Celebrity longevity cannot be taken for granted. Show business is a precarious profession and success is notoriously elusive. But actors love it. They thrive on the thrill of clinching the perfect part and living a creative lifestyle where they can express themselves and bring joy and emotion to audiences. There’s nothing like it. Of course, if fortune and luck truly befall an actor, the work comes with gratuitous pay. Some actors continue on their whole lives landing one role after another well into their twilight years. You’ll love reading about the wonderful successes of so many Hollywood legends. Take a look at what they’re up to now.
Bob Newhart (born 1929)
Bob Newhart is a Chicago-area actor and stand-up comedian known for his deadpan delivery. He hit the scene with a series of monologues that he recorded with Warner Bros., called ‘The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart’. The record shot to No. 1 on the pop charts. He released ten additional comedy albums. At 89 years old, Newhart’s 60-plus year career is as active as ever, still performing stand-up comedy with dates lined up. Also, he’s signed another season with ‘The Big Bang Theory’.
Working as an accountant when he was 30 years old, hating every minute of it, he found an unlikely break. He and a co-worker began recording absurd telephone conversations and he used the tape to audition as a comedian. His success as a stand-up led to the eponymous variety show on NBC, ‘The Bob Newhart Show’. The 1961 show won a Primetime Emmy Award and a nomination for a Peabody. In 1972, the comedy sitcom ‘The Bob Newhart Show’ hit the airwaves to rave reviews. The show ran for six seasons.
Loni Anderson (born 1945)
On ‘WKRP in Cincinnati’, Loni Anderson played the hilarious Jennifer Marlow on that sitcom series that ran from 1978 to 1982. She won three Golden Globe Awards and two Emmy nominations for the role. She was offered the breakout part after the producers saw a poster of her posing in a red swimsuit. She won plenty of beauty contests, but she didn’t start working in showbiz until after college. She was married, divorced, and with a daughter to take care of before she was 21.
Born brunette, it may be a surprise that Anderson went blonde in 1975. It helped her snag small sexpot roles in TV shows like ‘Three’s Company’, ‘S.W.A.T.’ and ‘The Bob Newhart Show’. This led straight into the WKRP role which she’s still promoting today. In 2018, at 73, she supported the classic TV network, MeTV. She made huge waves with her tumultuous marriage to Burt Reynolds, which, for twenty-two years, was a smoldering mess, fueled by resentment and nasty press. It was one of the ugliest divorces ever. In 2015, Reynolds finally put the divorce to rest with a $154,520 check.
Jerry Lee Lewis (born 1935)
Legendary singer-songwriter Jerry Lee Lewis pioneered rock and roll and played a mean piano. With tunes like 'Great Balls of Fire', Lewis became a household name and scored worldwide fame for his songs. His career was burning hot, until his third marriage, to his 13-year-old cousin, doused the flames. It was a public relations nightmare, with fans storming the stage in anger. The marriage lasted 13 years, with one son who drowned at age three.
But, in 1968 Lewis made a comeback as a country singer. It didn’t help his serious drinking problem, however, which almost killed him with health issues, like a ruptured stomach. At 83, Lewis is yet recording. His last album was released in 2014, called 'Rock and Roll Time'. And, in 2010 he released 'Mean Old Man'. Earlier this year he suffered a minor stroke. Unfazed, he’s expected to fully recover.
Beverly Cleary (born 1916)
Beverly Cleary is not a famous movie star, but, as an American author, her character Ramona Quimby is. Loved by kids for many generations, 'Ramona and Beezus' is a film adaptation of the character that fills so many of Cleary’s books. The movie adaptation came out in 2010. The author was born 103 years ago in a small Oregon town and moved to Portland when she was six. As a child, she struggled with reading, but when a librarian took her in and directed her toward books she liked, she embarked on a life as a lover of books.
She aspired to be, and became, a children’s librarian. It was then she began to write stories that resonate better with average kids who aren’t perfect and are sometimes mischievous. Her children’s books won many awards, among them the prestigious Newbery Medal and the National Book Award. Amazingly, she celebrated her 103rd birthday on April 12. A worldwide celebration attended her 100th birthday.
Richard Dean Anderson (born 1950)
In the 1980s MacGyver was, pretty much, the coolest guy on television. A government spy and a genius of all trades, the TV character became a household name. He represented the ultimate life hack who could improvise a tool instantaneously to extricate himself from any snarled predicament. Richard Dean Anderson played the original MacGyver. The TV series of the same name hit the airwaves on ABC in 1985 and ran until 1992. A reboot of the popular show premiered on CBS in 2016.
