This week we’re looking at actors who found fame and recognition slightly later in their careers. From those you can’t believe didn’t hit it big sooner to those you simply can’t believe their age, sometimes it really is just a case of good things coming to those who wait (and slog!)
Though she has been acting from a young age, Walker’s TV credits in the last 5 years have seen her star in some of the best series on British television in the past decade. From Unforgotten to The Split, her characters are consistently strong female leads, making her a staple in quality television of recent years. In her late 40s, this year the Radio Times voted her number 10 on the 2018 ‘Radio Times TV 100’, she is twice BAFTA nominated and won an Olivier Award in 2013, she shows that actresses over 40 aren’t just worthy of supporting roles and we can’t wait to see what she works on next.
Taraji P Henson
Having started off as an extra, Henson’s first breakout role came at age 30. Hollywood is notorious for ageism and strong leading roles for females over 40 being few and far between but at 48, Henson is bucking the (depressing) trend. Her career goes from strength to strength with 4 movies and the 5th season of TV show Empire (in which she has a lead role) being released in 2018 alone. In 2015, Henson became the first black actress in history to win the Critics Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Drama Series (for Empire.)
A consistent working stage actor, Waltz struggled to break in to the English language film business until his BIG Hollywood break, aged 53, in Quentin Tarantino’s 2009 film, Inglorious Basterds. He won a whopping 27 awards for his performance, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He has since gone on to win a second Academy Award and his career doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon!
A full career in graphic design before deciding to apply to RADA meant Rickman was a little late to the game but his love for theatre led him to a full scholarship aged 26. After earning himself a Tony Award nomination, he turned to film and in 2001 took on one of literature’s most famous characters in the Harry Potter series, Severus Snape.
Freeman served in the US Airforce before treading the boards in theatre productions. Racking up awards for his work on stage, he turned to film but his most notable roles weren’t until the 1980s, when Freeman was in his 50s. An Oscar win and 4 nominations aged 51+ shows that some things really do get better with age!
Best known for her roles in Desperate Housewives and The West Wing, Katheryn didn’t begin acting until the age of 42, determined to follow a life long dream. After actively pursuing acting work through community theatre and drama classes throughout her 40s, she landed her breakout role in The West Wing in 1999, aged 60. Katheryn went on to win 2 Emmy Awards for her role in Desperate Housewives.