Timberlake has segued through a career that has earned him many millions of dollars, but he hasn't become stuck in any particular role, said Robert Thompson, founding director of Syracuse University's Blier Center for television and Popular Culture, in a Memphis Commercial Appeal report.
But Timberlake's success so far is no guarantee of what the future holds, Thompson said.
"You get all of the svelte, dangerous Elvis without any of the sweaty, sequined Elvis," Thompson said. "Imagine if Marilyn Monroe were alive and selling a diet plan on QVC or was now some sad punchline. That's the future Justin Timberlake has to navigate."
Timberlake turns 30 Monday and his career has taken him from small talent contests to worldwide fame, and he has been able to move through singing, acting and speaking roles with equal aplomb, the newspaper said.
Successful as he is, the former *NSNYC star, a Memphis native, hasn't done what 75 percent of the rest of Americans have done by the time they're 30 either. About 75 percent of Americans have married by 30, and 75 percent of them have children, the newspaper reported.
Timberlake hasn't married and has no children.
When he was 12, he joined the cast of "The All-New Mickey Mouse Club." When the show ended in 1994, he joined *NSYNC at age 14 and was its youngest member.
He earned about $40,000 in the year he turned 17, and two years later he earned $42 million, much from the sale of *NSNYC's sophomore album "No Strings Attached."
More recently, he has moved further into an acting career. He had a role in "The Social Network."