Anderson began his career on the daytime soap 'General Hospital', and starred on the show from 1976 to 1981. In other work, he joined the Stargate franchise and played on 'Stargate SG-1', 'Stargate Atlantis', and 'Stargate: Continuum'. Other notable movies of his are 'Through the Eyes of a Killer' and 'Firehouse'. His charity work has focused on environmental causes like clean water. He’s also been an active supporter of Challengers Boys and Girls Club. He received an award for his help with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Betty White (born 1922)
As one of Hollywood’s most beloved stars, Betty White has charmed audiences her whole life. She is like the girl next door who’s also a sharp-witted comedian. Her signature sweet and innocent demeanor, soft-spoken and demure, is inevitably sliced by a laser-tongue remark that leaves people in hysterics. With a career spanning over 80 years, White has been recognized by many awards, but she is also part of television history. In the early 1950s, she became one of the first women producers. It’s no surprise, then, that she and Lucille Ball were good buddies.
White’s career went well into her older years. The smash-hit Golden Girls became the most successful show she starred in. She didn’t land that gig until she was 63. Known for saying, “Retirement is not in my vocabulary,” she sure lives up to it. In 2010, when she hosted Saturday Night Live, she brought in the best ratings of the season. And she did this as the oldest person ever to host SNL. She was 88. Besides winning eight Emmys, three SAGs and the Lifetime Achievement Award, Betty White is an animal and pet lover. As an animal enthusiast and advocate, she works with several animal organizations.
Sir Sean Connery (born 1930)
Sean Connery is a proud Scot who came from very humble beginnings. His mom was a cleaning woman and his dad was a lorry driver from Edinburgh, Scotland. His crib was a bottom drawer. They lived in a neighborhood that literally stunk. Local manufacturers polluted it so badly it was known as the “street of a thousand smells”, none of them pleasant. Connery quit school to get a job as a milkman when he was 12. By age 23, he was set to become a professional footballer or an actor. Obviously, he chose the latter.
After a handful of minor roles on British TV and film, Connery scored his big break and became Bond. James Bond. His James Bond movies grossed $2.2 billion. Eventually, however, he grew tired of the role and went on to play in other blockbuster movies such as 'The Untouchables', in which he won an Oscar, 'Indiana Jones' and 'The Hunt for Red October'. In 2000, he was knighted for Services to Film Drama, becoming Sir Sean Connery. With a career spanning from 1954 to 2012, he called it quits because, according to Connery, retirement is “just too much damned fun.” Connery has complained that good filmmaking is a thing of the past and he hasn’t found anything worthy of a commitment.
Ann-Margret (born 1941)
Ann-Margret was born Ann-Margret Olsson in a small town in Sweden, but like Cher or Sting, she goes by only one name. Her family migrated to the U.S. in 1946, and on the day they arrived, her father took her to Radio City Music Hall. It made a lasting impression, and she developed a strong interest in theatre and performed all through her teens. However, it was George Burns who discovered her talent and introduced her to show business. She became an iconic American sex symbol after her role in Viva Las Vegas. She also had a hot film relationship with Elvis Presley which got steamy off-camera, too.
Elvis and Ann-Margret tumbled wildly in love, but the affair didn’t bode well for their press presence and it unraveled after two years. She was nominated for an Academy Award for the films 'Carnal Knowledge' and 'Tommy'. During the 1960s, Ann-Margret modeled for Triumph bikes and rode one in the 1966 movie, 'The Swinger'. She continues to work to this day, featuring in a 2007 episode of Madmen, a guest star on the film 'The Kominsky Method', and a regular role on Happy!
Richard Simmons (born 1948)
Richard Simmons was a huge 1980s celeb born to show business parents in New Orleans, Louisiana. But he wasn’t your ordinary actor or movie star; he became a health nut and owner of a fitness club after he managed to go from an obese 268-pound teen to dropping an astounding 123 pounds. By the 1960s, he launched a career as a motivational fitness advisor with his high-energy talk and exercise show, The Richard Simmons Show. He was one of the pioneers of group exercise on TV, long before yoga was a thing.
With the fitness business saturated, Simmons’ approach gradually went out of style. He’s spent recent years in somewhat of seclusion from public life. Rumors surfaced that he was being held hostage by his housekeeper, so he appeared on the 'Today Show' to dispel the rumors. In November 2016, his fitness gym closed. He’s now 70 years old and keeping a low profile.
