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50 Years on the Job and Still Going Strong

These icons prove that career longevity can exist

The Rolling Stones

Rock legends

On the job since: 1962

Big break: Signing with Decca Records in 1963 and cutting first 45, "Come On"/"I Want to Be Loved."

Career stats: The "world's greatest rock 'n' roll band" has cut 92 singles, 29 studio albums and 10 live albums.

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Image

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Supreme Court Justice

On the job since: 1959

First big job: She was the second female faculty member of Rutgers University Law School, 1963.

Quote: "My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your own person, be independent."

Terry Ashe/Time & Life Images/Getty Images

Plácido Domingo


On the job since: 1957

Big break: Joining the Mexico National Opera.

Known for: One of the Three Tenors, with Luciano Pavarotti and Jose Carreras.

Quote: "I won't deprive myself of singing opera as long as my voice follows."

Ira Nowinski/Corbis

Queen Elizabeth II


On the job since: 1952

The beginning: Her uncle King Edward VIII abdicated the throne in 1936, making her father King George VI and herself next in line.

Crowning moment: She became a queen at age 25, with the first televised coronation.

Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Warren Buffett

Business magnate

On the job since: 1943

Little-known fact: At age 13, he delivered newspapers and sold his own horseracing tip sheet, claiming his bike as a $35 tax deduction.

You know him best by: The world's third-richest man title. He also plans to leave his $44 billion to charity.

Ben Baker/Redux

Maya Angelou

Author, poet

Writing since: 1958, when she joined the Harlem Writers Guild.

You know her best by: Her book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and her poem "Still I Rise." 

Also of Interest: Maya Angelou's Center for Women’s Health and Wellness


Itzhak Perlman


On the job since: 1958

Quotable: "There are people who are uncanny, who are finished products at a young age. I wasn't, thank God."

David Redfern/Getty Images

Vin Scully

Dodgers baseball broadcaster

On the job since: 1950

He made it when: At 25 he became the youngest person ever to broadcast the World Series, 1953.

Quotable: "It's a mere moment in a man's life between the All-Star Game and an old-timer's game."

Chris Williams/Icon SMI/Corbis

Barbara Walters

Television journalist

On the job since: 1961

She made it when: She traveled with first lady Jacqueline Kennedy to India and Pakistan for NBC's Today Show, 1961.

Quotable: "Most attractive males talk to most attractive women as if they were Rotarians comparing sales percentages in Des Moines."

Douglas Kirkland/Corbis

Betty White

Actress and AARP ambassador

On the job since: 1949

She made it when: She was nominated for the 1951 Emmy for best actress, along with Judith Anderson, Gertrude Berg, Imogene Coca and Helen Hayes.

Quotable: "I can't get over that at this age I don't feel this age. I'm not trying to be any younger. I'm not lying about my age. If I were lying about my age, I would say I was 89."

Also of Interest: Betty White reflects on new book, My Life at the Zoo


Stephen Hawking


On the job since: 1962

He made it when: He became a member of the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge University, 1968

Quotable: "I don't have much positive to say about motor neuron disease. But it taught me not to pity myself, because others were worse off, and to get on with what I still could do. I'm happier now than before I developed the condition."

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Jacques Pépin


On the job since: 1949

He made it when: In his 20s he became personal chef to French President Charles de Gaulle.

Quotable: "I was a little jealous. This was the type of book I should have written." — on reading Julia Child's not-yet-published Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Steven Senne/AP Photo

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In 1962, six young Brits formed a band that has brought us infinite satisfaction for five decades. As the Stones first started rollin', a handful of others were already on paths that would prove as illustrious — and long-lived. We present our golden-career favorites.

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