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.


Where to see Great Comedy in Orlando, Florida and Beyond.

Tourists have been coming to the center of the “Sunshine State” for almost 40 years to see the larger than life attractions at Disney World. With all the live entertainment, rides, food, beaches and shopping in Central Florida, people came from all over the globe (most notably NY for some reason). They are still arriving every day into the Orlando International Airport. 
However, there is something else to do at night if you are vacationing in Orlando, Kissimmee or anywhere in the Central Florida area. It doesn’t cost much and in some cases, may even be free. It is stand up comedy and it has made a permanent home in the areas surrounding the mouse. From Davenport to Merrit Island, Downtown Orlando to Downtown Kissimmee, there are comedy nights and open mike nights popping up everywhere. With established comedians and producers such as Carmen Vallone, Kevin White, Myke Herlihy, Duncan Jay, John Romano, Ken Miller, Vince Taylor and myself Chris Romero bringing in new and established acts to the Orlando Area, both tourists and locals are making their way out to any venue hosting a comedy night.
Here is a breakdown of the local scene (as much as I know, feel free to email me with any other shows you know of and any suggestions you may have about covering the local scene):
• Monday Nights at 8:30pm in Downtown Orlando, there is a great open mike at The Other Bar (located at 18 Wall St. Orlando, Florida 32801. Please visit or for more details).
• Tuesday Nights are rather low key. Currently, I am hoping to get another great open mike going. This will most likely be in Kissimmee but I will keep you updated.
• Wednesday Nights offer a great open mike sponsored by the good folks over at Bonkerz ( Run by seasoned pro Carmen Vallone, there is always a slew of great performers who come out to work on new material and hopefully get seen by those who book for Bonkerz shows. There is also a great new show in Merrit Island called , “The Nameless Comedy Show.” Located at The Nameless Bar (attached to the Shore Lanes Bowling Center) at 600 N. Courtenay Pkwy in Merritt Island, FL, this show is hosted by Duncan Jay with Jason Hunter featuring Johnathan Vick and Stephanie Siler Vick. Show invite on Facebook:!/event.php?eid=168604453150800 . In College Park, however, there is a new show called “Drinks and Laughs Night” at the All American Burger Bar Graffiti Junktion from 7-10pm ( produced by Raw Dog Comedy (!/rawdawgcomedy?v=wall)
• Thursday Nights offers a variety of shows but my favorite ones usually occur at the Orlando Improv at Point Orlando on International Drive a.k.a. I-Drive ( Most Thursday Nights are “Apollo Night” where you can catch new and established acts working out there sets with a wild audience. This Thursday, you can catch Finesse Mitchell all the way through Halloween Sunday October 31st. One great show is “Raw Dog Comedy Night” at The Gustoso Bar and Grille in Deltona, Florida (481 Deltona Blvd. Deltona, FL  32725 tel.: 407-718-9687, every Thursday Night from 9pm – Midnight. This show features great new stand up acts every week and is hosted by Vince Taylor. There are also great Improv comedy shows at The Sak Comedy Lab on Thursdays and almost every day of the week. Please check their schedule for there extremely affordable shows ( Next week, Sak Comedy Lab will be holding a series of special shows in conjunction with the Orlando Film Festival called FOOLFEST 2010 (
Just a side note, most of the screenings at The Orlando Film Fest from November 3rd – 7th are are FREE! Please Visit for more details.

• Friday Nights are always hopping with shows at The Orlando Improv, Sak Comedy Lab and Sleuth’s Mystery Dinner Theater. At 10pm, every Friday night, Sleuth’s Mystery Dinner Theater presents, “Mama’s Comedy Show” ( There are also Bonkerz shows that take place at the Orlando Jai Alai on Friday Night.
• Saturday Nights are great for Stand up Comedy at both the Orlando Improv and Sleuth’s. At 10pm on Saturday, Sleuth’s hosts, “Stand Up Comedy Spotlight” with some of the best talent in Central Florida with your host Kevin White. Please visit for more details. Once again, there is a Bonkerz show this night as well at the Orland Jai Alai in Casselberry starting at 8pm.
• Sunday Nights are more of a low key night with a great open mike starting at 9pm at The Best of British Pub on I-Drive with your producer Kevin White and various hosts. Please visit for more details. There is also a splendid open mic over by Rollins College at Austin’s Cafe . Sign up starts at 8:30 and begins at 9pm.
For ongoing information on the ever evolving world of comedy in Central Florida, please continue to view this blog at 
Feel free to email me personally with any corrections, concerns, ideas or questions at
Stay tuned for the new web series, “Central Florida Stand Up” coming to Izon Orlando.
Please view their great and exciting content now such as Duncan Jay’s, “Duncan’s Dailies“, Kevin White’s, “Geekopoly” and their coverage of the 2010 Orlando Improv Festival.
For additional references, please visit and listen to LOL Talk Radio They feature local comedians and have a great list of Orlando Area Open Mikes and Florida Comedy Clubs.
I will continue to update and bring you exciting news from the world of comedy in Orlando and beyond.