6 Successful Stars + 6 Successful Stories

 As Winston Churchill once said ‘Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm’  you may consider this as a saying but it is absolutely not. Here are 6 stars whose life changing success stories inspire you to chase your dream no matter what.
Bryan Cranston [ Emmy Award winner at 53]
Are you a faceless voice-over artist? A total stranger to his audience, who connects deeply only with his voice and settles for unaccredited roles in films? Then stay strong like Bryan Cranston. Your perseverance might help you win an Emmy when you’re 53!
The Struggle
Long before the hat, the goatee and a shaved head, Bryan was already a struggling actor. Despite hailing from a showbiz background, his family was apprehensive when he decided to enter the industry. He had a pretty late start in the industry. He began his career as a theatre artist and later appeared in advertisements, gradually paving his way into television. He went on to appear in close to 58 sitcoms as a character artist but nobody seemed to give this talented guy a chance. After a few years of tireless effort, he fetched a role in the sitcom Malcom in the middle where he played the role of an alternately befuddled father on the show. The superhit show got all his characters an Emmy. Well, everybody expect Bryan Cranston.
The Success
A couple of years after the success of the sitcom, Bryan Cranston’s performance caught the attention of the producers of ANC (Breaking Bad). Bryan was actually the third choice for this role. The role of a high school chemistry teacher, meth seller was initially offered to John Cusack and later to Matthew Broderick. His character was to initially die at the end of Season One, but luck was on his side this time. The show extended for 3 more seasons. He finally got his due as an actor, his performance was so well-appreciated that legendary actor Anthony Hopkins mentioned that Bryan’s performance as Walter White was the most-brilliant acting he had ever seen. Bryan went on to win the Emmy award for the next three consecutive years. Meanwhile, Bryan also starred in the 2012-blockbuster Argo, his performance won him a Screen Actor’s Guild Award for an outstanding performance. Yes, he won this when he was 56.
Amrish Puri [The Lic Agent-turned Actor at 41]
If you’re an aspiring actor, who’s failed several screen tests and settled for a monotonous 9-5 job, don’t give up yet. And if the casting agents have slammed you as the guy who can’t perform a romantic scene, then show them your bad side. We mean audition for the role of a baddie, you might just get selected for a Steven Spielberg film.
The Struggle
Amrish Puri had a burning appetite to become a hero, the constant desire to become a superstar in Hindi cinema. He started out his journey from Punjab, all the way to Mumbai to become an actor following the footsteps of his brother who was already established playing negative roles in movies. Amrish Puri had a high level of confidence that he would become a star overnight. But fate had other plans, Amrish Puri failed his screen test. He then decided to put his education to use and take up a job at LIC as an agent. But he did pursue his passion in acting. He joined Prithvi Theatre (founded by the legendary actor Prithviraj Kapoor) and began performing in plays.
The Success
His extraordinary acting skills eventually won him recognition. He got noticed by prominent producers who gave him his big break in Hindi cinema, but at the age of 40!
 ”Mogambo Kush huaa”
After appearing in several films, he gained phenomenal popularity playing the role of Mogambo in Mr.India. His massive screen presence and distinct voice made him a clear cut winner amongst the villains.
 ”Drop them Dr. Jones! They will be found! You won’t!”
He also treated the international audience to his spectacular performance as Mola Ram in Steven Speilberg’s Indiana Jones and Temple of Doom. He then went on to play the quintessential angry Indian father in several films. His role fetched him several awards, the last one being in 2005 for the best villain at the age of 70. He passed away at the age of 72.
Stan Lee [Creator of Spider-man, at the age of 50]
It isn’t a typical rags-to-riches story for Stan Lee. Like any 17 year-old High School graduate in the 1940s, Stan Lee was eager to work. With the help of his uncle, he joined a comic book company as an inkwell filler (yes, those days new recruits filled ink pots for the artists, thankfully technology took over the world now). Within 2 years of working in the company, Stan Lee became the editor of the magazine at the age of 19.
The Struggle
An Ink filler pot
Even though Stan Lee was treated as a mere apprentice in the company, he showed remarkable interest in creating stories for the comic book. He was assigned to create comic stories and teamed up with artist Jack Kirby to create one-of-a-kind comic strips. His revolutionary ideas and storylines engaged the readers.
He credited everybody in his stories, right from the artist to the inker. Everything went well for Stan Lee until he felt his creativity was stagnated, he felt he adhered too much to the company’s policy, and hence he decided to switch careers.
The Success
On the insistence of his wife, Lee decided to give a shot in the same field again. He embarked on an effort to create new superheroes. These superheroes were superhumans, flawed with bad tempers, getting physically ill and even led a normal life impressing their girlfriends. His attempt was so successful that he became a phenomenal sensation. Lee went on to create Spider-man at the age of 40! The other well-known superheroes he created were The X-Men, Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, the Avengers, and Iron Man. His astounding success made him a household name.
