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Celebrities at the Start of Their Career vs. Now

Photo Credit: CBS / Getty Images and Newspix / Getty Images and Terry McGinnis / WireImage / Getty Images
Photo Credit: CBS / Getty Images and Newspix / Getty Images and Terry McGinnis / WireImage / Getty Images

Once a celebrity, always a celebrity. Well, at least for this group, anyway. Pictured at the start of their careers as well as in more recent years, these celebrities show just how much they have changed and also how little. After decades in the entertainment business, we think they look great!

Tom Cruise

Young Tom Cruise, old Tom Cruise.
(Photo Credit: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images and Dave Benett / Getty Images)

Pictured is Tom Cruise in 1980, as well as 2024. Cruise first began acting in the 1980s and got his breakout role playing the lead in the comedy film Risky Business (1983). He went on to become a major action star thanks to his role in Top Gun (1986) and has repeatedly returned to the big screen as Ethan Hunt in the Mission Impossible franchise since first appearing in 1996. He is now in his sixties.

Meryl Streep

Young Meryl Streep, old Meryl Streep.
(Photo Credit: Jack Mitchell / Getty Images and Frazer Harrison / Getty Images)

Pictured is Meryl Streep in 1976, as well as 2024. Streep began her acting career on stage rather than on screen, with her debut in 1975 as part of Trelawny of the Wells. Her film debut came two years later in the film Julia, and she has since been showered with well-deserved accolades, including 21 Academy Award nominations and three wins. She is now in her seventies.

Morgan Freeman

Young Morgan Freeman, old Morgan Freeman.
(Photo Credit: Presley Ann / Getty Images for TCM and CBS / Getty Images)

Pictured is Morgan Freeman in 1981, as well as 2024. Freeman’s career has spanned five decades, with his first appearances on screen being his role in the children’s television series The Electric Company in the 1970s. He went on to make it big on the silver screen, starring in films like The Shawshank Redemption (1994) and Million Dollar Baby (2004), and has lent his easily recognizable voice to several documentary projects. He is now in his eighties.

Nicole Kidman

Young Nicole Kidman, old Nicole Kidman.
(Photo Credit: Patrick Riviere / Getty Images and Kevin Mazur / MG24 / Getty Images for The Met Museum / Vogue)

Pictured is Nicole Kidman in 1983, as well as 2024. Kidman first began her acting career back in Australia, taking part in the 1983 film BMX Bandits. She then found success in Hollywood starring in the action drama Days of Thunder (1990), gaining even more recognition in films like Eyes Wide Shut (1999), Moulin Rouge! (2001), and The Hours (2002). She has won several awards, including an Academy Award, A BAFTA Award, two Primetime Emmys, and six Golden Globes. She is now in her fifties.

Tom Hanks

Young Tom Hanks, old Tom Hanks.
(Photo Credit: Ralph Dominguez / MediaPunch / Getty Images and Jon Kopaloff / Getty Images)

Pictured is Tom Hanks in 1980, as well as 2024. Hanks got his start in comedy, starring in films such as Splash (1984), Big (1988), and A League of Their Own (1992), but quickly showcased his versatility as an actor by taking on more serious roles, earning two back-to-back Academy Awards for his work in Philadelphia (1993) and Forrest Gump (1994). He also became well-known for his work in romantic comedies, starring alongside the rom-com queen Meg Ryan on multiple occasions. In his older age, he has begun to take on more directorial and production roles while also continuing to act on screen. He is now in his sixties.

George Clooney

Young George Clooney, old George Clooney.
(Photo Credit: Ron Tom / NBCU Photo Bank / Getty Images and Dia Dipasupil / Getty Images)

Pictured is George Clooney in 1985, as well as 2023. Clooney’s career began in television as he became a household name for his portrayal of Dr. Doug Ross on the medical drama ER from 1994 to 1999. However, in 1996, he made the shift to film, starring in From Dusk Till Dawn, quickly becoming one of the faces of the Ocean’s franchise from 2001 to 2007. Expanding his horizons, he began directing back in 2002 and has continued to take on projects since while also continuing to act. He is now in his sixties.

