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As much as youth and beauty are celebrated, the world of celebrity gossip is slowly coming around to the fact that, surprise surprise, most of us continue to age past twenty-five. On the other end of the spectrum, some people achieved fame later in life, so the vast majority of the population doesn’t even have a frame of reference for what they may have looked like at a younger age.

So here is a collection of actors, actresses, musicians, and other assorted famous people at the age of forty, a perfect midway point in age. So scroll through, upvote your personal favorites, and be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below. 

#1

Keanu Reeves

Keanu Reeves

In 2004.

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Rigor Moreno
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10 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

That's in between Matrix and Constantine timeline... Upvote for Mr. Reeves. :D

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#3

Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton

In 1986.

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Olivia Lisbon
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10 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

“It costs a lot of money to look this cheap” - I love Dolly 😁

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As morbid as it sounds, a famous person reaching forty, or at least twenty-eight, is already a good start. There is a long list of artists who all passed away in one way or another at the age of twenty-seven. Famous examples from the 1960s and 1970 include, but are not limited to Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison. 

More recently, Amy Winehouse and Kurt Cobain all passed away at that age, cementing this concept in two new generations' minds. So regardless of how one feels about these celebrities, it is somewhat nice that they all made it past that age successfully. 

#4

Sandra Bullock

Sandra Bullock

In 2004.

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Nea
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10 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

She seems like a very pleasant person. Ofcourse I dont know her but I feel good vibes.

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#6

Jason Momoa

Jason Momoa

In 2020.

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Couragetcd
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10 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I would have thought at least a decade younger. If I put any thought to it. I hadn't.

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Despite its prevalence in culture, there are enough “famous people” who die before and, obviously, after 27 to debunk this “curse.” In fact, dying at 27 isn’t even statistically more likely, just that, perhaps, the stars who passed at that age were particularly famous at that point in time. The Conversation found that 56 is actually the most common age for musicians, which is still, sadly, well below normal life expectancy. 

#7

Harrison Ford

Harrison Ford

In 1982.

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#8

Barack Obama

Barack Obama

In 2002.

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VonBlade
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10 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

No matter which team you support, it's clear from any world leader that being in power takes a serious toll.

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#9

Angela Lansbury

Angela Lansbury

In 1965.

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Ellie Ahmed
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10 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Bow down. What an absolutely fabulous woman. Gone but never forgotten

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This is likely a result of the depression, isolation, and subsequent addiction that often comes with fame. It’s easy to see the fortune that comes with being a celebrity, but the difficulties are often hidden. Despite access to personal trainers, the best medicine in the world, and luxurious lifestyles, the normal markers of age are visible on some of the people listed here, a reminder that time doesn’t stop for anyone. 

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#12

Ryan Reynolds

Ryan Reynolds

In 2017.

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Of course, everyone dies and people die every single minute, if not second. These particular people were elevated as a result of their status as celebrities, meaning that a critical number of people would actually pause and remember their death. This, in turn, makes it “newsworthy,” so the death is reported, particularly in cases where the deceased was young, 27 for example. 

To a certain extent, celebrity culture has only been possible since the advent of mass media and, to a lesser extent, the internet. Local stars will always be prevalent, but if their work is not recorded and distributed, they will remain obscure. In the pre-modern world, only a select few individuals would achieve enough fame to be considered “well-known,” as we would think of it today. For the most part, these would be religious figures and rulers. 

#16

Anthony Hopkins At 40

Anthony Hopkins At 40

In 1977.

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Ellie Ahmed
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10 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Did anyone else scroll past this and think "oh, Alan Alda" before they checked the caption? He looks so much like "Hawkeye" Pierce in this photo, it's almost spooky

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#17

Helen Mirren

Helen Mirren

In 1985.

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Once the television entered most homes, people’s faces and voices became more recognizable, creating the first real celebrities. At some point, media executives realized that people were interested in famous individuals just because they were famous, creating an incentive to promote and maintain celebrity culture. 

#19

Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman

In 2021.

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The Deez
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10 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

OHMYGOSH! SHE LOOKS EXACTLY THE SAME!! These past *checks caption* two years have really been kind to her! :D

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#20

Al Pacino

Al Pacino

In 1980.

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Nea
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10 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This picture is particularly gorgeous and my personal favorite of him.

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#21

Maggie Smith

Maggie Smith

In 1974.

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The internet, and social media in particular, took this idea and blew it up to monstrous proportions. While in the past, music and film would be the main stairways to fame, now just a sufficient number of followers on the right platform can ensure stardom. While this might seem strange to some, it has allowed many people to, almost overnight, become self-made stars, circumventing the methods of the past. 

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#23

Macaulay Culkin

Macaulay Culkin

In 2020.

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#24

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

In 2001.

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Biljana Malesevic
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10 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

does she even change or age? She always looks the same, like a vampire

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In some cases, internet fame can lead to more traditional forms of fame. Justin Bieber is a prime example, a huge pop star that was discovered after posting clips of himself singing online. Stories like this do create an ocean of copy-cats, attempting to emulate stars like this, but the bottom line is that the internet has democratized fame. 

The increase in “celebrities” now means that this “category” of person starts to appear in more walks of life. YouTuber to a musician, reality star to a politician, these are all “normal” pathways in this day and age. Fame begets attention, and attention is a valuable commodity, as there is more competition than ever. 

#28

Jennifer Aniston

Jennifer Aniston

In 2009.

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Ellie Ahmed
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10 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

In her John Mayer phase - so many poor women had one around that time. If you've never read Jessica Simpson's book then I absolutely recommend getting it, or at least listening to the deep dive that the podcast 'You're Wrong About' did on it, to learn a little more about John Mayer. This man was an absolute leech on the spirit of every woman he dated.

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#29

Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey

In 2002.

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Olivia Lisbon
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10 months ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Jim Carrey has always given me ‘ugh’ vibes for some reason. It’s like his arrogance shines through when he’s being “funny”. And yet I loved him in the Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

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#30

Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian

In 2021.

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Note: this post originally had 50 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.

While some see this as a sign of all that is terrible in the world, it’s worth considering what the alternative might be. Unless you were extraordinarily lucky to be discovered and given a chance, you would likely remain obscure forever. Now musicians can self-produce and release, actors can film themselves, and the traditional pathways to fame and fortune are no longer closed by a few powerful individuals.