Late Achievers


Harland Sanders

Born in 1890 died in 1980 at the age 90
Kentucky Fried Chicken
Founded KFC at 62

The early and unfortunate death of his father compelled Harland to shoulder the household responsibilities. After doing several different odd jobs, he started his successful entrepreneurial career with serving his special chicken dishes in Kentucky. With the growing demand of his dish, Harland started his experiment with the recipes blending it with eleven different herbs and spices. At the age of 45, in 1935, he was named a Kentucky Colonel by the Governor for his distinguished cooking style. His success motivated him to create, what he called ‘Original Recipes’ in 1940.

After a fall-down, in 1952 at age 62, he began franchising Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants using his first Social Security check $105 to fund visits to potential franchisees. In coming years, there were more than 600 franchises across Canada and USA. In 1964, he sold his branching operation for $2 million. Today, there are 14,000 KFC restaurants in 80 countries.

You got to like your work – because it is worthwhile, that it makes a difference.- Harland Sanders


Orville Redenbacher

Born in 1907 died in 1995 at the age 88
Orville Redenbacher’s Gourmet Popping Corn
at 58, he Co-founded the Orville Redenbacher’s Popcorn

Orville Redenbacher was born in Brazil on July 16, 1907 and brought up at a small corn farm in Indiana State. Almost half of his life was spent working in the agriculture industry. However, from his early childhood, he had an obsession for developing the popcorn hybrid.

In 1956, at the age of 58, he co-founded Gourmet Popping Corn with Charles F. Bowman. In 1976, Redenbacher sold the company to Hunt-Wesson, a division of Norton Simon Inc. He remained the spokesman for the brand and kept appearing in TV commercials with his grandson, Gary.

In 1984, he published the book Orville Redenbacher’s Popcorn. He was posthumously honoured with the Luther Burbank of popcorn in 1995 by the Time magazine.


Ray Kroc

Born in 1902 died in 1984 at the age 82
McDonald’s Corporation
At 52, he bought McDonald’s franchise

In 1954 at the age of 52, after becoming the national agent for McDonald, Ray Kroc started a new era in franchising. He began his life at 15 working as an ambulance driver, later worked as a piano player, then a paper cup salesperson and a multi-mixer salesman. In 1954, he met McDonald brothers’ Richard and Maurice in San Bernardino, California. He was impressed by their menus and operations and advised them to expand their business throughout the USA. His keen sense of the taste of American customers made him the most successful businessman in America. By 1965, they could successfully made their presence in over 700 sites across the United States; and by the end of 2003,it expanded to over 31,000 sites in 119 countries.

Today, Ray Kroc is known to be the most thriving American entrepreneurs who made McDonald internationally successful and got it the title of the world’s largest chain of restaurants.


Ronald Reagan

Born in 1911 died in 2004 at the age 93
Actor to Successful Politician
California Governor at age 56
U.S. President at age 70

Republican Ronald Reagan was the oldest President of the United States at the age of 70. From 1981 to 1989, he served two terms as the President. He was born in Tampico and grew up in Illinois; at the age of nine, his family moved to Dixon. He started his career as a lifeguard at Lowell Park, near Dixon, and worked as a radio sports announcer for WOC radio in Davenport in 1932; and later in 1937, he became an actor in California. He was often called a “B-List” actor who appeared in 52 movies in his lifetime.

In 1947, when he became President of the Screen Actors Guild, his political aspiration arouse and he followed his dream until he joined the campaign of conservative presidential contender Barry Goldwater in 1964. He was nominated for Governor of California and in 1967, he won the election.
Today, Ronald Reagan is widely known as one of the most successful and popular Presidents in American history, with a legacy of bringing peaceful end to the Cold War.

“My philosophy of life is that if we make up our mind what we are going to make of our lives, then work hard toward that goal, we never lose”- Ronald Reagan

Grandma Moses

Born in1860 died in 1961 at the age 101
American Folk Artist
At the age of 78, she started painting

Anna Mary Robertson Moses, a most successful Americanfolk artist, was born to a farmer Russell King Robertson and Margaret Shannahan. She is widely known as “Grandma Moses”. Drawing was her childhood obsession but due to the family condition, she had to work at family farm right from the age of 12. At the age of 78, she started nurturing her obsession once again and began selling her painting. She would take just $2 for small paintings and $3 for the larger ones. In 1938, an art collector discovered one her paintings in a Hoosick Falls, New York at a drugstore window. After one year, in 1939, her drawing collection was in Galerie Saint-Etienne in Manhattan by art dealer Otto Kallir that brought her huge success. The demand of her painting increased all over the world.

