24 Celebrities You Didn’t Realize Were Alive and Well
The nation’s most popular stars in their golden years are showing no signs of slowing down. Although some of these celebrities may have slipped from the public eye, they remain successful and unstoppable, even after working in their industry for decades. You may be surprised to know that some of your favorite icons are also over 100 years old. Throughout their whole careers, these superstars have won many awards, broke records and influenced future generations.
With the passing of Doris Day on May 13, 2019, Hollywood lost one of its shining stars. Best known for her melodious singing voice, girl-next-door charm, and award winning sitcom The Doris Day Show, Day’s impact on the entertainment industry is immeasurable. WIth a remarkable career spanning 6 decades, over 30 films and 600 musical recordings, Day is one of Hollywood’s most successful female film stars.
As a royal, Prince Philip, 97, is accustomed to being in the spotlight. He is widely recognized as the husband of Queen Elizabeth II. The couple tied the knot on November 20, 1947, at Westminster Abbey. In 1952, Elizabeth assumed the throne and the many responsibilities that came with it. Throughout Philip and Elizabeth’s marriage, Philip has supported the queen in her official duties.
Rick Moranis, 65, is responsible for bringing some of the most memorable characters in cinema to life, such as the nerdy florist Seymour Krelborn in Little Shop of Horrors, possessed neighbor Louis Tully in Ghostbusters and the Dark Helmet character in the film Spaceballs. Throughout the 1980s, Moranis usually took on roles as the nerdy neighbor.
Shelley Duvall, 69, began her acting career in the 1970s and rose to fame in the 1980s. Duvall is widely known for starring in the iconic 1980’s film The Shining. Duvall has reported that working with director Stanley Kubrick on The Shining was so stressful that she suffered from hair loss. After Duvall finished filming The Shining, she signed on to another successful film, Popeye. Duvall continued to land roles in numerous films throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
Tippi Hedren, 89, entered the world as Nathalie Kay Hedren, but she’s best recognized as Tippi, a nickname given to her by her father when she was an infant. After spending her 20s and early 30s modeling, Hedren broke into acting thanks to the 1958 thriller, Vertigo. She went on to collaborate with director Alfred Hitchcock on multiple projects, including the films Marnie and Discovery. Hedren starred in a wide variety of films throughout her career, from 1963’s The Birds to the 2004 comedy, I Heart Huckabees.
Rita Moreno, 87, is a Puerto Rican actor who rose to fame for her roles in West Side Story and The King and I. For Moreno's role in West Side Story, she won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress and became the first Latina actor to receive the honor. She later landed major roles in hit films such as Summer and Smoke in 1961 and The Four Seasons in 1981.
Angela Brigid Lansbury’s acting career spans more than six decades. She earned her first Oscar nomination from her very first movie, Gaslight, in 1944. Lansbury received another Oscar nomination for The Picture of Dorian Gray one year later. Lansbury gained worldwide fame after starring in the popular series Murder, She Wrote from 1984 to 1996. Throughout her spectacular career, the actor has scored five Tony Awards, six Golden Globe Awards, and even a Grammy for her contributions on the soundtrack to 1994’s Beauty and the Beast. (She voiced Mrs. Potts and reportedly nailed the song in one take)
Although Jerry Stiller, 91, appeared on popular shows like The Love Boat, he didn’t become widely recognized until he starred in the sitcom Seinfeld as Frank Costanza. For his amazing performance on Seinfeld, Stiller earned an Emmy nomination and won the American Comedy Award in 1997. Once Seinfeld ended, Stiller moved on to another successful sitcom, The King of Queens, in 1998. He received praise for his work on both shows, which enabled him to land roles in many films.
Dick Van Dyke
Dick Van Dyke’s career as an actor, singer and dancer spans over seven decades. Van Dyke started his career as a radio DJ in the 1940s before transitioning to television. Van Dyke rose to prominence after starring in his own sitcom, The Dick Van Dyke Show, a favorite in many households in the 1960s. He went on to star in many successful productions including Bye Bye Birdie (the musical and movie), Mary Poppins, Curious George and Night at the Museum.
Mel Brooks, 92, received his first major win as a director with the 1967 film The Producers. One year later, Brooks snagged an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, beating other big-name writers such as Stanley Kubrick. Since then, Brooks became an iconic director, recognized for films such as 1970’s The Twelve Chairs and 1974’s Young Frankenstein.
Kirk Douglas’s acting career took off after the 1943 film Kiss and Tell. In 1949, Douglas rose to international fame when he starred in the film Champion, earning his first Academy Award nomination. After, Douglas went on to star in notable films such as Spartacus and The Bad and the Beautiful.
Man classic movie star Kirk Douglas is 102 years old today... He IS Spartacus!!! pic.twitter.com/APz8fx9PEw— Joe Bonsall (@joebonsall) December 9, 2018
Olivia de Havilland
De Havilland, 89, got her first big break portraying Hermia in 1935’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. De Havilland later starred in the 1939 film Gone with the Wind, earning an Academy Award nomination for her performance. De Havilland continued acting in popular films such as The Strawberry Blonde, To Each His Own and The Snake Pit. Throughout her career, De Havilland won numerous honors including two Academy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards.