Lee founded POW! Entertainment at the age of 79, the company collaborates with other media firms which empower budding talents, partner for comic book conventions and even produce shows. Stan Lee also appears in shows and films based on the comic characters he created. In 2013 (Stan Lee was 90), it was announced that he would write a book for Disney Publishing.
Helen Mirren [From being a theatre artist to becoming Dame Helen, Oscar winner at 61]
It’s not that Helen Mirren went through a miserable life, broke and without a career. Helen had a very successful career, she was an established theatre artist of the Royal Shakespeare, her experience as a theatre artist spanned over 15 years. She, however, never became a popular name outside the theatre group until she began appearing in films at the age of 45.
The Struggle 
Helen Mirren’s career as a theatre artist wasn’t really a struggle. She was already an established theatre artist. Her performance was noticed by a producer who later cast her in films. These films never got her the fame she deserved in movies. She really didn’t have a chance to display her acting skills in these films.
The Success
Mirren got her big break at the age of 46 in the television series Prime Suspects, which aired from 1991-2006. Mirren played the role of a tough detective who fought to survive in a male-dominated field, her stellar performance won her three BAFTAs and made her a household name. She extended her successful career into films in the 21st century. In 2003, Helen was appointed as Dame (honoring acclaimed veterans was a part of the traditional Queen’s Birthday Honors each year).
Her most-notable performance was reprising the role of Queen Elizabeth II in the movie Queen in the year 2006. The film snagged her an Oscar and she continued to show her versatility in several other roles. While most actresses her age struggle to find roles, Mirren is one actress who is at the pinnacle in her 60s. She endorses a rare quality of skillful acting with middle-aged sensual appeal, perhaps this is what makes her strong at 67.
Ang Lee [From a stay at home dad to an Academy Award winner at 47]
In his early adulthood, Ang Lee was a soft-spoken, docile and always in a shell. He refused to have a social life and was often described as an introvert. Nobody ever imagined this guy to break out of his shell in the mid-40s and produce a distinct unconventional cinema to the world.
The Struggle
Ang Lee took a long time to edge his way into education and ultimately graduated from NYU film school and was known as the classmate of the more popular director, Spike Lee. He was unemployed for 5 years after graduation and became a stay at home dad. He took care of his kids, along with other household chores while his wife, a microbiologist, was the sole bread-winner.
This picture of a stay at home dad is only for representation purpose. The person in this picture is not Ang lee.
It was in this lull period that Lee wrote some of the stories which he later made into films. Lee participated in a competition to submit the story that he had written, he was awarded the first place. It was then that a manager of a major studio had encouraged Lee to convert the story into a feature film.
The Success
It took 3 films to establish Lee as a successful filmmaker in Hollywood. In 2005, Ang Lee went on to make the cult-classic Brokeback Mountain which focused on the unexplored topic of homosexuality. It went on to win the most-acclaimed film of 2005 fetching more than 71 awards including Best Director at the Academy Awards. Lee was the first director of Asian Origin to ever receive such an honor. The director then went on to win the Academy Award for his more recent film, Life of Pi.
Vikram [From being a voice-over artist to a National Award-winning hero at 37]
If you are an ardent fan of Indian films then it’s hard not to idolize a tremendous actor like Vikram aka Kenny. Before his big break in Tamil cinema, Vikram worked in nearly 20 films as a character artist and a few films as the lead. It was at age 33 that Vikram became a full-fledged hero in Tamil cinema.
The Struggle
Vikram began his career by modeling in advertisements, and was also an active member of a theatre group. It was during this time that a director spotted him and launched him in his first Tamil film. Even though the film sank at the Box Office, it paved way for more offers for Vikram in other languages. He may have been unsuccessful as a lead hero, however, he predominantly began appearing in character roles in Malayalam and Telugu Cinema. He got a stellar opportunity to act in Mani Rathnam’s Bombay but declined it for offers in Malayalam cinema. He was also cast in multi-starrer Pudiya Manargal in 1994 with music by A.R. Rahman but the film bombed miserably at the Box Office. Although his appearance on screen wasn’t much appreciated, he tasted success as a voice-over artist, he dubbed for several actors, including Ajith, Prabhu Deva in Minsara Kanavu and Abbas in Kandukonden Kondukonden.
The Success
Opportunity knocked on Vikram’s door in 1998 when the actor appeared in Sethu. The film was rejected by several theatre owners because of its tragic climax. But gradually gained attention through its word of mouth publicity and ran for over 100 days. In an industry where lead actors (who were in their 20s) hailing from a film background ruled, Vikram at 35 became a sensation due to his versatility. He went on to star in several films after that, the best one of his career being the role of a grave-digger in Pitamagan for which he won the National Award that year. His distinct style, tireless dedication and effortless acting won him several fans worldwide. He was recently awarded a doctorate by the people’s university of Milan.
If you think your talent will lead you to a self aggrandizing standard of greatness, you are probably living in a fantasy bubble. A lot can be said about talent and hardwork. Much more can be said about determination and perseverance. Your ambition and burning desire to achieve your goal can only be obtained through undying persistence and determination, because these are the only two omnipotent factors. 

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