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Harland "Colonel" Sanders was 62 when he started Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Rodney Dangerfield started writing jokes when he was 15. He finally hit it big when he was 52.

Ray Kroc was 52 when he started McDonalds.

Orville Redenbacher was 58 when he founded his popcorn business.

Ronald Reagan was a B-List actor who was 56 when he became Governor of California and 70 when he became President of the United States.

Grandma Moses was 78 when she started painting.

Tina Turner was 44 when she recorded her first #1 hit.




Supposedly Julius Caesar was worried about this same thing. When he was around 30 he came upon a statue of Alexander, who at his age had conquered the known world. Caesar had very little to show for himself at that point.

He was in his late thirties and early forties before he had any remarkable success or power.


Samuel L. Jackson was 46 when he was cast in his breakout role in Pulp Fiction


He was already quite famous by that time, he'd done nearly 30 movies before that.


None of which garnered anywhere near as much acclaim as Pulp Fiction did. Unless you consider Jungle Fever a cinematic masterpiece


Success isn't measured in critical acclaim. He was in many popular movies including some blockbusters like Jurrassic Park and was quite successful long before Pulp Fiction. Pulp Fiction was far more notable for reviving John Travolta's career than doing anything for Sam Jackson.


If Jackson himself measured success in the amount of supporting roles he could land, then sure he was "successful" prior to Pulp Fiction. Surely you'd agree that he didn't play in any noteworthy lead roles until AFTER Pulp Fiction...


Sure. But one doesn't have to be the lead to be successful, and this thread is about success.


makes me think about Morgan Freeman. Its pretty hard to find pictures of him young.


Try searching for images of "Morgan Freeman Electric Company".


Okay, that was weird.

(And I watched that when I was a kid, too - I don't remember much of it.)


Adobe was founded by two guys in their 40's


They were already quite successful, to be fair.


Kant was 57 when Critique of Pure Reason was published.


Sam Walton started Walmart at age 44


Ray Kroc's book Grinding It Out is a fantastic account of his work creating McDonalds. He definitely did his best work later in life, and proof that you can make your mark at any point in your life. It's a great read.

Frank Lloyd Wright, though successful early in his life, had all kinds of rises and falls in his career. He's also a terrific story about Renaissance in your own life.


Here's a decent collection I recently came across. (Sorry, kinda ad-filled site link.) http://www.11points.com/Personal/11_Famous_People_Who_Were_i...

Who knew that at 30, Julia Child was a spy and Martha Stewart was a stockbroker?


I thought Martha was more of an inside trader...


that was at 60.


Thank you for this.


Great examples (Reagan in politics as "success" is iffy though.)


Reagan was elected as a two term president and remains one of the more popular presidents in recent history.

Reasonable people may respectfully disagree about whether or not he was a good president and whether or not he took the country in the right direction, but I think anyone saying he was not a successful person is using a very different definition of "success" than the common meaning.


He was elected President of the United States - I'd say that should count as successful in anybody's book. The metric isn't 'effective' :)


I'd count achieving something less than 50 people in the world have achieved as a success regardless of politics.


So, I wrote a commercial compiler for a language that probably less than 50 people in my country have also written. Oh, I see what you mean.


lol...51st president of the us is going to be a failure


I was referring to being a political leader as something positive, being iffy. Nothing against the man specifically.


yeah, because causing the collapse of the USSR is a trivial accomplishment?


Yeah, It wasn't the unsustainable economic, political, social and environmental system that was Soviet totalitarianism. It wasn't the thousands of political dissidents in Easten Europe who were active, organizing and being persecuted before Reagan was even elected.

No, it was all because your Actor-President gave a nice speech and ran a deficit.


Hello Reddit! :)

(If I was American I'd probably vote for Democrats most of the time, but it's funny how users seem to know exactly what did or didn't cause the fall of the Eastern Bloc)


I'm pretty sure decades of mismanagement, the Mujahideen in Afghanistan and a broken oil pipeline caused the collapse of the USSR.

Ronny Ray Gun just happened to be in office at the time.

But becoming president of the US is huge! Only a few dozen people have ever managed to do so :-)


Yeah, he also caused the return of the Halley comet.

I mean, he was in office when it happened, right? He must have caused it.


Post hoc, ergo propter hoc




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