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Late bloomers: People who achieved success later in life

Late Bloomer

Dreaming of success? If you haven’t hit your stride, these stories will keep you going.

  1. Martha Stewart
    Businesswoman and television personality Martha Stewart did some modeling in her youth and started her own catering company in the 1970s. But she didn’t become a household name until the 80s, when she released her first book, “Entertaining”.

    A career in television and print media soon followed, with the launch of “Martha Stewart Living” in the 90s. She was well into her 40s when she became the first female self-made billionaire in the United States.

    She suffered a few setbacks in her career, doing five months in prison after being charged with obstruction of justice, only to bounce back and reclaim her mantle as “The Queen of Living Well”. She has since expanded her business, adding 7,000 products to her eponymous line, and going back to television.

  2. Julia Child
    Before Martha Stewart, there was Julia Child – celebrated chef, author, and TV personality. She’s best remembered for “The French Chef”, a 1960s cooking show where she showed American viewers how to make cheese soufflé and boeuf bourguignon at home.

    Child was 39 when she published her first cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”, which became a best-seller. She was 51 when the first episode of “The French Chef” aired on U.S. television. Her cooking show ran for a decade, winning Emmy and Peabody awards.

    She was also the first woman to be inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame in 1993.

  3. Duncan Hines
    Duncan Hines is synonymous with America’s best-loved cake mix, but the man behind the brand started out as a traveling salesman who sampled restaurants across the U.S. He first gained success as a guidebook author, with the publication of “Adventures in Good Eating” making him one of the most trusted names in roadside dining throughout the 40s and 50s.

    At the ripe old age of 73, he licensed his name to a line of instant cake mixes, which became an overnight sensation. Today, the line includes numerous easy-bake goods that range from pancake mixes to frosting.

  4. Harland Sanders
    Harland Sanders, the face of Kentucky Fried Chicken, was in his 40s when he ran a filling station and an on-site restaurant that served food to travelers. The site’s popularity earned him the honorary title of Colonel and inspired him to move the restaurant across the street from the filling station.

    He was forced to close the restaurant at 62, but he went on to start a nationwide fried chicken franchise, asking other restaurant operators to use the original recipe we know and love today.

  5. Raymond Albert “Ray” Kroc
    Ray Kroc worked as a milkshake machine salesman for many years before getting involved with McDonald’s in the 1950s. He became interested in the restaurant company upon discovering that founders Richard and Maurice McDonald were using his milkshake machines at their San Bernardino branch.

Already in his 50s, Kroc secured the rights to open franchises outside of California and Arizona, with plans to turn the brand into a nationally-recognized fast-food chain. By 1959, McDonald’s had over 100 branches in the U.S.