TV and Movies

15 Celebs Who Found Success Young And 15 Who Were Older

Entertainment is basically the only industry where anyone can start their career at any age. For some, success comes fairly quickly — especially when they already have connections in the industry. For others, however, “making it” in Hollywood may take decades.

Here are 15 celebs who got their “big break” before they were 10:


Drew Barrymore was 7 when she starred in E.T.


Tatum O’Neal celebrated her ninth birthday while filming Paper Moon. The following year, the role made her the youngest person to ever win an Oscar.


At 6, McKenna Grace started her acting career with a recurring role on the Disney XD series Crash & Bernstein.


When Blue Ivy Carter was only 2 days old, her dad, Jay-Z, sampled her cries on “Glory,” a song he wrote for her. It made her the youngest person to ever have a song on the Billboard charts.


Dylan Sprouse was only a year old when he booked his first main role on a TV series. He played Patrick Kelly on Grace Under Fire.


Cole Sprouse, Dylan’s twin brother, shared the role of Patrick Kelly with him for five years.


Similarly, Mary-Kate Olsen was about a year old when she began playing Michelle Tanner on Full House.


Her twin sister, Ashley Olsen, shared the role of Michelle Tanner with her until they were 9.


When Jaden Smith was 8, he made his onscreen debut alongside his dad, Will Smith, in The Pursuit of Happyness.


Similarly, his sister, Willow Smith, turned 7 the year she appeared in her first movie, I Am Legend, alongside her dad.


Jacob Tremblay was 8 when he played Jack Newsome in Room.


Daryl Sabara began playing Juni Cortez in the Spy Kids franchise when he was 9.


The year Iain Armitage turned 9, he began playing main roles on both Big Little Lies and Young Sheldon.


When Kiernan Shipka was 8, she booked the recurring role of Sally Draper on Mad Men.


And Mia Talerico started playing the titular role on Disney Channel’s Good Luck Charlie when she was 10 months old, then wrapped the show before kindergarten.

And now, here are 15 celebs who got their big breaks later in life:


F. Murray Abraham got his big break at 45, when he played Antonio Salieri in Amadeus and won an Oscar for the role.


At 42, Viola Davis landed her breakout role as Mrs. Miller in Doubt, which earned the actor her first Oscar nomination.


After 30 years in the acting industry, then-53-year-old Christoph Waltz landed his breakout role in Inglourious Basterds. He won his first Oscar for it.


At 48, Susan Boyle rose to prominence as a fan-favorite contestant on Britain’s Got Talent. That same year, she released her debut album, I Dreamed a Dream, which broke records for the fastest selling UK debut album of all time and the fastest selling global female debut album.


After years of performing as a James Brown impersonator, Charles Bradley released his debut album, No Time for Dreaming, at the age of 62.


An experienced theater actor, Alan Rickman booked his first movie role, Hans Gruber in Die Hard, when he was 42.


As a teenager, Lisa Vanderpump did a ton of bit TV roles and commercial work. After decades away from the entertainment world, she entered the spotlight as an original cast member on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills at 50.


Martha Stewart published her first book, Entertaining, at 41.


At 50, Morgan Freeman played his breakout role in Street Smart, which he won an Oscar for.


Sharon Jones was 40 when she released her debut album with the Dap-Kings, Dap Dippin’.


At 47, standup comedian Leslie Jones became the oldest cast member to debut on Saturday Night Live.


At 42, Steve Carell got his first major movie role in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. The next year, he booked two of his most iconic projects — The 40-Year-Old Virgin and The Office.


For a long time, former theater student Michael Emerson had given up on his acting dreams. However, at 43, he landed his breakout onstage role in Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde. Three years later, he landed his breakout TV role, William Hinks on The Practice.


At 42, Ty Burrell booked his first major role, Phil Dunphy on Modern Family.


And finally, after her divorce, Kathryn Joosten balanced three jobs with theater, making her onstage debut at 42. With her kids’ support, she pursued acting professionally, booking local gigs in the Chicago area, then a street performer job at Hollywood Studios in Orlando before eventually moving to LA. At 55, she made her onscreen debut on Family Matters, then “after that, it was one job after another.”

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