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Leonardo DiCaprio And Julia Roberts Top YouGov Poll That Reveals 60% of 2020’s Best Actors Became Famous in Their Middle Age

18 August 2020

REVEALED: How Long Did It Take 2020’s Best Actors to Become Famous?? 

AV Installations have analysed the careers of 2020’s favourite actors (according to YouGov) to find out exactly what it takes to achieve widespread fame and success as an actor.

Our study, which includes the likes of Meryl Streep, Sandra Bullock and Leonardo DiCaprio, reveals the age that famous actors landed their breakthrough role and the number of different roles they had to play before their breakthrough.

You can view the full results in the table below:

In today’s day and age, it’s too easy to compare your success and career to the people around you and forget that it’s all in the process. This study lays out the facts: that hard work and patience truly do pay off, even in industries as challenging as acting. Our study shows that an incredible 60% of actors achieved widespread fame in their middle age after playing 15 different acting roles! A great reminder that success doesn’t happen overnight.

Main findings:

  • On average, the age that most actors played their breakthrough role was 30 years old.

  • 60% of actors played their breakthrough role at the age of 30 years old or over.

  • Leonardo DiCaprio was the youngest actor to achieve fame after his 1994 role in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape at the age of 19 years old.

  • Morgan Freeman was the oldest actor to land his breakthrough part after his 1971 role in the children’s TV show The Electric Company at the age of 50 years old.

  • On average, actors had to play 15 different roles in TV, film or theatre before they landed their breakthrough role.

  • It took 40% of actors more than the average number of roles before they got their breakthrough.

  • Out of all the actors, Judi Dench played the fewest number of roles before landing a breakthrough part. She made her breakthrough in the stage production of Ophelia after just 1 other performance on stage.

  • Out of all the actors, Michael Caine played the greatest number of roles before landing his breakthrough part. He played 39 different parts before acting in what is considered to be his breakthrough role as Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead in the 1964 film Zulu.



In the study, we looked at the careers of the top 30 most popular actors of 2020 according to a YouGov poll.

To calculate the age actors landed their “breakthrough role” we looked at the age that actors landed the role that is considered to have “contributed significantly to the development of their career and beginning of critical recognition” (Wikipedia) within their backlog of performances in theatre, film or TV. 

When calculating the number of roles that actors had in their career before their breakthrough, we included any roles in theatre, film or TV productions actors played before their breakthrough.


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