Sunday, August 14, 2016

Hollywood Living Legends

Hollywood…the film industry in general…has many people over the decades who are considered legends in the business.  Right now, there are several who are living legends, most of whom are still working in the business and providing us with marvelous entertainment.  Following is a list of living legends who are 80 years of age and older.

Robert Redford, 80 years old this year: 1 Oscar.  Probably best known for his acting roles in Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid, The Sting, and All The President's Men as well as his Oscar for directing Ordinary People.  I remember seeing a very young Robert Redford in an episode of the original Twilight Zone (in black and white). Through his efforts in creating and supporting the Sundance Film Festival, many talented newcomers have been discovered. Career 1960 to present.

Dame Julie Andrews, 80 years old: 1 Oscar, 2 Emmy, 3 Grammy.  Best known for her roles in The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins.  Many Hollywood insiders felt her Best Actress Oscar for Mary Poppins (although certainly deserved) was a sentimental/sympathy vote by the Academy members because she had been skipped over for the Eliza Doolittle role in the film version of My Fair Lady, a role she originated on Broadway to great acclaim.  Career 1945 to present.

Dame Judi Dench, 81 years old: 1 Oscar, 1 Tony.  Considered by many to be the greatest Shakespearean actress, also adept at comedy as evidenced by her leading role in the British produced television series As Time Goes By (airing on PBS on American television). Career 1957 to present.

Dame Maggie Smith, 81 years old: 2 Oscar, 3 Emmy, 1 Tony.  Currently entertaining audiences with her role on Downton Abbey.  I really enjoyed her performance in Death On The Nile, an Agatha Christie mystery with an all star cast. Career 1952 to present.

Shirley MacLaine, 82 years old: 1 Oscar, 1 Emmy.  Started her career as a dancer on Broadway with her big break coming when the star of Pajama Game broke her foot and Shirley stepped into the starring role.  She has entertained us in many musicals as well as dramatic roles. Career 1953 to present.

Carol Burnett, 83 years old: 6 Emmy.  Certainly best known for her marvelous weekly television variety series, The Carol Burnett Show.  She has also done many television movies, guest starring appearances on other television series, and theatrical movies.  Career 1955 to present.

Sir Michael Caine, 83 years old: 2 Oscar.  His starring role in Alfie put him into the international star category. Equally adept at comedy and drama.  One of my favorite Michael Caine movies is Without A Clue, a comedy where he played Sherlock Holmes to fellow Oscar winner Ben Kingsley's Dr. Watson with a fun twist on who the characters really were. He has recently moved back to England after living in the States for many years where he continues to provide entertaining performances.

Ellen Burstyn, 83 years old: 1 Oscar, 2 Emmy, 1 Tony. Won her Best Actress Oscar for Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore.  Her career started on Broadway before moving to films and television.

Gene Wilder, 83 years old: 1 Emmy.  Starred in some of Mel Brooks' films including the original version of The Producers and Young Frankenstein. Currently, he is concentrating on writing novels. Career 1966 to present.

Kim Novak, 83 years old.  Best known for her roles in Picnic opposite William Holden, Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo with Jimmy Stewart, and Bell Book and Candle also with Jimmy Stewart.  She is currently retired with a career from 1954 to 1991.

Rita Moreno, 84 years old: 2 Emmy, 1 Grammy, 1 Oscar, 1 Tony (known as EGOT when at least one award is received in each of the four Arts categories).  Probably best known for her supporting role in West Side Story.  She keeps very busy with her many guest starring roles on various television series.  Career 1942 to present.

Debbie Reynolds, 84 years old: 1 honorary Oscar.  Best known for her starring roles in Singing In The Rain and The Unsinkable Molly Brown.  And yes…she's real life mother to Carrie Fisher (Star Wars' Princess Leia). Career 1948 to present.

William Shatner, 85 years old: 2 Emmy.  Certainly best known as Capt. Kirk from the original Star Trek television series (late 1960s) and 6 Star Trek theatrical movies (my personal favorite being Star Trek IV-The Journey Home where they go back in time to present day San Francisco). He also starred in 2 other successful television series, T.J. Hooker and also as the irascible Denny Crane in Boston Legal. There's also an early career performance on the original black and white Twilight Zone series that has become a classic where he sees the creature on the airplane wing. Career 1954 to present.

Robert Duvall, 85 years old: 1 Oscar, 1 Emmy.  Best known for the three Godfather films, Apocalypse Now, and television's Lonesome Dove. Career 1952 to present.

Leslie Caron, 85 years old: 1 Emmy. An unknown hand-picked by Gene Kelly to co-star opposite him in An American In Paris. Currently starring in the British television series, The Durrells. Career 1951 to present.

James Earl Jones, 85 years old: 3 Emmy, 1 Grammy, 1 honorary Oscar, 2 Tony (another EGOT recipient).  Best known today as the voice of Darth Vader in the Star Wars movies. Career 1953 to present.

Sir Sean Connery, 85 years old: 1 Oscar.  A former Mr. Universe. The first movie James Bond, appearing as the character in several films, and many say still the best James Bond. He is currently retired with a career 1957 to 2003.

Clint Eastwood, 86 years old: 2 Oscar. Started his career as an actor on television, went to Italy and made several westerns. Portrayed several memorable characters in movies (Dirty Harry Callahan) before turning to directing and producing. His 2 Oscars were for directing and producing Unforgiven. Career 1954 to present.

