Late Bloomer Success Stories

If you are an older artist (Comedian, Writer, Actor, Director, Painter, Musician, etc) or businessman (or both) and feel you are past your prime without all of the success you want. It is all still possible as long as there is oxygen being pumped through your beating heart.

(From Author and Monologuist Dennis Leroy Kangalee
with some help from his friend Chris Romero)

Let this be an inspiration and comfort:

1. Author FX Toole didn’t “make it” until 69, when he was finally published by a literary magazine, eventually getting an editor to help promote and support his work. One of his stories Clint Eastwood adapted years after the author died and made into “Million Dollar Baby.” Born as Jerry Boyd, he was a veteran Los Angeles boxing trainer and ringside “cut man” who battled rejection slips for 40 years before becoming a literary sensation at age 70 with a collection of boxing short stories titled “Rope Burns.”

2. Bukowski didn’t actually start formally and seriously writing poetry until he was 35. He retired from the post office in his fifties when he wrote his first novel, Post Office, and was published by a large press. By his sixties he was finally deemed “successful.”

3. Melissa Leo didn’t gain any kind of economic success as an actress until “Frozen River” and she was catapulted into the limelight, at the age of 50.

4. BAFTA winning British actress Liz Smith

did not become a professional actress until the age of 50

5. Kathryn Joosten

(Desperate Housewives) started acting professionally at the age of 42. She worked as a nurse before that.

6. Judd Hirsch started acting at the age of 36.

7. Zelda Rubinstein was 48 before she had her first starring role, and is more known for her “debut” in

Poltergeist in 1983.

8. Brian Dennehy started acting at the age of 38.

9. Grandma Moses starting painting in her 70’s.

10. Bill Traylor started drawing at age 83.

11. Van Gogh was around 40 when he started to seriously consider being a painter.

12. Colonel Sanders began Kentucky Fried Chicken while in his 60s, finally earning success as a businessman…

13. Taikichiro Mori was in his mid-50’s when he finally founded a business that earned him great financial rewards, in fact one of the richest men for a year or two in the world.

14. Japanese Dancer Kazhuo Ohno was 43 before he gave his first professional dance recital in 1949. Ten years later later he formed the Butoh Dance movement with his partner, becoming one of the most innovate contemporary arts dancers in the world…

15. Many notable directors started even later: Robert Bresson, Jacques Tati and Takeshi Kitano directed their first features at 42.

16. Eric Rohmer did not become a full time director until his late 40s.

17. Mary Wesley might be a classic example. She wrote two children’s books in her late fifties, but her writing career did not gain note until her first novel at 70, written after the death of her husband.[59]

Harriet Doerr published her first novel at age 74, and went on to great praise.[60]
A possibly more well known example might be Laura Ingalls Wilder. She became a columnist in her forties, but did not publish her first novel in the Little House series of children’s books until her sixties.[61]

18. Charles Bukowski published his first novel at age 49 after a lengthy career working odd jobs and then at a post office.[64]

Richard Adams’s first novel, the bestseller Watership Down, was published when he was in his fifties. Anthony Burgess, the novelist best known for A Clockwork Orange, published his first novel at age 39. William S. Burroughs was also 39 when he published his first novel, Junky. The Marquis de Sade published his first novel, Justine, after turning 51. Henry Miller published his novel Tropic of Cancer at 44. Raymond Chandler published his first short story at 45, and his first novel, The Big Sleep at 51.

19. Comedian Rodney Dangerfield (aka Jack Roy) was nearly 40 years old when he had his first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show.

Come and see some of the country’s best comedic talent in one of the best comedy towns in the nation at The Orlando Comedy Festival

Now is their time to shine.

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