Aging gracefully … does it mean remaining creative, useful, caring, and up to date no matter how old you are? Those of you who think they are “over the hill” may find it interesting to know that many celebrities at the ages of 70s and 80s do not rest on their laurels but participate in all kinds of activities. Is that what makes these people even more interesting, appealing, and charismatic with age?
Kirk Douglas was born to poor Jewish immigrants on December 9, 1916 in Amsterdam, New York. His talents, stamina, and diligence helped him reach the highest pinnacle of Hollywood Stardom. In 1981, Douglas received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 1995 – an Honorary Oscar Award. He also won a Golden Globe and AFI Life Achievements Award.
There was a dark period in his life seven years ago when Douglas was knocked down with a stroke. He even attempted a suicide: he put the gun in his mouth; sensitive teeth and a sense of humor saved him. When the gun hit his teeth, he started to laugh. Now he says: “Suicide is stupid and selfish.” You may want to read how he describes his feelings in his book My Stroke of Luck (2002).
The way he overcame his health difficulties has shown he is as heroic in life as on screen. In addition to acting, he is very much involved in charity activities. “I’m out to be what I am and do what I can. And if you don’t like it, screw you,” he says. At the age of 85, he is filming his 85th movie. The last movie in his huge list of filmography is The Illusion (2003). Kirk Douglas also wrote the following books:
Climbing The Mountain: My Search For Meaning (2000), Young Heroes of the Bible (1999), Last Tango in Brooklyn (1994), Ragman’s Son (1993), The Gift (1992), Dance With the Devil.
Gina Lollobrigida was born on July 4, 1927 in Subiaco, Italy. At the age of three, she was named the most beautiful child of Italy. As a child she also won the Walt Disney Award for the best children drawing. Her sculpting and drawing talents made her parents believe Gina would become an artist. However, her passion for sculpting was intervened by her acting career. Her success as an actress was stunning. Lollobrigida became a very popular
European movie star. Her name was associated with eternal beauty, youth, fashion, and femininity. Now she says that her “involvement with film has been completely accidental,” because her real talent was in the areas of art.
Recently, at the age of 75, in Moscow, Gina Lollobrigida exhibited a fantastic collection of 38 sculptures made by her. Then her exhibition traveled to Venice and Paris. She enjoys life because she found the way to fulfill her artistic talents!
Sir Sean Connery
Sean Connery was born into a working class family on August 25, 1930 in the neighborhood of Edinburgh, Scotland. His lifelong commitments – to Family and Scotland – were reflected on his tattoos. He used to work as a bricklayer, lifeguard and coffin polisher before his bodybuilding successes led him into acting career. Sean became internationally known and loved by audience as James Bond. His later filmography included movies of different genres. In 1987, Connery won Oscar Award for The Untouchables. In 1989, he was named People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive.” In his early 70s, he is enthusiastically involved in cinematography and charitable activities. In 1992, Sean wrote a book Diamonds Are Forever. Sean Connery’s latest movies are Entrapment (1999), Finding Forrester (2000), and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003). Many observers have said that his talent and charisma only bloomed with age!
To learn more about Sir Sean Connery’s life, you may want to read the following books: Sean Connery(2002) by Michael Feeney Callan, British Stars and Stardom: From Alma Taylor to Sean Conneryby Bruce Babington (2002), Sean Connery: a Biographyby Bob McCabe (2000), The Films of Sean Conneryby Lee Pfeiffer, Philip Lisa.
Oleg Protopopov and Lyudmila Belousova
Oleg Protopopov was born on July 16, 1932 in Leningrad (now St. Peterburg), Russia. His wife and figure skating partner, Lyudmila Belousova, was born on November 22, 1935 in Ulyanovsk, Russia. They have been skating together since 1954. The pair became the two times Olympic champions: in 1964 in Innsbruck, and in 1968 in Grenoble. They also won the World and European champions (4 times), and the Soviet Union competitions (six times). Their arsenal of medals includes: 10 gold medals, 6 silver medals, and 3 bronze
medals. In 1979, while on a tour abroad, Oleg and Lyudmila asked for political asylum in Switzerland. Since then, the couple has been living in that country.
When Oleg was 55 and Lyudmila was 52, they were still skating. In 1987 the couple took the 4th place at the World Professional Championship. They continue to give figure skating lessons. According to some press publications, medical tests show their biological age is around 20 years less than their passport age. The couple believes that the secret of their youth is regular sport practice. Oleg also said: “Just like a bird flies as long as it can flap its wings, we too, shall skate as long as we can stand on the ice.”