Mel Brooks (born 1926)
This man is a comedic genius. He’s also an American filmmaker, an actor, a writer, and a composer. He created 'Young Frankenstein' in 1974, a cinematic classic that parodied the eponymous monster and may well be the funniest movie ever made. He’s also responsible for hilarious films like 'The Producers' (1967), 'Blazing Saddles' (1974), 'History of the World, Part I' (1981), 'Spaceballs' (1987) and 'Robin Hood: Men in Tights' (1993). And continues to work into his 90s!
In 2001, he achieved EGOT recognition, becoming part of a very short and exclusive list, having won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony Award. Mel Brooks, whose birth name is Melvin Kaminsky, grew up in New York to a Jewish family. His background included being drafted and serving in World War II, prompting him to say, “I’m grateful to the army. Grateful to Hitler too. The Producers made me the first Jew in history to make a buck out of Hitler.”
Eva Marie Saint (born 1924)
Born on the fourth of July in Newark, New Jersey, Eva Marie Saint’s career in acting spans over 70 years. She is best known for starring as Edie Doyle in 'On the Waterfront'. In the 1954 movie, she starred opposite Marlon Brando, becoming one of the most famous female-leads ever. It was her film debut and she walked away with an Academy Award. At 93, Saint has worked as an actress for most of her life. She slowed down in recent years, but in 2012 she worked on the movie 'Winter’s Tale'. She and producer and director Jeffrey Hayden married in 1951 and shared 65 lovely years together.
She’s also known for starring in Hitchcock’s 1959 thriller, 'North by Northwest'. She received a Golden Globe for her performance in American drama 'Hatful of Rain', and then, in 1964, she starred in a movie that was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, 'The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!'. Saint’s long career started in TV at NBC with a year internship. Beginning to appear in NBC TV shows, she worked her way up and won an Emmy for Best Actress in 'The Philco Television Playhouse'. Soon film roles began pouring in. The rest, as they say, is history.
Norman Lloyd (born 1914)
Meet the film industry’s oldest actor. At age 104, Norman Lloyd has been an actor, producer, and director for more than nine decades! At 100 years of age, he was filming the 2015 comedy 'Trainwreck'. Lloyd’s big break came in 1942 when he played a convincing Nazi spy in Hitchcock’s 'Saboteur'. Hitchcock would become good friends with Lloyd and made sure he worked as a director and producer in several movies to protect him from the Blacklist era.
When things settled down in the 1970s and 1980s, he landed roles in TV shows 'Quincy', 'Murder, She Wrote' and 'Kojak'. In the 1982 medical drama 'St. Elsewhere', he played Dr. Auschlander and connected with a whole new generation of television viewers. With 75 years of marriage to Peggy Lloyd, he has one of the longest marriages in Hollywood. They met on stage co-starring in a play.
Sidney Poitier (born 1927)
Sidney Poitier grew up in abject poverty on a tomato farm in the Bahamas. By age 15, he found himself homeless in New York City. After a short stint with the Army, he came back to N.Y. and, between menial jobs and living out of a bus stop terminal, he stumbled across an audition for the American Negro Theatre. He was rejected because of his Caribbean accent. He worked on his American accent for six months and auditioned once more. This time he made the cast. Roles and accolades came pouring in. In 1964, he made history as the first black person to win an Academy Award for Best Actor. He won for his role in 'Lilies of the Field'.
When he arrived in America, he was shocked by the rampant racism. Growing up on the islands without whites, it was virtually unknown to him. After his Oscar success, he began to work on films that dealt with race. He was a box-office star that year with movies like 'Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner'. More movie roles came in, and he found himself in the classic comedy 'Stir Crazy' with comedians Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder. At 92, his massive success is an American Dream, and then some. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1974. And, in 2016, he won the BAFTA Fellowship for film achievement. He served as Japan’s ambassador to the Bahamas, as well as the ambassador to the Bahamas for UNESCO.
Bob Barker (born 1923)
Bob Barker is even crazier about animals than Betty White. He started protesting fur coats in the 1980s and, since then, he fully embarked on animal charity by dropping huge sums on organizations like PETA, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Animal Defenders International. “I was fortunate enough to have a job that paid very well and I’m using that money, now, for animals,” said Barker, adding emphatically, “I’m going to continue doing it and die broke.” With a net worth of $70 million at 95 years of age, it’s going to take some trying.