Joanne Woodward, 86 years old: 1 Oscar.  Known as much for her 50 year marriage to Paul Newman (until his death in 2008) with whom she made 11 films as for her own acting career.  Best known for her Oscar winning starring role in The Three Faces Of Eve.  Career 1955 to present.

Gene Hackman, 86 years old: 2 Oscar.  Best known for his award winning role in The French Connection. Currently retired from performing. Lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he writes detective novels. Career 1954 to 2004.

Christopher Plummer: 86 years old: 1 Oscar.  At 82, the oldest actor to win a supporting actor Oscar.  Best known for starring opposite Julie Andrews in The Sound Of Music.  Career 1953 to present.

Gena Rowlands, 86 years old: 1 honorary Oscar, 3 Emmy.  She did an episode of NCIS where she portrayed Gibbs' first mother-in-law. Career 1954 to present.

Max Von Sydow, 87 years old. Swedish actor (this came as a surprise to me, I always thought he was German) known for his many films with Swedish director Ingmar Bergman.  Best known to American audiences for his roles in The Exorcist and Three Days Of The Condor. Career 1947 to present.

Sidney Poitier, 89 years old: 2 Oscar (1 of them honorary).  First black actor to win the Best Actor Oscar (for Lilies Of The Field).  Also known for his starring role as Virgil Tibbs, In The Heat Of The Night. He also served as American ambassador to the Bahamas (where he holds dual citizenship). He is currently retired with an acting career 1947 to 1997.

Angela Lansbury, 90 years old: 1 honorary Oscar, 5 Tony. Although best known today as Jessica Fletcher on the long running television series, Murder She Wrote, she started her career in films with her Oscar nominated role in Gaslight. Has graced the Broadway stage many times, starring in such productions as Sweeney Todd and Mame. Adept at playing the villain as well as the heroine, as evidenced by her performances in Gaslight and another Oscar nominated performance in the original The Manchurian Candidate (who would ever have thought that sweet Jessica Fletcher could be so diabolical). Career from 1943 to present.

Dick Van Dyke, 90 years old: 4 Emmy.  Best known for his television series The Dick Van Dyke Show with Mary Tyler Moore, and Diagnosis Murder.  He celebrated his 90th birthday with a flash mob singing of songs from Mary Poppins (in which he co-starred with Julie Andrews). Career from 1947 to present.

Mel Brooks, 90 years old: 4 Emmy, 2 Grammy, 1 Oscar, 3 Tony (another EGOT recipient).  Like Alfred Hitchcock, he made a brief appearance in many of his movies.  The Producers is my favorite of his movies, but we can't overlook Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, High Anxiety, and many others.  Both The Producers and Young Frankenstein went to Broadway as successful productions. Career 1949 to present.

Cicely Tyson, 91 years old: 3 Emmy, 1 Tony.  Currently has recurring roles in How To Get Away With Murder and House Of Cards. Career 1951 to present.

Doris Day, 92 years old.  A very successful career in movies, including popular romantic comedies with Rock Hudson, and a successful television series.  Retired from performing, but currently an animal rights advocate. Career 1948 to 1973.

Eva Marie Saint, 92 years old: 1 Oscar.  Best known for her performances in On The Waterfront (supporting actress Oscar) and North By Northwest where she co-starred with Cary Grant. Career 1954 to present.

Carl Reiner, 94 years old: 9 Emmy, 1 Grammy.  Creator, writer, and featured actor on The Dick Van Dyke Show, director of many projects (recipient of the Director's Guild of America lifetime achievement award), and real life father of actor-director Rob Reiner. Career 1950 to present.

Betty White, 94 years old: 7 Emmy, 1 Grammy. Television series include Life With Elizabeth (black and white in the early days of television), The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Golden Girls, and Hot in Cleveland.  The Guinness Book Of Records says she has had the longest television career of any female entertainer—75 years.  Career 1939 to present.

Kirk Douglas, 99 years old: 1 honorary Oscar.  Of his long list of film credits, he's probably best known for his staring roles in Spartacus and Lust For Life.  My favorite is The List Of Adrian Messenger.  He's the real life father of Michael Douglas.  He is retired, his career 1946 to 2008.

Olivia de Havilland, 100 years old: 2 Oscar.  Best known for her role as Melanie in Gone With The Wind.  Co-starred with Errol Flynn in several films including the popular Adventures Of Robin Hood.  She is retired, her career 1935 to 2009.


Ashantay said...

So many of my faves on this list! Truly talented people, all. Gotta wonder what they think of the present day movie industry. Thanks for the post.

Sandra Dailey said...

Great post Samantha. Many are my favorites. Just one thing though, didn't Carl Reiner die recently?

Samantha Gentry said...

Ashantay: Good question about their thoughts on today's movie industry. It seems that special effects now over-shadow all other aspects of film making.

Thanks for your comment.

Samantha Gentry said...

Sandra: A very talented man whose early days in television included being one of the stable of brilliant writers who worked on the old Sid Caesar comedy/variety hour which included fellow writers Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, and I think also Buck Henry. And, of course, there was the 2,000 Year Old Man routine he did with Mel Brooks. And he was the one man force behind the award winning Dick Van Dyke Show...creator, writer, producer, sometimes director, and actor as the recurring character of Alan Brady, the fictional variety star show where Dick Van Dyke's character was the head writer.

Just to double check, I Googled Carl Reiner. He's very much alive and active. In fact, one of the things I found was a Tweet he sent in the last 24 hours in response to one of Trump's proclamations.

Thanks for your comment.