10 People Who Found Big Success Later in Life

This week, we are celebrating all of the contributions older adults have made to the world. Their accomplishments can be seen in art, sports, science, humanitarianism, and many more places across the board.

While success is defined in many ways, it really boils down to doing what you love, engaging with your community, and being a positive light for those around you. Individuals who are finding success as seniors and older adults are proving that it’s never too late to follow your dreams and make your mark.

People who found success later in life

If you need a little inspiration as we get ready for National Senior Citizens Day on August 21, 2020, check out these people who made it big later in life.

Julia Child

The famously adored chef, author, and television personality is a familiar name in the homes and hearts of Americans to this day. But, she wasn’t always known for her delicious recipes and humorous dialogue.

After working in media and advertising, Julia decided to learn how to cook while living in France. She turned her newfound hobby into a trailblazing career – not without hitting some major bumps in the road.

Julia published her first cookbook at 50 years old. Then, she turned into a celebrity chef with her own TV show. She also became the first woman to be inducted into the Culinary Institute of America’s Hall of Fame.

Stan Lee

The past decades of Marvel movies have become some of the biggest storylines to hit the big screen. Many superheroes came from the much loved comic book creator, Stan Lee, who you could often spot in a cameo in the movies based on his comics.

Stan Lee didn’t catch his break until he was nearly 40 years old when he published The Fantastic Four. From there, the rest of our heroes were history.

Vera Wang

As one of the most famous designers today, it’s hard to imagine Vera Wang doing anything but building her fashion empire. But before she was creating runway clothing and wedding dresses, she was a figure skater and a journalist.

Vera did not enter the fashion industry until she was 40 years old. It just goes to show that it’s never too late to change careers, or to chase a passion.

Toni Morrison

The acclaimed novelist of the black experience has been celebrated for decades for her books, which include The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, and Beloved.

Did you know that Toni Morrison did not explode in the public eye until 1993 when she became the first African American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature? She was 62.

Laurel Richie

Another great name in African American history is Laurel Richie, who was the first African American to head a national sports league. In 2011, Laurel became president of the WNBA at 52 years old.

Before heading the WNBA, Laurel was not doing so bad. She was chief marketing officer for the Girl Scouts USA and was a senior partner at the advertising agency Ogilvy and Mather. Laurel continued to build her career when many would have decided they had already accomplished enough. We admire her determination to accomplish her goals!

Hubert Jones

Art and community go hand in hand. Hubert Jones saw this at the age of 69 when he founded the Boston Children’s Chorus in 2003. The nonprofit organization includes young people of different ages, races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds and combines artistic achievement with social change.

The group has performed around the world and continues to harness the power of music to connect individuals in communities.

Kittie Weston-Knauer

As the United States’ oldest female BMX bike racer, Kittie Weston-Knauer has the scars to prove she is one tough athlete. She began by competing in off-road bicycle races in the late 1980s and was often the only woman on the track.

Now 71 years old, Kittie does not intend to slow down. Her passion for biking started as a dare, and since then she is the oldest BMX racer in the country and still wins championships.

Ray Kroc

Ray Kroc wanted to build a restaurant system that would be famous for providing food of consistent quality and uniform preparation. At 52 years old, he did just that.

Ray founded the McDonald’s System, Inc. in 1955, a predecessor of the McDonald’s Corporation, and bought the exclusive rights to the McDonald’s name and operating system six years later.

Dawn M. Blackman Sr.

Gardening can be a great hobby, but Dawn M. Blackman Sr. turned it into a way to engage and serve children in her neighborhood. The former caterer and dress shop owner’s gardening project turned into the Randolph Street Community Garden in Champaign, Illinois.

At 55, Blackman Sr. became a garden steward. Her project makes a huge impact on her community because it is located in a food desert where fresh and affordable produce is hard to find.

Tom Allen

You may not recognize the name, but Tom Allen is Britain’s oldest yoga instructor who still teaches at 90 years old. He didn’t start doing yoga until his mid-fifties, but has since has been passing on his vast experience with flexibility that defies his age. With what started as a way to keep busy and active after early retirement, Tom turned his passion into a lifestyle that inspires all ages.

VANTAGE Aging promotes a positive perspective on aging through home-delivered meals, homecare and house cleaning for seniors, and job training and volunteering for adults 55 and older. Learn more about our mission and programs by visiting us online or calling 330-253-4597.

*The information in this article is intended solely to provide general information on matters of interest for the personal use of the reader, who accepts full responsibility for its use. This article should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional legal, medical, or other competent advisors.

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