Bob Barker is best known for hosting 'The Price is Right', a role which he did for 35 years and won 19 daytime Emmys for! Barker is the longest-running host of a network show in television history. Barker retired as one of the nation’s most popular game show hosts ever in 2007, at the age of 83. Every show was closed with these words: “Help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed or neutered.” Barker also hosted the Miss Universe and Miss USA Beauty Pageant, but resigned after the pageants refused to remove fur coats as awards. Today he lives at home with his pet bunny.
Carl Reiner (born 1922)
Carl Reiner has had a phenomenal career that has spanned seven decades. The comedian, actor, director, screenwriter, and publisher is best known for his favorite project, 'The Dick Van Dyke Show'. He also wrote some of Steve Martin’s funniest movies, including 'The Jerk'. Reiner says he has one good friend, and that is comedian Mel Brooks. “He comes over every night,” he said. He cherishes the friendship. “If he doesn’t come over, I don’t know what to do with myself.” The two teamed up as a comedy duo on 'The Steve Allen Show' in 1960 and '2000 Year Old Man'.
His other closest friend was his sweetheart, Estelle Lebost, who he married in 1943. She was the love of his life until she died in 2008. A Hollywood couple anomaly. Born in the Bronx to Jewish immigrants, he grew up watching his favorite comedians in movies, such as Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, and the Marx Brothers. Those funny-men became his role models. As it turned out, he got his training as an actor, director, and entertainer in the military while serving WWII by entertaining the troops. His personal goal is to live until 2020 to vote the President out.
Richard Dreyfuss (born 1947)
Brooklyn-born and Queens-raised, Richard Dreyfuss was brought up by a Jewish family with a father who was an attorney and a mother who was a peace activist. His father wasn’t fond of New York, so they moved to Europe and then to Los Angeles. Dreyfuss found himself in the Hollywood area, attending Beverly Hills High School. He began acting at the Temple in Beverly Hills and soon picked up small acting parts.
Richard Dreyfuss has had an astounding career in the film industry. He debuted in 'The Graduate', with a very small, one-line role. After that came a list of blockbuster hits. He scored a role in 'American Graffiti', Steven Spielberg’s 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' and 'Jaws'. A drug habit veered him off course for a few years, but he came back strong with memorable roles in 'Down and Out in Beverly Hills', 'Stand by Me', 'What About Bob?' and the famous 'Mr. Holland’s Opus'. At 71 he is still working. His latest project is 'The Last Laugh', starring Chevy Chase and Andie MacDowell.
Debbie Harry (born 1945)
Better known as Blondie, Debbie Harry shot to fame after the band of the same name came together. Straight out of the New York punk scene, Debbie Harry and all-girl band, the Stilettos, were rocking the stage in a downtown club in 1974 when Chris Stein discovered her. Together they formed Blondie. As lovers, bandmates and wonderful friends, they created a unique style of music that jolted the scene. Selling over 40 million albums, tunes 'Atomic', 'Heart of Glass' and 'Call Me' continue to inspire generations. Her song 'Rapture' is considered the first rap song to hit number one on the charts.
Debbie Harry’s immense popularity opened up the floodgate for women in rock music. Also, she is memorialized by Andy Warhol through his acrylic and silkscreen ink portraits of her, which are considered one of Warhol’s most accomplished celebrity portraits. Today, one print is worth over $6 million. Blondie split up in 1981, were inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006 and got back together in 1997. They released their eleventh studio album in May of 2017. Harry turned 74 on July 1, 2019.
Terry Moore (born 1929)
As one of the last surviving actresses from Hollywood’s glamorous golden age, when she was close friends with Marilyn Monroe and James Dean, Terry Moore continues to make appearances in film and television. Born Helen Luella Koford, she took her stage name in 1948. In the 1950s she rose to stardom. She won an Academy Award nomination for 'Come Back, Little Sheba' starring opposite Burt Lancaster. She's acted in 'Mighty Joe Young', 'Batman' (1960), and most recently, in 'Silent Life', a film that celebrates Rudolph Valentino and old Hollywood.
Moore’s celebrity goes back many years. She posed fully exposed for Playboy magazine in 1984 when she was 55. She’s also known for her many marriages. The most controversial was her relationship with the venerable (and super-wealthy) Howard Hughes. They married out at sea in 1949, however, Hughes destroyed the ship’s log and the entire record of the matrimony. They officially separated in 1956.
Chuck Yeager (born 1923)
Born in Myra, West Virginia, he was the first man to fly faster than the speed of sound. He served the military as a Brigadier General in the U.S. Air Force. In WWII, Yeager shot down over a dozen German planes. He was shot down and injured in German-occupied France, but was lucky to be rescued by French resistance forces and then made his way back to his base in England.
