Late Bloomers

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We reach a certain age and we think to ourselves that it’s too late in life to attempt a new career or pursue a new adventure. Or we are told that we are too old to try anything new.

More road blocks are set down in front of us. It’s no wonder we don’t have the faith in pursuing our dreams.

How many of our goals are shot down because our minds have been poisoned with this venom??

There is a core of people who do not reach their full potential until later in life. We call them “late bloomers” – people whose talents or capabilities are not visible to others until later than usual. Or they may pursue their crafts but not reach their pinnacles until much older.

Malcolm Gladwell writing an essay in “The New Yorker” called “Late Bloomers” said: “on the road to great achievement, the late bloomer will resemble a failure.”

Here’s a short list of those who have reached success later in life.

If you think that you are over the hill in your late 20’s or 30’s, think again:

Since professional athletes’ careers usually wind up in the mid to late 30’s, a player who breaks through in his late 20’s or early 30’s is be considered a late bloomer. So consider the following:

Kurt Warner, quarterback, entered the National Football League at 28. He went on to become 2 time MVP and Super Bowl champion.

Baseball pitcher Randy Johnson made his major league debut at 25 but didn’t reach superstar status until he was 30.

Goaltender Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins (ice hockey) didn’t make it to the National Hockey League until 28. He became the Bruins starting goaltender at 32. He previously played in the minor leagues and Europe. He won the Conn Smythe trophy as the most valuable player in the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs, becoming the oldest player in league history to win that trophy at 37.

George Wendt (Norm on the TV comedy series “Cheers”) became active as an actor at 32.

TV star Judd Hirsh from the TV comedy series “Taxi” pursued acting at 36.

Brian Dennehy had dreams of stage and screen at an earlier age but didn’t take up acting seriously until 38. He had previously been in the USMC.

Director Ang Lee screened his first big movie at 38. Previously he was a stay home dad, sometimes working odd jobs for film crews. He released his first English language movie at 41 for “Sense and Sensibility” and won an Oscar for best director at 51 for “Brokeback Mountain.”

If you think that you are over the hill at 40 +, think again:

Although he started his career at 28, actor Alan Rickman, (the villain in the first “Die Hard” movie) did not get his first break into theatre until he was in his 40’s.

Danny Aiello did not start acting until 40. He was nominated for best supporting actor in 1990 for Spike Lee’s movie “Do The Right Thing.”

Toni Morrison published her first novel at 40 as a single mom. It was in her mid 40’s, she became the only recent American author to win a Nobel prize.

Comedian Rodney Dangerfield did not start until 42. He had done clubs when he was younger but had to stop in order to work as a salesman.

Kathryn Bigelow directed her first major film at 40 for “Point Break” and, at 57, was the first woman to win Best Director Oscar for “The Hurt Locker.”

Clint Eastwood directed his first film at 41 and the oldest to win the Oscar for best director at 63 for “Unforgiven.”

Marvel Comic creator Stan Lee didn’t start writing his most well known comic books until he was 43.

Chef Julia Child, who previously worked for many years as a secret intelligence officer, started becoming a chef later in life. She was 49 when her first book was published and 51 when her program “The French Chef” first aired.

At 45, Helen Mirren got recognition as an actress for starring in “Prime Suspect”. She  struggled as an actress from her 20’s to early 40’s. She won an Oscar at 61 for the movie “The Queen”. At 52, she married director Taylor Hackford.

Actor F. Murray Abraham became a well known actor after winning the Oscar for best actor for the movie “Amadeus” in 1985. Abraham was in his mid 40’s.  Previously, he did not have a lot of well-known film roles.

Writer Raymond Chandler published his first short story at 45 and his first novel “The Big Sleep” at 51.

Susan Boyle achieved worldwide recognition for her singing talents at 48.

If you think you are over the hill at 50 +, think again:

Richard Farnsworth became an actor in his 50’s. He was, previously, a stunt man. He had a few small uncredited roles when he was younger. He received his first acting credit at 43. He was the oldest person to receive best actor Oscar nomination at 79 for “The Straight Story” and received a supporting actor Oscar nod for “Comes A Horseman” a year earlier.

Ronald Reagan became governor of California at 53 and remains the oldest man to serve as U.S. president. He became president at 69.

Ray Kroc opened his first McDonald’s restaurant at 52.

Richard Adams published his first novel “Watership Down” in his 50’s.

Morgan Freeman was an off  Broadway actor for most of his life. He became an international star only after 52 when he played in his first major Hollywood role in the movie “Glory.”

Director Alfred Hitchcock directed his best films between the ages of 54 and 61.

If you think you are over the hill at 60+, think again:

Colonel Harland Sanders started the first Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise at 65

Laura Ingalis Wilder, who became a columnist in her 40’s, published the first book in the “Little House on the Prairies” series at 65.

Maya Angelou was in her 60’s when her poetry and books became popular.

Frank McCourt didn’t publish his first book “Angela’s Ashes” until he was 66. It won the Pulitzer Prize.