Second Acts: 12 People Who Didn’t Get Rich Until Their Second Careers

Jack Cover

Jack Cover started his career as a nuclear physicist, working at NASA before moving on to a much more lucrative second career. He wanted to fill a need that he saw in the modern police force: a weapon that could apprehend and incapacitate someone without killing them, or putting an officer in harm’s way. Guns, he thought, were just too dangerous and volatile.

At 50 years old, he started Taser Systems, Inc. In 1974 he was granted the exclusive rights to the patent, and a few years later, once he perfected his design, he sold it to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Junglecat / Own Work

Junglecat / Own Work

Grandma Moses

Folk artist Grandma Moses started her life as a farmer’s daughter — she was one of ten children born to Russell King Robertson and his wife in 1860 in upstate New York. From an early age, she was adept at farm chores like milking, mending, and raising chickens. She often helped her brothers out at the local flax mill before she was married to a farmer named Thomas Moses. Together, they moved down to Shenandoah Valley and established a farm.

One of her favorite hobbies was embroidery, and she did it every day until her hands became too arthritic to thread or hold the needle. After that, one of her sisters suggested that she take up painting. She was lucky to live long enough to see her paintings become famous, sought-after works of art. One canvas that she originally sold for $3 brought in over $10,000 at auction.

Ronald Reagan

The 40th President of the United States originally started his life as an actor. Although most official White House documents try and gloss over that part of his life and focus on his later political accomplishments, Ronald Reagan was a Hollywood actor for over 20 years.

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It wasn’t until he became the president of the Screen Actors Guild and was forced to confront the rising issue of Communism in America that he entered politics. He ran for Governor of California and won by a landslide in 1966. After two successful terms as Governor, he ran for the Presidency and won in 1980.

Public Domain

Public Domain

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