In 1983, Sam Shepard played the role of Yeager, bringing to life his outstanding military career. In the opening scene, the fighter pilot breaks the sound barrier, starting 'The Right Stuff' off with a bang.
Ali MacGraw (born 1939)
Ali MacGraw rose to stardom in the late sixties, hitting international fame in 1970 when she starred in 'Love Story'. Her first major award, though, was in 1969, when she won the Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer for her role in the film 'Goodbye, Columbus'. Born Elizabeth Alice MacGraw in New York, she became a fashion model first, posing for Vogue and working as a stylist for the magazine. She also assisted fashion virtuoso and editor-in-chief Diana Vreeland at Harper’s Bazaar.
After winning a Golden Globe for Best Actress and an Academy Award nomination for 'Love Story', MacGraw shared these words of advice, “I’ve learned that surviving stardom depends on doing the work to find out who you are so that you don’t define yourself by what people say about you.” She’s also known for being married to pop culture icon Steve McQueen, although they divorced in 1978. In a recent interview with People she said, after 31 years of sobriety, she wished she and McQueen had both grown old sober. He died in 1980.
Cloris Leachman (born 1926)
This actress and comedienne is best known for her hilarious role as Phyllis Lindstrom on 'The Mary Tyler Moore' show. Her Phyllis character was so popular Leachman went on to do her very own spin-off sitcom, called 'Phyllis'. She also appeared in the Mel Brooks film 'Young Frankenstein' and continued to work with Brooks for many years. Two TV parts she played was Beverly on 'The Facts of Life' and Granny on 'The Beverly Hillbillies', the 1993 movie version. Leachman set a record winning eight primetime Emmy Awards. She also won a Golden Globe Award for her portrayal of Phyllis.
Today she’s 93. Her last role was performed in the 2018 movie 'I Can Only Imagine', a Christian-themed movie based on the pop-sensation song of the same title. Cloris Leachman was born in Iowa, on April 30, 1926. She grew up in Des Moines and lived there until she attended Illinois State to study drama, and then graduated from Northwestern University. She started her film career soon after, but not before winning Miss America in 1946.
Dick Van Dyke (born 1925)
With a career that has spanned over 70 years, Dick Van Dyke is 93 years old and still working. His latest project was the long-anticipated 'Mary Poppins Returns', released in 2018. He even performed with the drummer from Red Hot Chili Peppers, producing a children’s album on which he did some rapping. Dick Van Dyke was born in Missouri during the Great Depression, and he never knew his family was poor, they were just like all the other folk.
He started his showbiz career on radio and Broadway, and became a household name after starring in the acclaimed CBS sitcom, The Dick Van Dyke Show with Mary Tyler Moore playing his wife. Apart from Disney's classic 'Mary Poppins', Van Dyke has acted in 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang', 'Bye Bye Birdie', 'The Comic', and many others. He's won five Emmys, a Tony and a Grammy, plus the SAG Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013. When he was 87, he miraculously escaped from a car accident unharmed, after a passerby pulled him from his burning Jaguar.
Jackie Mason (born 1931)
Born Yacov Moshe Maza on June 9, 1931, to a family of strict Orthodox Jews and a long string of rabbis, including his father, he grew up and became ordained also. But it didn’t last. He left the synagogue to become a comedian because, as he said, “Someone in the family had to make a living.” So, he became Jackie Mason, one of the funniest stand-up comedians to ever hit the stage. He likes to joke about politics, and satirize society and the religion he knows best, but he’s also known to be controversial and irreverent.
Mason is also a television and film actor who appeared often on 'The Ed Sullivan Show' and starred in 'The Jerk' with Steve Martin. His own production, a one-man show called 'The World According to Me', was an enormous hit and won several awards. He’s been active in his sensational career since the 1950s. “I have enough money to last me the rest of my life unless I buy something,” he joked on The Dean Martin Show and many times after. The truth of the matter is, his net worth is $9 million.
Loretta Lynn (born 1932)
Born and raised in Kentucky, this American country music phenomenon has a career spanning almost 60 years. With chart-toppers like 'You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man)', 'Coal Miner’s Daughter' and “Don’t Come Home A’ Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind)', Loretta Lynn is a prolific musician. She released 60 albums, selling 45 million worldwide. The Country Music Hall of Famer is so revered and well-loved, her song, 'You’re Looking at Country' was covered by Metallica in 2019.
