Look Who Found Success After 40

  1. Alan Rickman

Known for his portrayal of Hans Gruber in Die Hard and Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series, it’s hard to believe Alan Rickman’s film acting career started out when he was already 42.

It was in his late twenties when he decided to take his passion for theater seriously by auditioning with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). By leaving his graphic design business, he concentrated on the acting craft full-time.

By https://flic.kr/p/wLyTw

By https://flic.kr/p/wLyTw.

  1. Harland Sanders

The story behind Kentucky Fried Chicken is by all means inspiring. Colonel Harland Sanders didn’t have it easy in life. After his father died, he dropped out of school to support his younger siblings by taking odd jobs. He worked as a farmer, a fireman, an insurance salesman, and a streetcar conductor, to name a few.

By Edgy01 at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29484703.

By Edgy01 at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29484703.

He was 40 when he opened a service station in Kentucky state, where he also served food to earn extra. Later, he moved to a restaurant across the street, serving his signature original fried chicken. The recipe was such a success that he was named an honorary colonel at 45. But despite the chicken’s popularity, business dried up when a highway was built in the city, redirecting foot traffic away from his restaurant.

At age 62, he closed his restaurant. But that didn’t bring him down, he took all of his savings and pension and opened a franchise for his fried chicken business because he was so confident it would sell. He traveled across the country, cooking batches of chicken, striking deals with restaurants that would pay him a nickel for every chicken bought by customers. In 10 years, with 600 franchised outlets across US and Canada, he sold his interest in the company to a group of investors for $2 million dollars.


  1. Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart rose to stardom after authoring her first book, Entertaining, at 41. By that time she has trained herselfΒ  in gourmet cooking, having been influenced by Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. She became known for her recipes and creative food presentation.

Martha_Stewart_2011_Shankbone successful after 40

By David Shankbone – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15049241.

Seven years later, Martha Stewart Living was launched, and she was later named as America’s first self-made female billionaire. Unfortunately, she took a fall when she was sentenced to prison for conspiring in the ImClone stock case. Shortly after her release, she made a comeback. She was welcomed well, and to this day remains as one of the most famous lifestyle icons.


  1. Julia Child

Born in California to a real estate investor and a paper company heiress, Julia Child lived a significantly privileged childhood. As a young adult, she wanted to become a writer and enjoyed doing short plays. She also regularly submitted manuscripts to a magazine publication but none of her works were published.



After they wed, Julia and her husband moved to France where she became interested in French cuisine. She enrolled in a culinary school and later on collaborated on a cookbook with two of her schoolmates. It was called Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and it wasn’t published until she was 50. That’s when her career as a celebrity chef was launched.

  1. Nola Ochs

Nola Ochs landed the Guinness Book of World Records for becoming the oldest person to ever graduate from college. At 95, she earned a degree in General Studies major in History at Fort Hays State University in Kansas in 2007. She even graduated alongside her granddaughter, who was 21 years old at that time.

Nola Ochs_Successful at Over 40_Yan Birog

From http://alchetron.com/Nola-Ochs-297343-W.

At first. many were skeptical that she would be able to graduate. The history department chairman worried whether she could keep up with the other students. He was proven wrong.

After all, born in 1911, Nola has literally witnessed history after having lived through the Roaring 20s, the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl of the 1930s and World War II. Can’t get any closer to history than that!

So you see, it doesn’t matter how old you are or what your background is. Success doesn’t discriminate against age and these nine people just prove you’re never too old to achieve your dreams. Hope you’re inspired and fueled to take on new things, and will persevere with what you have!


– Yan Birog for Grateful and Spry

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