There are stars, and then there are legends. And typically, one becomes the other because of their staying power. The celebrities on this list are all in their 80s and have been in show business for decades, meaning that they know more about it than most of us ever will. But they didn't always have the long, impressive resumes they have now. Even legends have to start somewhere, so read on to see the biggest stars in this age group back when they were young, hungry, and ready for stardom.
Julie Andrews: Then
Julie Andrews was 21 years old and still eight years away from making her feature film debut in Disney's Mary Poppins when this photo was taken in 1956.
Julie Andrews: Now
Now 85, Andrews is a stage and screen legend. Her most recent credit was narrating the gossip of Lady Whistledown in the Netflix romance, Bridgerton.
Anthony Hopkins: Then
Seen above in 1970 at the age of 33, Anthony Hopkins had just recently made the leap from stage to screen in The Lion in Winter.
Anthony Hopkins: Now
This year, at age 83, Hopkins became the oldest Best Actor in history after winning the Oscar for The Father.
Ian McKellen: Then
Here's Ian McKellen in 1965 at the age of 26. This was the year that he became a member of the National Theatre Company and made his West End debut.
Ian McKellen: Now
At 82, McKellen has plenty of major movie roles under his belt between Gandalf in Lord of the Rings and Magneto in the X-Men movies. But he's never given up the stage. He's playing Hamlet in a new, age-blind production this year.
Patrick Stewart: Then
McKellen's close friend Patrick Stewart was 30 and starring in a production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona when this photo was taken in 1970.
Patrick Stewart: Now
Now 81, Stewart is back to playing his iconic Star Trek character in the series Picard.
Sophia Loren: Then
Italian actress Sophia Loren was 22 when she signed autographs for these adoring fans in 1956. This was around the time that the woman who was born Sofia Scicolone and was also credited as Sofia Lazzaro took on the stage name that would stick and bring her international fame.
Sophia Loren: Now
Now 86, Loren starred in the 2020 movie The Life Ahead and appeared in the 2021 documentary What Would Sophia Loren Do?, about a woman whose idolized her for most of her life.
George Takei: Then
George Takei was 29 when this portrait of him on set as his Star Trek character Hikaru Sulu was taken in 1966.
George Takei: Now
At 84, Takei continues to be an actor and an activist, primarily taking on voice work roles.
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Jane Fonda: Then
Jane Fonda turned 33 in 1970, which was the year before she won the Oscar for her movie Klute.
Jane Fonda: Now
Fonda is now 83 and has been starring in the Netflix comedy Grace and Frankie since 2015. She's also as vocal about the issues she cares about as ever, hosting "Fire Drill Fridays" to raise awareness about climate change and push lawmakers to act.
Morgan Freeman: Then
Morgan Freeman came to film stardom a little later in life than many of his contemporaries. In 1978, when this photo was taken, the 41-year-old was primarily known as a theater actor.
Morgan Freeman: Now
Now 84, Freeman has five nominations and won Oscar win under his belt.
Jack Nicholson: Then
At 23 in 1960, Jack Nicholson was working in the business but still almost a decade away from his breakout role in Easy Rider.
Jack Nicholson: Now
Like Freeman, Nicholson is also 84. Unlike Freeman, he's pretty much retired from acting. Aside from some TV guest spots, his most recent role was in 2010's How Do You Know.
Maggie Smith: Then
In 1960, when she was 26, Maggie Smith had seen most of her success on stage, but she'd also recently received a BAFTA nomination for her first film role, in Nowhere to Go.
Maggie Smith: Now
At 86, Smith has a staggering amount of roles under her belt. But to many, she'll be remembered most for either playing Professor McGonagall in the Harry Potter movies or the Dowager Countess in Downton Abbey.
Al Pacino: Then
This photo was snapped in 1974, when Al Pacino was 34 and already one of Hollywood's hottest actors thanks to roles in the first two Godfather movies and Serpico.
Al Pacino: Now
Now 81, Pacino will soon be seen in the second season of the Amazon series Hunters and the fashion biopic House of Gucci.
Rita Moreno: Then
Here's 19-year-old Rita Moreno in 1950, the year she appeared in her first three movies.
Rita Moreno: Now
Moreno may be 89 years old now, but she hasn't slowed down one bit. Already in 2021, the documentary Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It premiered, and later this year, she'll be seen in the remake of the movie that made her a star: West Side Story.