In a few months, I’ll celebrate my 25th anniversary since very happily leaving the working day world behind at age 65. That’s when most folks end their careers. On the other hand, many show biz stars just keep entertaining us for as long as we enjoy watching them. Here are seven who continue to work long past their three score years and ten:
Sir Ian McKellen, 93: A just released new movie, “Mr. Holmes”, stars the great British actor as the famed detective in his dotage. Although the sleuth was long retired, the plot follows the elderly Sherlock as he continues to solve mysteries, even if they’re only from his memories.
Betty White, 93: Today’s most famous active nonagenarian entertainer, Betty this year completed a six-season run of the TV hit, “Hot In Cleveland”. She’s only half-joking when declaring she needs to keep earning money to continue her volunteer work and significant financial donations in animal charities. The star currently hosts the TV weekly Betty White’s Smartest Animals, and has been active on the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association for the past 45 years.
Marty Allen, 93: Remember his “hello, dere” routine? Already a stand-up comedy star then, he appeared on the same Ed Sullivan TV Show 61 years ago featuring the Beatles’ first American appearance. He still performs in Las Vegas, and was asked recently by USA Today why he keeps working. His response was, “I love entertaining people. What else would I do?”
Carl Reiner, 93: Winner of nine Emmys in his long career, he starred in TV’s “Your Show Of Shows”, as well as writing, directing and acting in “The Dick Van Dyke Show”. Reiner offered positive thoughts about growing old, “Mentally you can do more. You have more thoughts and you have more experience.”
Kirk Douglas, 98: The star of “Spartacus”, “Paths of Glory” and many other great films is still very active. He appears in awards ceremonies, charitable activities and onstage events at the Kirk Douglas Theater in Los Angeles. He suffered a severe stroke in 1996, and still speaks with difficulty. However, his thoughts were still on his profession when he joked, “What does an actor who can’t talk do? Wait for silent pictures to come back?”
Olivia de Havilland, 99: The winner of two Academy Awards may be best known as Melanie in “Gone With The Wind”, as well as the nine action movies she made with Errol Flynn. The latest from the veteran star is that she’s working on her autobiography.
Mel Brooks: OK, so the creator of “Young Frankenstein” and “The Producers” is a mere youthful 89. The multi-talented, multi-award-winning Mel is still very active. This year’s HBO special, “Live at the Geffen”, is his hilarious on-stage remembrances of his many film, TV and Broadway masterpieces. An enjoyable interruption happens when Carl Reiner kabitzes live from the audience. Remember their “2000-Year-Old Man” schtick from the 1960s?