Claim to fame: Chef, author, TV star, spy
Rough start: So, it's not exactly fair to claim that Julia Child accomplished nothing before finding fame. She did have a job in the OSS during WWII, which we really can't ignore; Anthony Bourdain never helped jumpstart the CIA. That said, we don't remember her for hunting Nazis, we remember her for bringing French cooking to America, a career path she didn't find until reaching the age when most people start thinking about retirement. Mastering the Art of French Cooking, co-written with two friends, hit bookshelves in 1961. Her television career began with The French Chef two years later. Her last television series ended in 1998... when she was 85.
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Joe Oliveto is a writer for Thrillist, and will keep this article in mind when family conversations turn to what he's doing with his life. Follow him at @JoeOliveto1.