4 Black Celebrities That Became Popular After Age 40

The only thing more inspiring than a great success story that happened later in one's life is a great success story that happened later in one's life. This only shows you can be anything you want to be even at a certain age

There's something uniquely inspiring about celebrities who didn't become famous overnight but instead saw their hard work pay off later in their careers.

There are a lot of those in Hollywood. Actors like Steve Carell, Viola Davis, and Samuel L. Jackson—all of whom are now household names in Hollywood—slaved away at their craft for what must have felt like a lifetime before breaking through.

Even major TV hosts, such as Martha Stewart, lived in relative obscurity until well into their forties.

1. Viola Davis

Viola Davis is the first black actress to win the acting Triple Crown (an Oscar, an Emmy, and a Tony). Though she began her career on the stage, she made a name for herself in Hollywood in the late 2000s and early 2010s, when she was in her early 40s. Davis established herself as a superstar with roles in films such as Doubt and The Help, as well as top billing on ABC's How to Get Away with Murder.

2. Samuel L. Jackson

Samuel L Jackson is a member of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Star Wars franchise, and a favorite of Quentin Tarantino, so you'd think he's been a silver screen mainstay since, well, forever.

3. Leslie Jones

Leslie Jones was a relatively unknown stand-up comedian before 2014. Then, in October of that year, at the age of 47, she joined the cast of Saturday Night Live, becoming one of the show's most beloved characters. She was even nominated for an Emmy for her work on the show in 2018.

4. Octavia Spencer

Octavia Spencer appeared in a variety of films, ranging from legal dramas (A Time to Kill) to superhero films (Spider-Man). Her big break came in 2011 when she was 41 years old and won an Oscar for her role in The Help. Spencer, by the way, is also a children's book author. Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective: The Sweetest Heist in History, her most recent title, was released in 2015.