Leonardo DiCaprio

Young Leonardo DiCaprio, old Leonardo DiCaprio.
(Photo Credit: ABC Photo Archives / Disney General Entertainment Content / Getty Images and Kevin Mazur / Getty Images for Critics Choice Association)

Pictured in Leonardo DiCaprio in 1991, as well as in 2024. DiCaprio’s career began by starring in commercials as a young boy in the 1980s, but he eventually landed a recurring role on the television sitcom Parenthood. His move to film acting proved beneficial, as he received his first Academy Award nomination in 1993 for his role in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. He cemented himself in Hollywood history by playing Jack Dawson in Titanic (1997) and would star in many other critically acclaimed films throughout the years, notably collaborating with director Martin Scorsese on multiple films. He is now in his forties.

Jodie Foster

Young Jodie Foster, old Jodie Foster.
(Photo Credit: ABC Television / Getty Images and Stefanie Keenan / Getty Images for Hammer Museum)

Pictured is Jodie Foster in 1974, as well as 2024. Foster was a child model who started acting at a young age in various Disney films. In her teenage years, she starred in Taxi Driver (1976), for which she earned an Academy Award nomination for her portrayal of a teen prostitute. After attending Yale University, she returned to acting, playing mature roles in films like The Accused (1988) and The Silence of the Lambs (1991). In 1992, she founded her own production company and has taken on many directorial projects. She is now in her sixties.

Robert De Niro

Young Robert De Niro, old Robert De Niro.
(Photo Credit: Silver Screen Collection / Getty Images and Stefanie Keenan / WireImage / Getty Images)

Pictured is Robert De Niro in 1971, as well as 2024. After attending acting school, De Niro saw his first collaboration with director Martin Scorsese in the 1973 film Mean Streets. Following this, he repeatedly played the role of an Italian-American gangster in films like The Godfather Part II (1974) and Goodfellas (1990). Throughout his career, he has diversified his acting, starring in comedies, horror films, action films, and more. In 1989, he founded the film and television production company TriBeCa Productions, and in 2002 founded the Tribeca Film Festival. He is now in his eighties.

Halle Berry

Young Halle Berry, old Halle Berry.
(Photo Credit: Ron Galella, Ltd. / Ron Galella Collection / Getty Images and Greg Doherty / Getty Images for Lionsgate)

Pictured is Halle Berry in 1989, as well as 2024. Berry’s career actually began in modeling, where she entered beauty contests and became the first runner-up in the Miss USA pageant in 1986. Her breakthrough into film came in the rom-com Boomerang (1992), where she starred alongside Eddie Murphy. Following this, she starred in several other films, becoming one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood during the 2000s. She became the first woman of color and the only African-American woman to win the Academy Award for Best Actress in 2001 for her role in Monster’s Ball. She is now in her fifties.

Michelle Yeoh

Young Michelle Yeoh, old Michelle Yeoh.
(Photo Credit: Evan Agostini / Liaison / Getty Images and Cindy Ord / MG24 / Getty Images for The Met Museum / Vogue)

Pictured is Michelle Yeoh in 1996, as well as 2024. Yeoh’s career began in Hong Kong, as she gained popularity throughout the 1980s and 1990s performing her own stunts in action films. She rose to prominence in Hollywood after starring as a Bond Girl in the 1997 James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies. She went on to star in several more films, including Memoirs of a Geisha (2005) and Crazy Rich Asians (2018), and even joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the 2021 film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. In 2022, she won the Academy Award for Best Actress following her role in Everything Everywhere All at Once, making her the first Asian to win the category and the first Malaysian to win an Academy Award.

Harrison Ford

Young Harrison Ford, old Harrison Ford.
(Photo Credit: Archive Photos / Getty Images and MICHAEL TRAN / AFP / Getty Images)

Pictured is Harrison Ford in 1978, as well as 2024. Ford’s big break came in the 1973 film American Graffiti, which he followed with his portrayal of Han Solo in the Star Wars franchise. This skyrocketed him to fame but wouldn’t be his most recognizable role, as he later took on the titular role in the Indiana Jones franchise, which he reprised multiple times over the course of 42 years. He has starred in several other films spanning multiple genres, including dramas, comedies, and action films. He is now in his eighties.

Jane Fonda

Young Jane Fonda, old Jane Fonda.
(Photo Credit: Hulton Archive / Getty Images and Stefanie Keenan / Getty Images for Hammer Museum)

Pictured is Jane Fonda in 1960, as well as 2024. Fonda’s father, Henry Fonda, was a famous Hollywood actor himself, and she found herself following in his footsteps as early as 1960. She rose to fame throughout the decade, starring in Barbarella (1968) and They Shoot Horses, Don’t They (1969), the latter earning her her first Oscar nomination. She saw equal success and popularity in the 1970s, a time when she also became a prominent political activist denouncing the Vietnam War. In her later years, she starred in various other projects, including the Netflix series Grace and Frankie, which ran from 2015 to 2022. She is now in her eighties.

