Accomplishments Made
Late In Life!

Accomplishments made late in life are seriously doable! 

You are retired, but you are also still capable of much... let me prove it!

These people are ranked by age below:

Age 90+

Audrey Crabtree, Diploma at 99

You’re never too old to get a high school diploma. Audrey Crabtree, 99,  was awarded her diploma after 80 years of being one credit shy of graduation. After leaving Waterloo East High School in 1932 due to an injury, she stayed home -- first to care for her sick grandmother and then to get married (Waterloo Falls-Courier). She eventually attained professional success with her flower shop, and became the matriarch of a large family that includes five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Age 80+

Age 70+

John Mahoney, 73

John Mahoney, best known for his television role as Martin Crane on Frasier, didn’t make the transition into acting until he was 37 years old, quitting his day job as the editor of a medical journal to pursue a stage career ( He said he gradually realized medical journalism wasn’t for him, and asked himself, “Is this going to be it for me, am I going to be spending the rest of my life writing about cataracts and hemorrhoids?” His first feature film role was in 1980, he played Frasier’s father from 1993 to 2004.

Age 60+

Diana Nyad, 64

CNN reported that Diana accomplished her dream in 2013... she is the first person to swim from Florida to Cuba! At age 64, no less! She tried five times over thirty-five years! This gal was determined, even at her age she was not giving up.

Her advice: "I think that a lot of people in our country have gotten depressed, pinned in, pinned down with living lives they don't want." She added: "One is we should never, ever give up. Two is you never are too old to chase your dreams." 

Frank McCourt, 66

Frank McCourt served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, went to college on the GI Bill, and then spent 30 years as a teacher. It was only after he retired that he decided to write about his childhood, publishing his memoir Angela’s Ashes in 1996, at the age of 66, to both popular and critical acclaim. He wrote two more books before his death in 2009.  “When I look back on my childhood, I wonder how I survived at all,” runs an apt quote from Angela’s Ashes.

Estelle Getty, 1923-2008

We know Estelle Getty as Sophia, the mother of Bea Arthur’s character Dorothy on the TV sitcom The Golden Girls. She acted onstage for nearly 50 years before her first onscreen opportunities, but then her career took off: she was nominated seven years in a row for an Emmy award for her work on The Golden Girls, finally winning in 1988. Says her New York Times obituary, “It was a remarkable coup for an actress then in her 60s who had worked for decades with almost no recognition at all.”

5. Dr. Ruth Westheimer, 85

Dr. Ruth Westheimer was working at Planned Parenthood when, in 1980, she gave a talk to New York broadcasters about “the need for sex education programming to dispel the silence around such issues as contraception and unwanted pregnancies” ( She was 52 years old. Three years later, her Sunday talk show Sexually Speaking was attracting a quarter of a million listeners every week, and by the following year, it was nationally syndicated. Since then, her career has encompassed TV shows, advice columns, and books, and she continues to maintain a private practice.

7. Estelle Getty, 1923-2008

“I’ve played mother to everyone but Attila the Hun,” said Estelle Getty in her 1988 autobiography, but we know her best as Sophia, the mother of Bea Arthur’s character Dorothy on the TV sitcom The Golden Girls. She acted onstage for nearly 50 years before her first onscreen opportunities, but then her career took off: she was nominated seven years in a row for an Emmy award for her work on The Golden Girls, finally winning in 1988. Says her New York Times obituary, “It was a remarkable coup for an actress then in her 60s who had worked for decades with almost no recognition at all.”

8. Louise Bourgeois, 1911-2010

The provocative artist Louise Bourgeois created drawings, prints and sculptures throughout her life, but only became well known in her early 70s after a 1982 retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The New York Times describes her successful career as a confluence of many factors: “In an art world where women had been treated as second-class citizens and were discouraged from dealing with overtly sexual subject matter, she quickly assumed an emblematic presence. Her work was read by many as an assertive feminist statement, her career as an example of perseverance in the face of neglect.” Her persistence paved the way for the careers of generations of younger women artists.

9. Phyllis Diller, 1917-2012

In Phyllis Diller’s pre-comedy life, she studied at Chicago’s Sherwood Music Conservatory before eloping, moving to California, and having six children. Then, in 1955, at age 37, she was working as a journalist for a Bay Area newspaper when she appeared as a contestant on You Bet Your Life, Groucho Marx’s game show. Her comedy debut in San Francisco happened soon afterward, leading to her first stage and screen acting appearances in 1961. Besides a long acting career, Diller was an accomplished concert pianist and author of five bestsellers (

10. Kathryn Bigelow, 61

It may seem hard to believe, but the director of The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty and the first woman to win an Academy Award for Best Director, didn’t begin making movies until the 1980s, after an early career as a painter and conceptual artist in Manhattan. Her second career in film has been high profile and history-making, and not without controversy due to the provocative topics she fearlessly tackles in her movies. Part of the reason she switched to film was to reach a wider audience, regardless of topic. “Holding up a contemporary mirror is more attractive to me now than ever,” she told TIME magazine earlier this year.

11. Taikichiro Mori, 1904-1993

Often described as unpretentious and modest, Tokyo real estate developer Taikichiro Mori was uncomfortable with fame, despite being ranked the richest man in the world by Forbes magazine for two years straight (New York Times). He didn’t start off as head of a building company, but it’s safe to assume that his 30-year career as an economics professor didn’t hurt his chances of success. At age 55, he inherited his father’s business, which included two buildings; from there, he founded a development company that would go on to construct over 80 buildings in booming postwar Japan. In 1992—when he was 88 years old—he was worth $13 billion: twice as much as Bill Gates.1. Martha Stewart

Stewart had worked on Wall Street and owned a Connecticut catering firm, but her real success came after age 41 with the publication of her first book, Entertaining, and the launch of Martha Stewart Living seven years later. (Of course, she weathered some pitfalls later, before rebounding once more.)2. Joy Behar

Known today as a former co-host on The View, Behar was a high school English teacher who didn't launch her show business career until after age 40.3. Vera Wang

Wang was first known as an accomplished figure skater and a fashion editor before deciding before her 1989 wedding, at age 40, that she wanted to be a designer. She commissioned her own wedding dress for $10,000 and opened her first bridal boutique the following year.

