We love celebrities because of their charisma, talents and ability to capture our imaginations. When you look at the ones who’ve firmly established themselves as tops in their fields for decades, it’s easy to forget that they were once young, ambitious folks who were simply pursuing a dream. Here is a look at 10 notables now and how they looked when they were spring chickens.
President Joe Biden
Whether you like President Biden’s political positions or not, there’s one thing we can all agree on: he’s plenty old. To put things in perspective, when 40th U.S. President Ronald Reagan left office at the age of 77, he was the oldest president to do so. By the time Biden began his presidency, he was already a year older than that. Biden has had a lengthy political career that goes all the way back to 1970. First, he was elected to the New Castle, Delaware County Council at the age of 26, and then three years later became the 6th youngest senator ever elected at 29.
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Gervais is a popular — if not controversial — actor/comedian, best known for co-creating and starring in The Office, which spawned the extremely popular American version of the series. Before he found success on television, he had dreamed of becoming a musician. In fact, in the early 80s he was one half of a new wave pop duo called Seona Dancing. While they never caught on, their single “More to Lose” was a modest hit in the Philippines of all places.
With a record 21 Oscar nominations (winning 3 of them), Streep is regarded as the greatest actress of her generation. Although she grew up in a household in which her mom installed confidence in her, Streep never seriously considered a career in film acting until Robert De Niro’s performance in Taxi Driver inspired her. In just her second movie — The Deer Hunter — she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
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Although the late Scottish actor was the original James Bond, he never allowed himself to be typecast as a result of his success as the secret agent. He starred in a lot of action movies and often played the wise, older mentor to a younger hero. In 1989, he was voted People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive at the ripe age of 59, and in 2000 was knighted by Queen Elizabeth.
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Before the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise made him the wealthy, eccentric weirdo who walks around covered from head to toe in scarves and bracelets, Depp was more willing to give low budget, high concept films a try. But in fairness, The Ninth Gate and Chocolat didn’t put Lambos in his garage. Fun fact: Johnny’s film debut was in the original A Nightmare on Elm Street, in which he’s killed by Freddy Kruger himself!
Hanks is among the most popular and recognizable actors in Hollywood today, but it didn’t come easy. He got his start in the early 80s on the sitcom Bosom Buddies, playing a young executive who had to masquerade as a woman in order to live in an inexpensive all-female hotel. But after his performance in Big, he really blew up. In total, he has won two Oscars and seven Primetime Emmy Awards. His films have grossed almost $10 billion worldwide.
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We all love Betty White. But let’s be honest: unless you are also 99 years old, she has always seemed old. After all, her most prominent role has been as the ditzy but lovable Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls, a sitcom about four elderly ladies who live in a retirement community. And that was 35 years ago! Her career has spanned 82 years, a record that will never be broken unless we discover the secrets to immortality.
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Unlike most star actors who have their breakout role take place in their 20s, Ford didn’t start to make waves until he landed the role of Han Solo in the original Star Wars at the age of 35. Prior to that, he was struggling so much that he taught himself carpentry in order to support his young family. But the long wait was worth it. In spite of his relatively late start, he ranks 4th on the list of highest-grossing domestic box office stars of all time thanks to all those Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies.
There is no better example of a rag to riches story than the one Oprah has lived. She grew up poor in a broken household and had to overcome truly horrific experiences in order to become the legend she is today. She started off as a news anchor in Baltimore and eventually built a broadcasting empire based on the success of her talk show. She’s the wealthiest Black woman in the world, with an estimated net worth of $3.1 billion.
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There is no better example of a riches to riches story than the one Queen Elizabeth II has lived. She grew up in extravagant poshness is what we’re trying to say. She holds a pair of records: the oldest British Monarch at 94 years old and counting, and the longest-reigning monarch, with more than 69 years under her belt. Her own mother lived to be 101, so if Prince Charles was hoping to become King, it’s not going to happen anytime soon.
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