7 Celebrities Who Were Never Too Old To Succeed

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Being a former 33 year old nursing student, I was worried that I was too old to go to nursing school. I had to dig anywhere and everywhere I could to research successful people who were never too old to succeed. It gave me so much inspiration and hope to continue chasing after my dreams.

There are so many celebrities who were never too old to succeed to grab inspiration from.

There were so many times when I felt like I just wasn’t good enough, smart enough, young enough talented enough, etc., etc. Truthfully, I still feel like this from time to time, and I am the top student in my class of 60.

This is when I have to remind myself of some awesomely successful people who were never “too old” to reach their goals.

While I understand you don’t go into nursing to get rich and famous, however, I chose to talk about 7 inspiring celebrity stories because they personally give me a lot of motivation to keep reaching for my own dreams.

I am currently a 4.0 GPA nursing student in my thirties, and while I still have a ways to go to where I want to be, I am a heck of a lot further than where I was in my twenties. And that is what this is all about.

Here is our list of inspiring people who weren’t “too old” to succeed in reaching their dreams. Hopefully, their determination and grit helps inspire you to do the same and get started on your nursing journey.

1. Joy Behar

Joy Behar was a receptionist at Good Morning America at 28 years old where she was later fired from that position. She is also a past high school English teacher working with high school dropouts who were considered to be “at-risk youth”. She has stated she was fired from that job as well in a few interviews.

After losing her job at Good Morning America, Joy stated that “she had nothing to lose” so she sought out to pursue her career in comedy at almost 40 years old. Joy was a divorced and single mother.

While you are wondering when is it too late to go to nursing school, Joy is out there continuing to break through the glass ceiling in daytime TV with a comedic spin. It’s never too late to get started.

After years of becoming a successful standup comedian, Joy was invited back to Good Morning America as a guest star. Joy has since had her own television shows, and has been a beloved host on The View for many years.

Joy has an estimated net worth of $30 million dollars.

2. Bob Ross

Bob Ross came from humble beginnings. His father was a carpenter, and his mother was a waitress. He was a high school dropout after ninth grade, and instead went to work with his father in carpentry.

Bob Ross was in the Air Force for 20 years and it was there where he developed his artistic abilities. He diligently practiced his painting skills when he was not busy working. Ross was 39 years old when his paintings were earning him more money than his Air Force job, so he retired.

After a few years of struggle, he finally started his television show The Joy of Painting at 41 years old.

Ross had an estimated worth of $10 million dollars when he passed away in 1995.

3. Samuel L. Jackson

Samuel L. Jackson was raised by his single mother experiencing poverty and segregation. He also suffered from a stutter when he was young. Jackson however was a very bright and good student. Unfortunately due to his stutter, he was bullied severely. He has even stated in past interviews he stopped speaking for almost a year because the bullying was so traumatic.

After graduating from college in 1972, Jackson had many small roles in many films, and lived the life of a struggling actor for much of his adult life. He was also plagued by a drug addiction, but he did finally get clean in the early 1990s. Finally, at the age of 46 years old, he had his big break in the film Pulp Fiction and the rest is cinema history.

Jackson has an estimated worth of $250 million dollars.

4. Viola Davis

Viola Davis grew up in extreme poverty and her family often went hungry. Despite these immense hardships, she graduated college from Rhode Island College and then went to Julliard in New York City.

Viola appeared on Broadway where she had some success, and then she also acted in many small roles for years. After years of working and never giving up, she finally had her big break in 2008 at the age of 43 when she appeared in the movie Doubt. Viola is the first African American actress to have ever achieved the “Triple Crown of Acting”; an Oscar, Emmy, and Tony.

Davis has an estimated worth of $25 million dollars.

5. Julia Child

Julia Child grew up in a well-off family. She graduated from college with an English degree in 1934. She worked as a copywriter and writer for many years, specializing in advertising. A cool fact about her is that she was actually hired to be a top secret researcher at one point.

After she married her husband, Paul Cushing Child, she moved to France and became a “foodie”. This is the point in her journey where she made a complete career change and enrolled in the Le Cordon Bleu cooking school. What makes her so inspiring is that she was actually not a good cook when she made this change.

With a ton of practice, she mastered her craft. She then, with two other partners, started to write a cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. She was 50 years old when she reached success in the cooking space, and went on to have a famous television show as well.

So if you are wondering when is it too late to go to nursing school, I am sure Julia Child was wondering when is it too late to go to cooking school. She didn’t let that stop her though, and it shouldn’t stop you either.

Julia Child had a net worth of $50 million dollars

6. Steve Carrell

Interestingly enough, Steve Carrell’s mother was a psychiatric nurse.

Carrell graduated with a degree from Denison University and was a part of a student-run improvisational comedy troupe. He started appearing in small roles in the early 1990s. Carrell finally landed his big break when he was cast in the starring role on The Office as everyone’s favorite character, Michael Scott. Carrell was 43 years old.

Steve Carrell has a net worth of $80 million dollars.

7. J.K. Rowling

Rowling was a good student and did very well in her years of school and graduated from University. She started writing stories at the age of 5 years old. After she graduated, she worked as a researcher and bilingual secretary where she continued to write stories.

At some point, she started thinking about a character, a little boy named Harry. It took her a few years to write the book as she went through many personal trials. She was then rejected by 12 different publishers until finally, she got her big break with Barry Cunningham of Bloomsbury. She was 32 years old. And as we all know, she went on to write many more books in everyone’s family favorite fantasy series.

If you are in your late twenties and you are wondering when is it too late to go to nursing school, J.K Rowling can help put things in perspective. She was 32 and you might be thinking she wasn’t “that old”. So there you go.

J.K Rowling is worth $1 Billion dollars.

So when is it too late to go to nursing school?

After reading these incredible stories of success, hopefully, you now realize that it is NEVER too late to pursue your dreams.

If you are worried that nursing school is too hard, you can read this article I wrote right here where I do a deep dive into this very common fear.

I chose to use these celebrities because in the acting space, “younger is better”. Can you imagine being in your 40’s and competing with youthful attractive competitors? These celebrities never gave up. They knew there was still space for them in their craft.

As I mentioned before, nurses don’t achieve fame and fortune, although anything is possible, but it is still a very comfortable life and an overall great achievement to make.

Just as these celebrities faced a lot of rejection, there can be rejection in nursing school too. You may not get into the program the first time you apply and that is okay. Keep going! Keep pushing forward!

Never give up. It is never too late to work toward your goals and dreams.

Jackie Jimenez BSN, RN
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