which has gained her a net worth of $638-million.
Sir Patrick Stewart
Before receiving worldwide fame, Patrick Stewart was an established performer at the “Royal Shakespeare Company” in Warwickshire, England.
If you are a fan of science fiction, then you surely would not have missed the TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation, which started airing in 1987, and you certainly would not have missed the iconic depiction of Jean-Luc Picard by Patrick Stewart.
Steward continued to play the role until the conclusion of the show in 1994 and portrayed the same character in five Star Trek movies from 1994 to 2002.
The recognition from the Star Trek franchise during his late 40s opened fortune, fame and several movie deals for Sir Patrick, which included another exemplary portrayal of Professor X in the X-Men movie franchise.
Due to his services in the field of Drama Patrick Stewart was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2010. Sir Patrick is scheduled to reprise the role of Picard in the upcoming series Star Trek: Picard, which will premiere in 2020.
Tommy Lee Jones
Did you know Tommy Lee Jones majored in English Literature from Harvard and shared his room with the future US Senator Al Gore?
During his childhood, Tommy Lee Jones endured physical abuse from his father and he also had to work hard to gain a scholarship from Harvard. Jones tried his luck at Broadway but couldn’t snatch a significant break during his 20s and early 30s, but he managed to land minor roles on TV, and eventually got a little breakthrough when he succeeded in scoring a part in the show Charlie’s Angels in 1976.
Jones became a reliable name in the industry at the age of 36, when he played the lead character in the show The Executioner’s Song (1982), which earned him an Emmy Award. Perhaps the gig that made Jones the legend he is today, due to his the portrayal of U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard in the film The Fugitive in 1993, which earned him an Oscar win for best supporting actor.
Jones carried on to appear in several acclaimed films and has numerous future-projects lined up.
Did you know, despite suffering from Dyslexia, Octavia Spencer has majored in English with a double minor in journalism and theater?
Initially starting her career behind the camera as a casting assistant for movies filmed in Alabama, Spencer got her first job as a nurse in the film A Time to Kill in 1996.
Throughout the next decade, she went on to appear as a guest/recurring actor on several tv shows and movies which included The X-Files, Ugly Betty and The Big Bang Theory until she got her big break in the movie The Help, which was released in 2011, when she was 39 years old.
The film The Help turned out to be a commercial and critical hit, which helped spencer net her first Oscar and a Golden Globe Award in 2012 for best-supporting actress. Spencer didn’t stop there as she received two back to back Oscar nominations in 2017 and 2018, which cemented her position as a star performer.
Did you know before joining the entertainment industry Leslie Nielsen enlisted in the Air Force of Canada and was in contention to fight in World War 2 as an aerial gunner?
Leslie Nielsen was the golden age workhorse as he used to work non stop and appeared in more than 50 live shows during the 1950s. He also used to work as a narrator during that period, whilst also acting in several low-quality films until he found his real fame at the age of 54 when he played the character of Dr. Rumack in the movie Airplane! (1980). This film allowed him to reinvent himself as a comedian and brought him universal acclaim.
Nielsen cashed his newfound fame as a comedian and went on to appear in several comic roles in The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! And its sequels, which cemented his legacy as an excellent comedian only proved the fact that age is just a number and we should keep digging our heels until our time comes.
Sadly, Leslie Nielsen died almost a decade ago, in 2010 at the age of 84 and he is buried in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Did you know that John Mahoney was an English teacher who had a Master’s degree in the subject and didn’t even start acting until the age of 37!?
Another interesting fact about John Mahoney is that he got the Clarence Derwent “Most Promising Male Newcomer” Award when he was already 47, which is staggering, to say the least.
Mahoney found his calling at the age of 53 when he played the role of Martin Crane in the hit sitcom Frasier which started airing in 1993, after failing to find his feet in the industry for more than a decade.
The show carried on for eleven seasons and helped Mr.Mahoney gain two Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. This sudden but expected rise in fame played a significant part in landing other roles, which included several voice acting opportunities.
Sadly, at the age of 77, John Mahoney passed away on February 4, 2018.
Did you know that Jane Lynch is among the few openly gay performers who have won an Emmy Award?
