Why ‘Moonstruck’ actor Danny Aiello was a hero to late bloomers

( CNN) Danny Aiello, the Brooklyn-born, Oscar-nominated character actor who died at 86 Thursday, was, among many things, a paradigm of the late bloomer and an inspiration for anybody who imagines their best selves are never far removed from discovery , no matter how old-fashioned they are.

Aiello, after all, expended most of his adult times after the Army handling packs and playing public address proclamations for Greyhound before becoming a union official. His first screen credit came in 1973, when he was 40, as one of Robert De Niro’s baseball teammates in “Bang the Drum Slowly.” More than 70 others would follow.