ADVERTISING4. Tim and Nina Zagat

This husband and wife team had each turned 42 before they gave up their legal careers to write their first restaurant guides. Their eponymous company is part of Google now.5. Robin Chase

The founder and former CEO of Zipcar had left her 40th birthday in the rearview mirror and was taking time off from work to be with her children when she and a friend, Antje Danielson, came up with the idea for the car-sharing company in 2000.6. Harland Sanders

Sanders was "a failure who got fired from a dozen jobs before starting his restaurant, and then failed at that when he went out of business and found himself broke at the age of 65," according to one account. But then things worked out when he sold the first Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise in 1952.7. Rodney Dangerfield

The late, great comedic actor was best known for his roles in 1980s movies like Caddyshack and Back to School, but he was 46 before he got his first big break--on the Ed Sullivan Show.8. Duncan Hines

At age 55, he wrote his first food and hotel guides (including one that mentioned Sanders Court and Caf, the original restaurant owned by Harlan Sanders, above). At age 73, licensed the right to use his name to the company that developed Duncan Hines cake mixes; unfortunately he died six years later.9. Charles Darwin

He was 50 years old before he published On the Origin of the Species in 1859, the book that espoused the theory for which he best known today. (The Darwin Awards came much later.)10. Samuel Jackson

Jackson 46 years old (and in recovery from addiction to cocaine and heroin) before he starred alongside John Travolta in Pulp Fiction.11. Donald Fisher

At age 41, after a series of entrepreneurial ventures, Fisher and his wife Doris Fisher founded The Gap. It's now a $16 billion a year company with more than 3,200 locations worldwide.12. Ray Kroc

Kroc had passed his 50th birthday before he bought the first McDonald's in 1961, which he ultimately expanded into a worldwide conglomerate.13. Sam Walton

Although he'd owned a small chain of discount stores, Walton opened the first true Wal-Mart in 1962, when he was 44.14. Julia Child

Her first cookbook was published when she was 39; she made her television debut in The French Chef at age 51.

Rodney Dangerfield is remembered as a legendary comedian, but he didn't catch a break until he made a hit appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show" at age 46.YouTube/The Ed Sullivan Show

Momofuku Ando cemented his spot in junk food history when he invented instant ramen at age 48 in 1958.Flickr/ Ogiyoshishan

Charles Darwin spent most of his life as a naturalist who kept to himself, but at age 50 his "On the Origin of Species" changed the scientific community forever in 1859.AP Photo, File

Julia Child worked in advertising and media before writing her first cookbook when she was 50, launching her career as a celebrity chef.Jon Chase/AP

Jack Cover worked as a scientist for institutions like NASA and IBM before he became a successful entrepreneur at 50 for inventing the Taser gun.Christopher Furlong/Getty

Tim and Nina Zagat were both 51-year-old lawyers when they published their first collection of restaurant reviews under the Zagat name, which eventually became a mark of culinary authority.Joe Corrigan/Getty

Ray Kroc spent his career as a milkshake device salesman before buying McDonald's at age 52 in 1954. He grew it into the world's biggest fast-food franchise.AP Photo

Taikichiro Mori was an academic who became a real estate investor at age 51 when he founded Mori Building Company. His brilliant investments made him the richest man in the world in 1992, when he had a net worth of $13 billion.Katsumi Kasahara/AP

Wally Blume had a long career in the dairy business before starting his own ice cream company, Denali Flavors, at age 57 in 1995. The company reported revenue of $80 million in 2009.Flickr/Richard Dalton

Laura Ingalls Wilder spent her later years writing semi-autobiographical stories using her educated daughter Rose as an editor. She published the first in the "Little House" books at age 65 in 1932. They soon became children's literary classics, and the basis for TV show "Little House on the Prairie."Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Harland Sanders, better known as Colonel Sanders, was 62 when he franchised Kentucky Fried Chicken in 1952, which he would sell for $2 million 12 years later.AP Photo

Anna Mary Robertson Moses, better known as Grandma Moses, began her prolific painting career at 78. In 2006, one of her paintings sold for $1.2 million.Arthur Z. Brooks/AP

Harry Bernstein spent a long life writing in obscurity, achieving notoriety at long last at age 96 for his 2007 memoir "The Invisible Wall: A Love Story That Broke Barriers."

America's richest self-made women are 60 ceiling crashers who have built some of the nation's biggest companies, from Gap GPS +2.42% to Google GOOGL -3.43%, Spanx and Facebook FB -3.28%. But 10% of them got their lucrative start after the age of 40; one of those six even after 50.

Judy Sheindlin is best known by her on-screen moniker, Judge Judy. Her eponymous show has been on air for 20 seasons and is watched by an average of 10 million viewers an episode. Though she now banks $47 million annually from the gig, the chief justice of daytime TV did not get her start on camera until age 52 in 1996. Today worth an estimated $290 million, she previously spent time as the in-house lawyer for a cosmetics company before becoming a family court judge in 1982. Her straight talking reputation earned her a 60 Minutes profile in 1993 that resulted in an offer for a syndicated show.

“We’re an ancient show that just keeps getting stronger,” Sheindlin told the New York Times in 2014, speaking of her continued success. “Half of prime time would be thrilled to get our n