For next three decades, she generated more than 3,600 canvasses. One of her works Sugaring Off was sold at an auction for $1.2 million.


Tina Turner

Born in 1939 (current age 72)
Professional Singer
Oldest female artist to have a #1 single at age 44
Sellout 90-venue world concert tour at age 68

Tina Turner, an American singer and actress, was born in Anna Mae Bullock on November 26, 1939. She started her career at the age of 18 as a vocalist for Ike Turner’s band in 1957 and successfully made her hold as a singer with her recording “A Fool in Love,” “Proud Mary,” “I Want to Take You Higher,” and “River Deep, Mountain High.” After a sudden downfall in her career in 1970, she lived an anonymous life over a decade. In 1984, at the age of 44, Tina received huge success with her single “What’s Love Got to Do with It”. She became the oldest female artist to have been featured #1 with her solo. She is widely known the “Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll and received several awards in the rock music genre.


Millie Garfield

Born in 1925 – (age 84)
Blogger and Story Teller Extraordinaire
At age 78, started blogging

Today, she is known to be one of the Internet’s oldest but most successful bloggers. At the age 84, she is called the internet legend. She started blogging with the name My Mom’s Blog at the age 78 out of her childhood passion of telling story. Through her blogs, in her words, she discovers new world around, explores new ideas and makes new friends.

Millie doesn’t have the time to wonder whether blogging ‘keeps her young’ … it keeps her too busy – Elisa Camahort


Sister Marion Irvine

Born in 1929
Built 60-64 age group women world record in 5,000 meters long
At the age 63, she entered a half marathon

Sister Marion Irvine was a Roman catholic nun who started running at her late 40’s to get rid of her depression and extreme stress. In 1981, at the age 51 she won the veteran female division of the Boston Marathon. In 1983, she successfully completed her California international Marathon and in 1991, she set a new world record in 5000 meter run with a 19:15 broking all previous records. In 1992, she was USATF master runner for 60-64 age groups. She was induced in RRCA Hall of Fame in 1992, and in Master Hall of Fame in 1998.


Susan Boyle

Born in 1961
A Scottish singer
Became world famous singer at the age 47

Susan Magdalane Boyle, a Scottish singer, who, on November 11, 2009, came to international public notice after appearing on the reality TV programme Britain’s Got Talent. Singing the song “I Dreamed a Dream” she became word renowned singer. The same year, her first album was released, became a best-selling CD across the globe. At the age of 47, she received her long-awaited success and recognition around the world.


Julia Child

Born on August 15, 1912, in Pasadena, California
Died on August 13, 2004 in kidney failure
Popular TV chef and author
Started her cooking show in late 30’s

She is well known for addressing French cuisine to the American mainstream that she brought it to public attention with her television program The French Chef in 1963, Dinner at Julia’s, Julia Child & Company, The Way To Cook and her famous cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. She was known by her numerous pet names such as a little girl, “Juke”, “Juju” and “Jukies.”

She was honoured with several awards including 1966 Achievements in Educational Television- Individuals for The French Chef, 1996: Outstanding Service Show Host for In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs, 2001: Outstanding Service Show Host for Julia & Jacques Cooking at Home, honorary doctorates from Harvard university, Johnson and Wales university and many more.

  • s.heramb

    Grandma Moses is amazing!!!

  • rafiah77

    I always appreciate a well written article about late blooming men and women. You see our nation is overwhelmed by youth. We think the only time in life to set high goals is when you are young. You cannot be upset when you hear an older person talk in a negative fashion about starting new goals, especially when they express their inner dreams and someone with a bad ageism problem tells them they are too old and go sit on their porches drink ice tea and fan flies away all day. America is cruel to middle age and beyond people and because of this pushing away a lot of talented people are lost and we lose those who still can make valuable contributions to our world. Thank you young author for having the sensitivity to write this great article.

  • Joya

    It is never too late to work on your dreams!
    Awesome post. Feeling recharged.