Celebrating her 87th birthday at a concert in Nashville, Tennessee, Loretta Lynn unexpectedly grabbed the mic, after initially refusing it, and finished her song, 'Coal Miner’s Daughter', to an adoring audience’s wild cheers. It was her first performance since suffering a stroke in 2017. At age 15, Loretta Lynn married her husband and, soon after, had her first child. When her husband gave her a guitar for Christmas, she took to it immediately and began to write and perform songs. Just seven years later, she got signed and released her first album, 'Honky Tonk Girl'.
Ed Asner (born 1929)
Hollywood legend, Ed Asner won more Emmys than any other male actor, and was nominated a total of 20 times! He’s also the recipient of the 2001 SAG Award. He was president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1981 to 1985. The talented and respected performer whose career stretches over 60 years, is best known for his award-winning portrayal of Lou Grant. 'Lou Grant' was an hour-long comedy-drama that started a spin-off TV show from 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' where Lou Grant’s character was first introduced.
Asner has been very active politically, leading to backlash on several issues, like supporting teacher unions by narrating a promotional video. He’s remembered for suggesting the sudden cancellation of Lou Grant, which had high ratings, due to his left-wing political positions. Asner publicly opposed U.S. involvement in Central America during Ronald Reagan’s presidency. Asner has four children, and regarding them, he’s known to have said, “Raising kids is part joy and part guerrilla warfare.”
Katharine Ross (born 1940)
Katharine Ross was born in Hollywood, and when she was still young, her family moved up to the Bay area in California. At college, she found an interest in film and studied acting. As a beauty, roles quickly came her way. Her film debut was a role in the Civil War-era film, 'Shenandoah'. She hit it big with a starring role in 'Games' and then with The Graduate, for which she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Her fame ignited like wildfire and she befitted the ideal of beauty for the groovy Hippie generation.
Even though she's been divorced four times, she shares one of Hollywood’s most wonderful love stories with her current husband, Sam Elliott. Together they have a daughter, her only child, who was born when Ross was 44. Ross and Elliott met on the set of 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid' in 1969 but didn’t speak. Elliott was only an extra and completely intimidated by the leading lady. They met in earnest filming the horror film 'The Legacy' in London, in 1978. Katharine and Sam were married in 1984 and have been living happily for 33 years.
Vera Lynn (born 1917)
Celebrating her 102nd birthday on March 20, 2019, Vera Lynn has enjoyed one of the longest show business careers in history. She started very young, performing for the first time at the age of seven. Her career spans over eight decades. As a singer, songwriter, and actress, her musical recordings became extraordinarily popular during the War years. During WWII she toured Egypt, India, and Burma to entertain the troops.
Receiving honors and accolades for years, she was appointed the royal honor of Officer of the British Empire for services to British forces. In 2009, when she was 92, she released a compilation album that soared to No. 1 in the charts. Her achievement included beating out Bob Dylan as the oldest artist to have a No. 1 album in the U.K. And, in 2018, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Classic Brit Awards. Her latest album, another compilation entitled 'Vera Lynn 100', was released in commemoration of her 100th birthday, in 2017.
Paul Michael Glaser (born 1943)
Paul Michael Glaser was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Glaser is an actor, director, writer and, most recently, an artist. Most people know him for his role as Starsky on the enormously popular 1970s TV series, 'Starsky and Hutch'. His first role, however, played Perchik in his 1971 film debut, 'Fiddler on the Roof'. He was well educated before he started his career. He graduated Tulane majoring in theatre and English and went on to earn his master’s degree in acting and directing at Boston.
After four years of playing the heartthrob Starsky, 'Starsky and Hutch' came to a close. In 1980 he married his wife Elizabeth. Sadly, while giving birth to their daughter, Ariel, she contracted HIV from a blood transfusion during a cesarean section, and then passed it on to her daughter and then to her son, unknowingly. Her daughter died of AIDS in 1988 and Elizabeth died of AIDS in 1994. Elizabeth died shortly after co-founding the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Glasner directed a public service spot for AIDS awareness in 1989 which starred President Ronald Reagan.
Claudia Cardinale (born 1938)
Claudia Cardinale was an Italian film star and a worldwide bombshell in European, Italian and American films. Recognized as a model with her dark eyes and sensual beauty, she appeared in some of the most acclaimed films in the 1960s and 1970s, like 'Rocco and His Brothers' and 'The Leopard'. It all happened after she was crowned “Most Beautiful Italian Girl in Tunisia” in 1957. This led to film contracts almost overnight as the prize included a trip to Italy’s Venice Film Festival, where she met film producer Franco Cristaldi.