Sylvester Stallone

Young Sylvester Stallone, old Sylvester Stallone.
(Photo Credit: Ron Galella / Ron Galella Collection / Getty Images and Mireya Acierto / Getty Images for amfAR)

Pictured is Sylvester Stallone in 1976, as well as 2024. Stallone struggled to find work as an actor for years before he gained commercial success in 1976 following his portrayal of the titular character in the Rocky franchise, the first film of which he wrote himself. He immediately became known as a Hollywood tough guy, later taking on the role of John Rambo in the Rambo franchise in 1982, which he would reprise four more times over almost four decades. He has won numerous awards, including a Golden Globe, and has earned several Academy Award and BAFTA Award nominations. He is now in his seventies.

Jackie Chan

Young Jackie Chan, old Jackie Chan.
(Photo Credit: Central Press / Getty Images and VCG / VCG / Getty Images)

Pictured is Jackie Chan in 1980, as well as in 2024. As a child, Chan studied martial arts and acrobatics, skills that would help define him in his Hollywood career. While his acting career first took off in Hong Kong, it was his role in the martial arts comedy Rumble in the Bronx in 1995 that brought him success in North America. He continued to star in several comedy films, including the Rush Hour franchise, where he performed many of his own stunts. He has become one of the most recognizable film stars in the world and was awarded an honorary Academy Award for his “extraordinary achievements” in film. He is now in his seventies.

Sally Field

Young Sally Field, old Sally Field.
(Photo Credit: Jack Knox / Hulton Archive / Getty Images and Stefanie Keenan / VF24 / WireImage for Vanity Fair / Getty Images)

Pictured is Sally Field in 1965, as well as 2024. Field’s career took off early thanks to her roles in the television comedies Gidget (1965-1966) and The Flying Nun (1967-1970). She quickly switched gears, taking on a more serious role in the mystery drama television film Sybil (1976), and quickly moved on to Hollywood film. She rose to film prominence after starring in films like Smokey and the Bandit (1977), Norma Rae (1979), and Places in the Heart (1984), the latter two earning her the Academy Awards for Best Actress. She is now in her seventies.

Denzel Washington

Young Denzel Washington, old Denzel Washington.
(Photo Credit: Herb Ball / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal / Getty Images and Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images for CinemaCon)

Pictured is Denzel Washington in 1982, as well as 2023. Washington’s career began in theater, but it wasn’t long before he saw success on-screen. Rising to prominence in the NBC medical drama series St. Elsewhere (1982-1988), he eventually shifted to Hollywood film, where he would earn 10 Academy Award nominations. He won the awards for Glory (1989) and Training Day (2001), quickly becoming a prominent leading man in the industry. Over the years, he has returned to on-stage work, making his Broadway debut in Checkmates (1988), and in 2020, he was named the greatest actor of the 21st century by The New York Times. He is now in his sixties.

Julia Roberts

Young Julia Roberts, old Julia Roberts.
(Photo Credit: S. Granitz / WireImage / Getty Images and Phillip Faraone / Getty Images for Chopard)

Pictured is Julia Roberts in 1989, as well as 2024. Roberts hit the ground running in 1989 with Steel Magnolias, and the 1990s would see some of her rise as a rom-com star in the films Pretty Woman (1990), My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997), and Notting Hill (1999). She was the highest-paid actress in the world throughout most of the 1990s and early 2000s, receiving a whopping $20 million for her portrayal of the titular role in Erin Brockovich (2000), a role which would earn her the Academy Award for Best Actress. She is now in her fifties.

More from us: The Best Red Carpet Moments Throughout the 1960s

They all achieved great things in their careers, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Samantha Franco

Samantha Franco is a Freelance Content Writer who received her Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Guelph, and her Master of Arts degree in history from the University of Western Ontario. Her research focused on Victorian, medical, and epidemiological history with a focus on childhood diseases. Stepping away from her academic career, Samantha previously worked as a Heritage Researcher and now writes content for multiple sites covering an array of historical topics.

In her spare time, Samantha enjoys reading, knitting, and hanging out with her dog, Chowder!