Slideshow: 10 Golden Age Movie Stars Who Are Still Alive
Mel Brooks, Betty White, Carl Reiner and others are thriving to this day — check out this surprising list
Just because they were in front of the Hollywood cameras years ago — decades ago — doesn’t mean they aren’t still alive and well, and, in some cases actively working.
Sure, many Golden Age stars are no longer around (alas, think of Cary Grant, Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart, and so many others).
But some of the Golden Age stars are very much still with us.
Here is a look at 10 legends who, despite their mature age, are still going strong.
1.) Kirk Douglas, age 102.
Douglas is among the oldest of the surviving stars from Hollywood’s Golden Age. He was the star of the 1960 film “Spartacus” (and by the way, is also known as the father of actor Michael Douglas). Although Douglas hasn’t acted since 2008, the three-time Oscar nominee is still living today. He made a rare public appearance at the Golden Globes in January 2018 with his daughter-in-law, Catherine Zeta-Jones — and received a standing ovation, according to AOL and others.
2.) Carl Reiner, age 97.
The nine-time Emmy winner has enjoyed an excellent career in acting, writing and producing. The star of “2000 Year Old Man” (1961) — who also appeared in “Ocean’s Eleven” (2001) — has been acting on a regular basis since the mid-1950s and is still involved with Hollywood to this day. Reiner (the father of director Rob Reiner) was scheduled to appear in a new comedy film called “Saddle Up!” in 2018.
3.) Betty White, age 97.
Although she gained fame and notoriety with age, the actress, who has been nominated for four Golden Globe Awards, had a few acting roles in the 1950s; she starred in “Life with Elizabeth,” which lasted for two seasons. In her mature years, White became a major star best known for her work in the TV sitcom “The Golden Girls” as Rose Lindström Nylund. In recent years, White has been on “Hot in Cleveland” and “Bones” and she has yet to retire — so who knows? She could always pick up yet another role in the near future.
4.) Olivia de Havilland, age 102.
Yes, the actress who starred in the 1939 romance film “Gone with the Wind” and “The Adventures of Robin Hood” (1938) is still very much alive. The two-time Golden Globe and Academy Award winner has not acted since 1988, so it’s fair to say she’s retired. Yet de Havilland’s name did surface in the news in early 2018 when her lawsuit against the creators of “Feud” — an FX miniseries about the rivalry between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford — was thrown out after she accused them of defamation.
5.) Janis Paige, age 96.
The multi-talented Paige carved out a niche for herself as a capable singer and actress. Although she also made her name on Broadway, she starred in the 1948 romantic comedy “Romance on the High Seas” and in a short-lived sitcom, “It’s Always Jan” (1955-1956). In late 2017, Paige, who has not acted since 2001 due to vocal cord damage she suffered, was in the news again when she wrote an op-ed for The Hollywood Reporter that described a rape attempt in Hollywood when she was 22 years old.
6.) Rhonda Fleming, age 95.
The “Queen of Technicolor” took on many different roles — she acted in more than 40 movies during the 1940s and 1950s. She acted alongside Bing Crosby in “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” and Ronald Reagan in “The Last Outpost” and “Hong Kong.” Fleming’s acting days have been over for decades, but the former actress, who has been married six times, is still with us today.
7.) June Lockhart, age 93.
With 172 acting credits on IMDb spanning nine decades, it is fair to say that multiple generations have enjoyed Lockhart’s work. Best known for playing mother roles in “Lassie” and “Lost in Space” on television, she got her start by playing Belinda Cratchit in the 1938 film “A Christmas Carol.” The two-time Emmy Award and one-time Tony Award winner last appeared in a film in 2016 called “The Remake.”
8.) Marsha Hunt, age 100.
As a left-winger, Hunt was blacklisted in Hollywood as a suspected communist by the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950s. Still, political leanings obviously don’t negate the work she did in films such as “Born to the West” (alongside John Wayne), “Pride and Prejudice,” “Kid Glove Killer,” “Cry ‘Havoc,” and others. After the blacklisting, Hunt worked on such TV shows as “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “Murder, She Wrote.” Her last acting appearance came in a 2008 TV movie called “Empire State Building Murders.”
9.) Sidney Poitier, age 92.
The World War II veteran holds the distinction for being the first black actor to win an Academy Award for Best Actor, along with a Golden Globe for best actor; Poitier accomplished this as the star of the 1963 film “Lilies of the Field.” Four years later, he elevated his legacy with three box-office hits that dealt with race relations: “To Sir, with Love,” “In the Heat of the Night,” and “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.” While he might not be acting anymore, Poitier served as the Bahamian Ambassador to Japan from 1997 to 2007 and in 2009 received a Presidential Medal of Freedom from then-President Barack Obama.
10.) Mel Brooks, age 92.
The “Spaceballs” and “Blazing Saddles” comedian is not only still kicking, but he’s still quite the prolific creator. He’s done a one-man show in recent years, along with voice work in the “Hotel Transylvania” movies, the latest of which is in theaters now.
This article was originally published in July 2018 and was updated on May 13, 2019. Tom Joyce is a freelance writer from the South Shore of Massachusetts. He covers sports, pop culture, and politics and has contributed to The Federalist, Newsday, and other outlets.