Need Article Help! Celebs Who Changed Course Midlife?

My friend Liz is writing an article on female celebs who have achieved a “second act” in the past few years, but she’s running out of ideas. She’s come up with Hillary Clinton becoming a senator; Sharon Osborne becoming a reality-TV slut; and Caroline Kennedy becoming an author.

I drew a blank, but I assured her you folks would come to her rescue. Any ideas?

Glenda Jackson: actress to MP

Carrie Fisher: actress to author

Madonna: singer to producer

Rosie O’Donnell: Talk shot host to Lesbian Activist
Before the last few years: Jane Fonda: Actress Activist to Exercise Guru

Shirely Temple Black

Penny Marshall, from actor to director/producer.

Kate (nee “Al”) Bornstein also comes to mind, but I don’t think that’s quite what you’re thinking of. Al was definitely a celebrity within the community of Scientologists, and Kate is something of a minor celebrity today.

Audrey Hepburn later became a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF, although she still acted upon occassion.

The big obvious-Ronald Reagan shudder

Grace Kelly!

Actress to Princess!


You guys are the best.

What she needs is women over 40 who’ve accomplished these course changes in the past five years or so, which really narrows it down (I suggested Gloria Swanson, and just got a dirty look).

So far, we have a good half-dozen winners here! Liz will be delighted (at least, she better be!). I was thinking Whoopi Goldberg, too, with that whole Hollywood Squares thing.

Kelly–hahahahaha! Like we could get Kate Bornstein into a mainstream mag . . . Dream on.

I believe that Arianna Huffington, political pundit and columnist, switched from very Conservative views to very Liberal views within the last five years.

Also, I think that Gloria Steinem married within the last five years. She was never actually “against” marriage – but didn’t think until recent times that marriage was right for her. She is in her late sixties, I believe.

I guess Oprah Winfrey doesn’t count b/c she didn’t change in the last 5 years, but I remember when she made the major career change from actress to talk show host and now, she’s an institution unto herself.

Anne Heche, actress to fruitcake.

Cicciolina, actress (:dubious:) to politician.

Bridget Bardot?

actress to animal rights activist to xenophobe. Ou la la.

Mia Farrow - actress to full-time adoptive mom of special needs kids. Although I don’t know if that’s necessarily a change for her, I think it’s more of a shifting of focus.

How about Fred Whatisface? Gopher from the Love Boat, who went into politics. Come to think on it, so did Isaac, Your Bartender. And Sonny Bono - sometime musician/singer to politician. Probably a lot of former entertainment celebrities in politics.

Danny Bonaduce - kid actor to drug addict to successful disc jockey. (Dana Plato - kid actor to drug addict to corpse, but that probably isn’t what you’re looking for.)

Elizabeth Taylor - movie star to AIDS activist.

I will think of more.

Dammit - I tried to stop that before it went through. You said “WOMEN” as in female as in half my ideas can be ignored. :smack:


Eve, from the music biz aspect, country-rock songstress Emmylou Harris would be a wonderful example, and probably a great interview. (She’s all kinds of nice) As she passed into middle age, she recorded less, but served as the president of the Country Music Association. Now, with a popular renewal of interest in country music, she’s released a couple of new albums, and is as achingly beautiful as ever. She’s had her second act come around, and would probably have a lot of wonderful insight into what it’s like to be a over 50 gal in a good ol’ boy bidness.

Shirley Temple Black would be a must have for this article. I’d love to hear her views.

Jamie Lee Curtis: Actress to children’s book author

What about Sono Bono’s wife (mary?) ? From wife to politician.

(There are a couple of dead male politican’s wives who filled in for their husbands. One from …uh…Missouri?)

Glenda Jackson: Actress to MP in england ( I just love her in *Hopscotch * )

That’d be Jean Carnahan.

Barbara Mertz, a respected Egyptologist and academic. Well into middle age she started writing popular fiction under the names Barbara Michaels and Elizabeth Peters, and became very successful at it.

She’s pretty much abandoned the Michaels angle (supenatural/romance) but her Peters books (historical/mystery) make the NYT bestsellers list fairly regularly. Her most popular series features an indomitable Edwardian lady Egyptologist–Amelia Peabody–who’s a cross between Hester Stanhope and Indiana Jones.

Fascinating lady and a nifty midlife career change.