In the U.S., she played opposite David Niven in 'The Pink Panther' and starred in several American themed films before tiring of Hollywood and heading back to Italy. When in the U.S., she said Marlon Brando flirted with her, but she preferred hanging out with Rock Hudson, pretending to date. Today, she’s a Goodwill Ambassador for UNESCO who prides herself for fighting for equality and women’s rights. And in 2012, her work on the film 'Gebo and the Shadow' was critically acclaimed. Last year she celebrated her 80th birthday!
Tippi Hedren (born 1930)
Tippi Hedren was discovered by Alfred Hitchcock, who chose her for a lead role in 'The Birds' after seeing her in a television commercial. Astonishingly, it was Tippi’s first acting job. With virtually no acting training, she became a Hollywood star under Hitchcock’s influence. He was a bit obsessed with her, she was like his muse. As a boss, he was demanding, borderline abusive. On the upside, she won a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Melanie Daniels in that suspense-thriller. Hitchcock was so thrilled with her performance, he starred her in his next film, Marnie. She went on to appear in over eighty films.
Recently she opened up about the abuse by the legendary filmmaker on Twitter. Born Nathalie Kay Hedren, she grew up in small-town Minnesota. Her father, who ran the general store in the town, nicknamed her “Tippi.” While she was in high school, her parents relocated the family to California. She was married to actor Peter Griffith for seven years, with whom she had the famous Melanie Griffith. Tippi is now 89 years old and modeling again, most recently for Gucci.
Honor Blackman (born 1925)
This British-born actress started out on the stage in London’s West End in the early 1940s. Even as a child, she loved the stage and yearned to act. Later, in 1961, she took a role as Cathy Gale on the popular 'The Avengers' television series. Her impressive presence as a confident and intimidating beautiful woman landed her a role opposite the sexy Sean Connery. As the memorable Pussy Galore in the classic 007 Goldfinger movie, she pioneered female spy roles. She famously practiced judo to prepare her for roles like Pussy Galore. She became so skilled she performed some of her own stunts.
Pussy Galore became her definitive role and is a favorite Bond girl of many fans. She doesn’t exactly prefer being called a “Bond girl”, saying “most of the Bond girls have been bimbos. I have never been a bimbo.” It led to a very long career that ran for over sixty years, in which she starred in close to 90 movies and TV shows. She’s the same age as the Queen of England, but she sure doesn’t show it! At 93, she’s likely ready to take the next suitable role that comes around. In her latest TV performance, she appeared as Rose Walker in the British comedy, 'You, Me & Them' in 2015.
Kim Novak (born 1933)
Born Marilyn Pauline Novak on February 13, 1933, in Chicago, Illinois, Kim Novak came from a working-class family and parents who were both former teachers. She modeled teen fashions in high school and loved art, and as a talented painter, she won a scholarship to the Art Institute of Chicago. During a break from university, Kim and some friends took a trip to Los Angeles. She wasn’t taking it seriously when they decided to do some extra work on a film for fun. However, her outstanding beauty was spotted by an agent and it was the beginning of a brilliant career in Hollywood.
She signed a contract that very week. Scripting her career as a gorgeous sex symbol, the production studio shaped her image by telling her to lose weight, changing her name (so she wouldn’t be confused with another Marilyn sex symbol), and getting her into acting lessons. She made her film debut in 'Pushover', a detective drama. Subsequently, film roles began lining up, the most famous being her role in Hitchcock's 'Vertigo'. She retired from acting in 1991. Today she is 86.
Barbara Eden (born 1931)
Barbara Eden got to play one of television’s greatest roles. She played the genie, in I Dream of Jeannie. The show ran for five years, from 1965 to 1970. Opposite Larry Hagman as Major Nelson, a NASA astronaut, Eden, as Jeannie, dazzled and captivated hearts and minds with her adorable performance as a beautiful genie who was convinced, mysteriously, that Major Nelson was her master. She also played Jeannie’s evil sister who lusted after the Major.
The two had excellent chemistry. The show was so well-loved, it gained a cult following, and is still a popular classic until this day. Eden is pleased to continue to work. She’s 87 years old and she told Closer Weekly she never wants to stop working. “That’s what keeps my energy up. I love to work. If I don’t work, then I get lazy.”