Jane Lynch started out as a theatre actor for nearly two decades, while appearing in several low profile roles during her 30s until she found her calling when she began to appear in the mockumentary Best in Show, at the age of 39.
Her performance was highly praised, and it opened plenty windows of opportunities for her as she got a part in Judd Apatow’s comedy classic The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005) and also got a part in the movie Julie & Julia, which Meryl Streep starred in 2009.
Lynch’s role of a lifetime came knocking at the age of 48 when she was asked to play the character of Sue Sylvester in the musical drama Glee in 2009, which stayed on the air for six seasons and helped Lynch win her first Emmy Award in 2010 and a Golden Globe award in 2011.
Samuel L. Jackson
Did you know that Samuel L. Jackson is ranked as the highest all-time box office star whose films have collectively earned over $7-billion in box office gross?
Samuel L. Jackson even though inspired to become an actor from a very early age, but he almost stopped his pursuit as he was heavily involved in working as a social worker and an activist for African-American rights.
After playing numerous low-profile roles during his 30s, Jackson got his first proper jab at fame at the age of 41 when he got a part in Spike Lee’s film Jungle Fever in 1991, which earned him particular praise.
But his actual moment of glory came when he partnered up with Quentin Tarantino in the director’s second feature film Pulp Fiction in 1994, which became arguably the greatest cult movie of all time. Jackson has appeared in 4 out of Tarantino’s 9 films.
Even at the age of 70, Jackson is a force in the film industry, which is statistically proven by his numbers as in 2019 alone he has appeared in two multi-billion dollar movies Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame.
Did you know that Simon Cowell started out from the low ranks and had a job as a runner in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, before becoming a household name in the music industry?
It wasn’t always hunky-dory for Mr Cowell as, during his late 20s, in 1989, he found himself in so much debt that he had to move back in with his parents, but such kind of set back did not hold him back as he knew that he was destined to achieve great things.
After turning 40, Simon Cowell became the face of modern-day reality television, who co-founded the iconic shows Pop Idol in Britain and American Idol in the United States, which inspired numerous shows of the same name worldwide.
Cowell gained worldwide recognition for his unique style of being a judge in both shows.
He didn’t stop right there as he founded his own entertainment company Syco TV, which created our very beloved shows America’s Got Talent and X-Factor; consequently, Cowell has amassed a net worth of $570-Million.
An interesting fact about the Irish born actor Liam Neeson is that he tried to make a livelihood in science by enrolling in Physics and Computer science during his university years, before taking on a career as an actor.
Liam Neeson started out as a theatre performer, which eventually earned him a Hollywood call as he played several smaller roles in critically acclaimed movies. Some of them include roles in films such as The Bounty (1984) and The Mission (1986) alongside big names, such as Robert De Niro and Jeremy Irons.
Neeson found his breakthrough when he was hired by Steven Spielberg to play Oskar Schindler in the film Schindler’s List, which premiered in 1993, which gained significant box office numbers and helped Neeson earn BAFTA, Golden Globes and Oscar nominations.
Later in his career, Liam Neeson redefined his image as an action movie star with the release of his film Taken in 2008, which helped him attain greater worldwide fame and recognition.
Did you know that before becoming an Academy Award-nominated actor, Steve Carell worked as a correspondent at the world-famous late-night talk show The Daily Show for six years from 1999 to 2005?
Steve Carell began his career in the 90s by performing in several short-lived TV programs like The Dana Carvey Show and Over the Top. It wasn’t until later when he joined the crew of The Daily Show, which helped him land the world-famous role of Michael Scott in the adaptation of the UK sitcom The Office in 2005 when he was 43.
The sitcom earned him six Emmy nominations and made Carell the comic legend he is today; consequently getting several movie deals, that tested his reach as an actor.
Carell announced his arrival as a solo performer in the film business when he played the lead character in the film The 40-Year-Old Virgin in 2005 but he attained further critical appreciation when he got nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of John Eleuthère du Pont in the movie Foxcatcher in 2014.
Having proven that he is capable of much more than comedy films, exhibit his astonishing performance in the film Beautiful Boy, it seems that it will not be long until he finally bags an Oscar!