Kim Novak, 86, launched her acting career in the film Pushover in 1954. It took Novak another year of acting before attracting worldwide recognition. After Novak starred in Picnic (1955), she achieved success and fame. For that performance, Novak won a Golden Globe Award and a BAFTA Film Award nomination. Novak went on to work in more notable films including Vertigo with Tippi Hedren and The Man with the Golden Arm alongside Frank Sinatra.
Ed Asner, 89, landed his first big role in the 1957 show Studio. Asner received recognition for his portrayal of Lou Grant in the critically acclaimed series The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its subsequent spin-off Lou Grant in the 1970s and 1980s. For his role as Grant in both shows, Asner won four Golden Globe Awards and five Primetime Emmy Awards. Asner has also voiced many characters in animated features. Asner made fans cry through his voice acting of Carl Fredricksen in Pixar’s Up in 2009.
Since the 1960s, Ann-Margret Olsson, 77, has charmed audiences with her acting and singing talents. In 1961, Olsson's song I Just Don’t Understand became a minor hit, ranking No. 17 on the Billboard Top 40. Olsson moved on to produce dance hits (most notably, Love Rush) between the late 1970s and early 1980s. Olsson made her film debut in Pocketful of Miracles in 1961, but she rose to prominence after starring in 1963's Bye Bye Birdie. Olsson went on to star in many hit films, including Viva Las Vegas with Elvis Presley and The Cincinnati Kid alongside Steve McQueen.
Carl Reiner, 97, received early recognition after working with Mel Brooks on the comedy sketch 2000 Year Old Man in 1960. Reiner later became an icon in the entertainment industry for creating, writing and producing The Dick Van Dyke Show. He went on to direct the box office hit The Jerk, starring Steve Martin in 1979.
Christopher Plummer’s first big break was in the 1965 film The Sound of Music. The movie became the highest-grossing film of 1965. Since then, Plummer has been featured in many notable films including Cyrano, Barrymore and Beginners. Plummer has also been nominated for three Academy Awards (winning one), four Golden Globes (winning one) and seven Primetime Emmy Awards (winning two) throughout his career.
Eva Marie Saint
Eva Marie Saint, 94, began her film career in 1954’s On the Waterfront. Saint's performance in the film shot her to superstardom and scored her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. When she accepted the award on stage, she was nine months pregnant and joked, “I may have the baby right here.” Saint also had great success starring in the film North by Northwest in 1959. Saint continued to appear in films and television until the 2010s.
Vera Lynn, 102, is an English pop singer-songwriter. Fans called Lynn "The Forces’ Sweetheart" because her music career took off during the Second World War. During the war, Lynn joined the Entertainments National Service Association to tour Burma, Egypt and India to perform concerts for soldiers. After the war, Lynn remained a big star, producing hits like Auf Wiederseh'n Sweetheart and My Son, My Son.
Little Richard, 86, caught his first big break when he landed a recording contract with RCA in 1951. During his time with RCA, Little Richard received little recognition for his music. As a result, he left the record label. Eventually, he joined Specialty Records, creating many danceable hits like Tutti Frutti and Good Golly Miss Molly in the late 1950s. Fans went crazy for his flamboyant sound and explosive, piano-pounding moves. His career quickly skyrocketed, and Little Richard became a well-known rock ‘n’ roll legend. His music influenced many bands including the Beatles.
Sidney Poitier, 92, made his screen debut in Blackboard Jungle in 1955. Poitier became the first black actor to win an Academy Award for Best Actor and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor for his performance in 1964’s Lilies of the Field. After he became a Hollywood icon, he took home many awards and starred in several notable films such as To Sir, with Love and In the Heat of the Night.
Beverly Cleary, 103, became a famous writer of children’s and young adult fiction after publishing her book Henry Huggins in 1950. Shortly after, Cleary wrote more successful tales including Beezus and Ramona in 1955 and Henry and the Paper Route in 1957. As a result, Cleary was awarded the 1981 National Book Award, the National Medal of Arts and recognition as a Library of Congress Living Legend. Cleary was one of the first authors to feature fictional characters who experience emotional realism.
In 1956, Harry Belafonte's breakthrough album Calypso sold over 1 million copies within a year. Belafonte, 92, became enormously popular for singing The Banana Boat Song, one of the tracks in Calypso. The hit song ranked No. 5 on the pop charts. After gaining wider recognition for his successful album and hit song, Belafonte released more smash hits including Mama Look a Boo-Boo in 1957. Later in his career, Belafonte went on to secure a total of three Grammy awards for his knockout albums Swing Dat Hammer and An Evening with Belafonte Makeba.
Hank Aaron, 85, also known as Hammerin’ Hank, became one of the greatest baseball players in history from the 1950s to 1970s. Aaron is best known for breaking Babe Ruth’s home run record. In 1974, as he approached the record, Aaron received extensive hate mail for his efforts. When he spoke publicly about the letters, many fans sent Aaron support and Babe Ruth’s widow, Claire Merritt Ruth, denounced his critics. That same year, Aaron hit 715 home runs, beating Ruth’s record.
Before she became a high-status actor for six decades, Cicely Tyson, 94, starred in the series East Side/West Side in 1963 and the film A Man Called Adam in 1966. Her fame skyrocketed after starring in 1972’s Sounder, and earned her an Academy Award nomination as well as a Golden Globe nomination. After receiving high praise for her work in Sounder, Tyson's next major role was in the 1974 film The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. Tyson went on to star in more films, the most recent being 2017’s Last Flag Flying and in hit TV shows.