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VOICE OVER: Jennifer Silverman WRITTEN BY: Taryn Crankshaw
Some actors get better with age. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we'll be looking at performers who proved that good things come to those who wait. Our countdown includes Viola Davis, Patrick Stewart, Lucille Ball, and more!

#10: Lucille Ball

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For this comedy icon, the ball didn’t get rolling until she was almost middle aged. Despite having appeared in films and on Broadway, Lucille Ball’s success was a long time coming. She was once referred to as the "Queen of the B's” due to her many appearances in low budget flicks but in 1951, at the age of 40, she got her big break thanks to a little television sitcom called “I Love Lucy.” Appearing alongside her real-life husband Desi Arnaz, Ball cemented her status as a true comedian and actress turning the black and white series into a television classic.

#9: Alan Rickman

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Before Alan Rickman became an actor, he followed another artistic pursuit: graphic design. After attending the Royal College of Art, Rickman and some of his pals established their own studio. Eventually, his passion for acting inspired him to kiss graphic design goodbye and he enrolled in Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Afterwards, he appeared in several theatrical productions in the UK and eventually New York, where he earned a Tony nomination for his role in “Les Liaisons Dangereuses.” Despite his success, he didn't earn a feature film credit until he appeared as the villainous Hans Gruber in 1988’s “Die Hard.” At the time, he was 42 years and finally Hollywood noticed what they had been missing.

#8: Bryan Cranston

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Years before he was Walter White on “Breaking Bad,” Bryan Cranston was playing a very different role on “Malcolm in the Middle.” From 2000-2006, Cranston played the role of Hal Wilkerson, the dad to five boys, one of whom happens to be a genius. The future Academy Award nominee was about 44 years old when the show first aired. Despite appearing on shows like “Seinfeld,” “Middle” was the project that made him a recognizable face. However, his role on “Breaking Bad” made him a household name, which began airing when Cranston was almost 52 years old.

#7: Kathy Bates

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If you find yourself scrolling through Kathy Bates’ filmography, you might be scrolling for a while. The Tennessee born actress has a long list of credits, appearing in everything from movies to television to theatre. In fact, it’s hard to even imagine a time when she wasn’t a staple of the screen! However, her big breakthrough didn’t come until she was 42. Already a Tony nominee, Bates had the acting chops to terrify audiences when she was cast as the deranged Annie Wilkies in the screen adaptation of Stephen King’s horror novel, “Misery.” She made such an impact that she earned herself an Oscar for Best Actress. We guess you could say, her win was a “smashing” success!

#6: Steve Carell

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Steve Carell has been making audiences laugh for nearly 20 years but his road to fame was a long one. After starting off his career with Second City and “The Daily Show,” Carrell was hit with not one buty two major career successes in 2005. When he was cast in the American adaptation of “The Office” as Michael Scott, he was still relatively unknown. That being said, that summer he also appeared in “The 40 Year Old Virgin,” which catapulted into stardom and helped bring an audience to “The Office” and turn it into one of the most acclaimed network comedies of all time. Oh, and this all happened for him at the ripe old age of 43.

#5: Patrick Stewart

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You may not know it, but Patrick Stewart had quite a career before he joined the intergalactic world of “Star Trek.” The British actor dazzled audiences in the UK for years, appearing in classic theater, making Shakespeare proud in plays like “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” In the late 80s, the world of television came calling and casted him as “Star Trek: The Next Generation’s” leading man, Jean-Luc Picard. The role made him a well known face across the world and opened new frontiers for Stewart to explore the onscreen world. Live long and prosper, Patrick!

#4: Bea Arthur

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In 1950s New York City, the late and great Bea Arthur was making waves all over the theatre scene appearing in both on and off-Broadway productions. At 48 years old, she made an appearance on the television comedy, “All in the Family,” which impressed both viewers and the powers that be at CBS. A short time later, at age 50, Arthur was the star of her own hit TV series, “Maude.” In 1985, she continued to find success in the sitcom genre with the ensemble comedy, “The Golden Girls,” which she booked at age 63.

#3: Samuel L. Jackson

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It’s hard to believe there was ever a time when Samuel L. Jackson was not keeping snakes off of planes or just lighting up the big screen. The prolific actor appeared in films like “Do the Right Thing” and “Coming to America” in the 1980s. But it wasn’t until the 90s that Jackson’s career really took off. Director-writer Quentin Tarantino offered the actor the role of Jules Winnfield in his new crime flick, “Pulp Fiction,” which premiered in 1994. At this time, Jackson was only five years away from turning the big 5-0. The role cast a spotlight on him, and earned him an Oscar nomination to top it all off.

#2: Viola Davis

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Today, Viola Davis is a celebrated actress, producer and EGOT winner but there was a time before she was the star we know and love. After graduating from Juilliard, Davis worked primarily in the theatre, appearing in bit parts in film and television on the side. Eventually, she became a familiar onscreen face thanks to movies like “Doubt,” which she was Oscar nominated for. A year after winning her second Tony Award, she appeared in 2011’s “The Help,” which earned her another Oscar nomination and was her breakout role at age 46. Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions. Jane Lynch This Actress Was Full Of “Glee” When Her Big Break Came Around Ken Jeong This “Hangover” Star Went To the Red Carpet In His Forties Ricky Gervais This Comedian Became A Household Name At Age 40 Kathryn Joosten At Almost 60 Years Old, Joosten Went From Aspiring Actress To A TV Star Estelle Getty This “Golden Girl” Didn’t Get Her Big Break Until She Was In Her Golden Years

#1: Morgan Freeman

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Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Morgan Freeman pursued a career in the United States Air Force before he decided to commit to acting full time. Through the 1970s, Freeman built up his resume appearing in theatrical productions and the acclaimed children's series, “The Electric Company.” Despite his budding career, he did not strike show biz gold until he was cast as Leo Smalls or Fast Black in the thriller, “Street Smart,” garnering an OScar nomination. In the past, Freeman has credited the villainous role as his big break, which happened when he was just about 50 years young. Which one of these actors’ big breaks surprised you the most? Let us know in the comments!

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