Olivia de Havilland (born 1916)
On July 1st, 2019, Olivia de Havilland will be 103! She’s one of the last surviving movie stars of Hollywood’s golden age. De Havilland memorably starred in the 1939 classic 'Gone With the Wind' as Scarlett O’Hara’s sister-in-law, Melanie Hamilton. The cosmopolitan actress was born in Tokyo, Japan to British parents, and grew up in California with her mom after her parents divorced. She met and married her French husband Pierre Galante, an editor for a French journal, in 1955.
The British-American-French actress became enamored with acting in high school and acted in 'A Midsummer’s Night Dream' at college. At that production, she so impressed Austrian director Max Reinhardt, that he got her signed for his stage version. Next came the Warner Bros. film version. Warner Bros. signed her for a seven-year contract. She appeared in three films that same year! By the time she retired in 1988, Olivia had appeared in 49 feature films and worked for 53 years. She has won two Academy Awards, two Golden Globes, the Venice Film Festival Volpi Cup, and other accolades.
Henry Kissinger (born 1923)
Born in Furth, Bavaria, Germany to a family of German Jews, Henry Kissinger fled Nazi persecution when he was 15 years old, moving to London and then arriving in New York. He became an American scholar and national security expert. He served as Secretary of State for President Nixon from 1973 to 1977. In the United States, he was very controversial as a pro-war advocate during the anti-Vietnam War hippie days.
When he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the end of the Vietnam War, it was so controversial and bitterly protested that two members of the Nobel Committee even resigned in protest. Knowing they were right, apparently, Kissinger attempted to return the award. He eventually became political allies with fellow Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, praising her work. Bernie Sanders took the opportunity to mock Clinton by announcing: “I am proud to say that Henry Kissinger is not my friend. I will not take advice from Henry Kissinger.”
Sally Field (born 1946)
Sally Field splashed into her acting career, starring in the television series 'Gidget'. She played the adorable yet sassy surfer girl, Gidget. Though the underrated TV show ran for only one season, it became a cult classic almost immediately. She went on to do another TV series, 'The Flying Nun', where she cemented her new-found fame. She continued to have a stellar career that included winning two Oscars for Best Actress ('Norma Rae' and 'Places in the Heart'), a SAG Award, and two Golden Globes. She also starred in blockbuster movies like 'Ms. Doubtfire', 'Forrest Gump' and 'Steel Magnolias'.
Sally Field, now 72, was born in Pasadena, California to an actress mother and an Army officer and salesman father. Her mom divorced and remarried when she was four. Unfortunately, the new stepfather sexually abused her. She opened up about the extremely sensitive topic in her new memoir, 'In Pieces', released in 2018. She’s distancing herself from the #MeToo movement but has always been an ardent advocate for women. She also opens up about her relationship with Burt Reynolds, who passed away recently.
Leonard Whiting (born 1950)
Leonard Whiting is an English actor who was recognized for his voice when he sang at a wedding reception at age 12. That same year he played the Artful Dodger in its 18-month run. Years later, director Franco Zeffirelli spotted the 17-year-old during auditions for 'Romeo and Juliet' and saw in Leonard a perfect face for the young Romeo. Whiting played Romeo in that 1968 film version of Shakespeare’s celebrated play. He performed so well he won the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year as an actor.
His career ended where it started. Years later he was interviewed by People magazine and said, “I was thrust for a long moment into international stardom. When that happens, people want to see you in that same persona again and again. Orson Welles once said, ‘I started at the top and worked my way downward.’ I can identify with that.”
Marla Gibbs (born 1931)
Best known for her role on 'The Jeffersons' playing George Jefferson’s snarky maid Florence, Marla Gibbs broke into showbiz as a witty comedian full of sass and spunk. For her role on the CBS sitcom, she received five Emmy nominations. Gibbs is also a singer, writer, and television producer. Breaking into her acting career late in life, she was 44 when she joined the 1970s sitcom, she held onto her day job at United Airlines until 'The Jeffersons' became a hit TV show.
Her role was so sensational it landed Gibbs her very own sitcom, in her very own apartment. Called 227, after the show’s middle-class city apartment building address, 227 Lexington Place, the show ran from 1985 to 1990. Gibbs has won seven NAACP Image Awards. Most recently she co-starred in two 2017 films, 'Lemon' and 'Please Stand By'. At 87, she’s going strong. Gibbs also owned a jazz club in South Central L.A. called Maria’s Memory Lane Jazz and Supper Club, up until 1999, and she’s released several albums as a solo artist.