Acting is a dream job for many people, which has led to the belief that to make it people need to start very young, taking acting classes alongside school and treat the profession as a life-long vocation.
In practice, there are so many different stories of how people get into acting and find their big break, many of whom had a very different start to their careers and prove that people who have the will, ability and opportunity can shine no matter their age.
Here are some of the most unique stories of actors who began their careers later in life.
Samuel L Jackson
One of the highest-grossing actors in the history of cinema it often shocks people that Samuel L Jackson started his illustrious and highly successful acting career at the age of 42.
Mr Jackson’s early eventful life can be summed up by the fact that he was one of the ushers of Martin Luther King Jr’s funeral, and regularly changed his vocation before finally settling on acting, appearing in several stage plays before they made it to Broadway.
His first big break came in 1991 and since then he has become one of the most recognisable stars in Hollywood.
Given the length and breadth of Harrison Ford’s career, it is odd to think that his first starring role came in his mid-thirties. However, Mr Ford was a full-time carpenter during much of his early career, wanting to provide security for his family.
An appearance in a documentary with one of his carpentry clients led to an audition for the George Lucas film American Grafitti, which led to him getting his most famous role as Han Solo at the age of 35, his leading man status solidified at the age of 39 with the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark.
The late, great Betty White had a career that spanned eight decades, from the start of television until her death at the age of 99 in late 2021.
Whilst she had done radio, hosting and presentation roles since she graduated from high school Ms White was told she was ‘not photogenic’ enough for film and television and only managed to get a leading role with Life With Elizabeth, a show she owned and co-produced, unusual for the 1950s.
This was not a success, and her first successful acting role would come two decades later at the age of 51 with the Mary Tyler Moore Show, with perhaps her most famous role being in The Golden Girls at the age of 63.