Ang Lee and Helen Mirren, late bloomers

Malcolm Gladwell notes: “Genius, in the popular conception, is inextricably tied up with precocity.”

But there are many examples of people who created notable work later in life.

Helen Mirren didn’t find mainstream success until her mid-forties with her breakout role in “Prime Suspect.”

Ang Lee was awarded his first Oscar at the age of 51 for “Brokeback Mountain.”

Madeleine L’Engle wrote A Wrinkle In Time at age 42

Ian Fleming wrote Casino Royale at 44 and Bram Stoker wrote Dracula at 50.

Painter Robert Genn notes there are a number of artists who are late bloomers.

In his article “Early and late bloomers,” he writes that “Cezanne did not preconceive his work, but rather let the painting-in-progress tell him what it needed.

“He took a long time, was always dissatisfied, and bloomed late. He’s the third most illustrated French artist of the Twentieth Century. Of all his reproduced and celebrated images, only 2% are from his twenties.”

What might explain late-blooming for creative people?

In her definition of visual spatial learners, Dr. Linda Silverman, who pioneered the concept, includes the quality of being a late bloomer, as well as “creatively, mechanically, emotionally, or technologically gifted.”


Read much more – and hear audio interview with Malcolm Gladwell – in my article Late Bloomers.