Jean-Paul Belmondo, a charismatic French movie star, was born on April 9, 1933 into a family of a renowned French sculptor. He studied at Conservatoire des Arts Dramatiques in Paris. He debuted in 1957 and since then has accomplished 79 movies. His inimitable smile, handsome appearance, athletic posture, sense of humor, and versatile talents made him one of the most favorite comedy and action movie stars in Europe. He is known to perform all the stunts himself!
The North American audience might have seen him as a co-star of Raquel Welch in the movie L’animal (1977), known as Stuntwoman in America. The Empire Magazine has chosen Belmondo as one of the 100 sexiest stars in film history. The president of France distinguished him with order of Legion of Honor. In 1989, Belmondo won the Best Actor Cesar Award, and in 2001 – the Actor’s Mission Award.
He is a kind of a man who is becoming more and more irresistible with years, though maybe less rebellious than before. As observers say, Jean-Paul has aged gracefully into more distinguished roles, like Cyrano de Bergerac.
Joan Rivers was born on June 8, 1933 in New York. She began performing on stage as an actress, than developed into a comedienne, author of best-selling books, playwright, screenwriter, motion picture director, television and radio talk show host. Joan’s way to Hollywood stardom was not easy, and sometimes was disturbed by gloomy episodes. However, her inner strength and sense of humor always helped her get back to life, work, and success. Now, she is known also as a jewelry designer and originator of skin treatment products
Joan Rivers Beauty and acclaimed fragrance Now & Forever. Joan also gives lectures around the world on suicide prevention.
Joan Rivers is an ardent advocate of non-retirement. Her fantastic book Don’t Count the Candles: Just Keep the Fire Lit! inspires and offers a fresh look on the problems of aging. Joan urges to participate in every kind of activity, be close to different generations, and learn new and update old lifestyle habits. The ageless bright personality of Joan Rivers serves an excellent example of the effectiveness of her strategy.
Sophia Loren was born as an illegitimate child on September 20, 1934 in Italy. “The two big advantages I had at birth,” she says, “were to have been born wise and to have been born in poverty.” At the age of 14, Sophia started to participate in beauty contests. This is where she first met the film producer and her future husband Carlo Ponti. Soon she became known in Europe and America as an extraordinary beauty and phenomenal actress. She filmed with such co-stars as Marcello Mastroianni, Gary Grant, Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, Peter O’Toole, and Burt Lancaster. In 1995, she teamed with the late Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau in Grumpier Old Men. Sophia’s film gallery includes more than 80 movies. During 50 years of performance career, she received numerous acting awards from around the world. In 1991, Sophia won an honorary Oscar for Lifetime Achievement. Also, she became the best-selling author of autobiography and cookbooks, such as: Sophia Loren’s Recipes and Memories.
Approaching 70, Sophia Loren is as beautiful and loved by millions of audience as ever. In 1999, People magazine called her “one of the most stunning and age resistant women.” What are her secrets of youth? Surprisingly, they are very simple: “There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”
Want to read more about Sophie Loren? Choose from the following books: Sophia Style (2001)by Deirdre Donohue, Sophia by Stefano Masi, Sophia Loren: A Biography (1998) by Warren G. Harris, Sophia Living and Loving: Her Own Storyby A.E. Hotchner, Forever, Sophia: An Intimate Portrait by Alan Levy.
Julie Andrews was born on October 1, 1935 in a neighborhood of London. Her mother and stepfather were music hall performers. By the age of 8, Julie had a formed four-octave voice; at 12 years of age she debuted on the London stage. Julie’s popularity rose as she performed in the Variety show. In 1954,she participated in her first Broadway production. Mary Poppins (1964) brought Julie an international acclaim. The Sound of Music (1965) is still one of the most loved musicales among all generations. Julie’s numerous movie roles, radio and television performances were distinguished with Oscar, Golden Globe, and Emmy awards. In 1998, Julie underwent throat surgery; fortunately, her fans heard her signing again at the 1999 Tony Awards.
In addition to her fabulous film, stage, and TV career, she is well known as a recording artist (18 albums) and a successful children’s author. Away from stage, Julie Andrews participates in several charities. For example, she is a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Fund for Women. In 2000, Queen Elizabeth II made Julie Andrews a Dame Commander of the British Empire. In her late sixties, Julie Andrews is still beautiful, charming, and full of life! Her latest movies are The Princess Diaries (2001), Unconditional Love (2001), and Relative Values (2000). In 2003, Julie Andrew’s fans will watch two other movies Eloize at the Plaza and Eloize at Christmastime.
You may want to learn more about this remarkable woman by reading Julie Andrews: A Life on Stage and Screen (1998) by Robert Windeler.