Living past 90 is hard enough all by itself. To remain busy well past retirement age is in its own category altogether. One of the great things about being an actor, however, is that there is no “retirement age,” because there are always stories to be told about people young and old.
Fortunately, many actors improve with age and find great roles to play in film and television, sometimes providing voiceover work that’s less physically demanding, but rewarding nonetheless. And like Clint Eastwood, some iconic performers have remained relevant and active well into their golden years.
Updated on February 18th, 2022, by Lynn Gibbs: The loss of legendary actress Betty White hit the film world hard when she passed away just before her 100th birthday. One of the biggest questions before her death was, “How old was Betty White?” because she continued acting and showing up at Hollywood events with the same gumption and class she did when she was younger. But Betty isn’t the only actor that continued working in her late 90s. There’s a string of other actors who continue to show off their amazing acting chops.
Clint Eastwood (91)
Actor-director Clint Eastwood turned 91 in May 2021 and hasn’t slowed his work schedule down one bit. He’s a four-time Oscar winner whose resume as a performer and a filmmaker are equally impressive. He recently directed himself in the 2018 thriller, The Mule, and has wrapped production on his latest film, Cry Macho, in which he once again works both behind and in front of the camera.
As a director of some of the best westerns and non-western movies in modern cinema, Eastwood seems to get stronger with age, as he’s directed an astonishing 19 films since the year 2000, which have been nominated for a combined 34 Academy Awards.
William Shatner (90)
Canadian actor William Shatner has been acting for over 70 years, having his first role as a cook in the 1950s, The Butler’s Night Off. Since then, Shatner became known as Kirk in Star Trek, Denny Crane in Boston Legal, and even for 3rd Rock from the Sun.
Shatner is approaching his 91st birthday in March and hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down with work. In 2022 he lent his voice to Fireheart and he currently has one movie in post-production (Keeper of the Cup) and one recently completed spot in a TV series (The Elevator).
James Earl Jones (91)
A true giant of the stage and screen, James Earl Jones turned 91 years old this January. His most famous role is being the voice of Darth Vader in the Star Wars films, but over the course of his career, he’s amassed nearly 200 film acting credits, as well as over 40 Broadway and Off-Broadway theatre credits including the groundbreaking play The Great White Hope, which earned him a Tony award in 1969 and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in 1971.
His most recent appearances include stage revivals of The Gin Game and The Night of the Iguana, and of course, on film, where he reprised his role as Mufasa for the 2019 remake of The Lion King. He reprised his performance as King Jaffe Joffer in 2021s Coming 2 America.
James Hong (93)
James Hong turned 93 in February 2022 and has been acting since the ’50s. If that isn’t impressive by itself, Hong has been in over 600 shows and movies, according to his IMDb profile — and he’s still going.
Fans of Hong can see him in his most recent project, the TV series Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny as Mr. Ping. He also has three other projects coming out this year: Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai, Everything Everywhere All at Once, and his voice can be heard in Turning Red. As busy as 2022 will be for Hong, he has two more projects in post-production.
June Squibb (92)
June Squibb turned 92 years old in November and is easily one of the most beloved actresses in Hollywood. Squibb didn’t start acting until the ’80s and has since been in In & Out, About Schmidt, and more notably Nebraska, for which she won multiple awards.
In more recent years, Squib has been in Little Ellen and The Fungies. Her role in Family Squares was recently completed and is set to release this year, and it was just announced that she would portray Elayne Croslee in Back of Book.
Estelle Parsons (94)
Estelle Parsons is an actor’s actor if ever there was one. She’s amassed numerous credits in film and television, and she’s also a Broadway and Off-Broadway theatre performer. She won an Academy Award for her portrayal of the hysterical Blanche in 1967’s Bonnie and Clyde and went on to star in numerous films and television shows such as Paul Newman’s drama Rachel, Rachel and the Barbra Streisand comedy For Pete’s Sake.
The character the actress is best known to modern audiences for her work in Roseanne, where she appeared in 61 episodes as the titular character’s grating grandmother Beverly Harris. Her latest portrayal was the same character in the fan-favorite spin-off series, The Connors.
Lisa Lu (95)
After immigrating to the United States in the ’50s, Lisa Lu got her first shot in the TV show, The Gale Storm Show: Oh! Susanna in 1958. Since then, Lu has created an incredible career for herself, winning Golden Horse Awards for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress three years in a row.
In January, Lu turned 95 and has been in projects like General Hospital, 2012, and more recently the Asian-American hit, Crazy Rich Asians. According to IMDb, she’s also rumored to portray Grandma Jia in A Dream of Red Mansions.
Mel Brooks (95)
Legendary comedian, writer, actor, and producer Mel Brooks is still going strong at 95 years old. He’s the comic mind behind such hilarious movies as Blazing Saddles, Spaceballs, and of course, The Producers, which he later developed into a mega-hit Broadway musical. He also played himself in season four of Curb Your Enthusiasm, where he casts Larry David in the play’s leading role, hoping to sabotage the production just as Max Bialystock looks to do in the play-within-the-play.
Brooks’ most current voice-over role is in the upcoming animated film Blazing Samurai, on which he also serves as executive producer. He also published a memoir, All About Me!: My Remarkable Life in Show Business. According to his IMDb profile, Brooks also has a TV movie, Fairy Tale Forest, coming to screen.
Dick Van Dyke (96)
In 1961, The Dick Van Dyke Show premiered and would air a whopping 158 episodes over the next five years. This was only the beginning of the legendary career of Dick Van Dyke, who went on to star in films like Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and dozens more over the next several decades.
At 96 years old, age hasn’t slowed him down a bit. He’s currently set to play a leading role in the upcoming comedy Capture The Flag, about a group of war veterans who compete in a game of capture the flag for the opportunity to raise their town’s American flag every morning.
Angela Lansbury (96)
English actress Angela Lansbury made her film debut way back in 1944 when she played a supporting role in the still-famous drama Gaslight, for which she received an Oscar nomination. She was nominated again the following year for The Picture of Dorian Gray, and again in 1962 for The Manchurian Candidate. Lansbury never won an Oscar for a specific role but was given a lifetime achievement award at the 2014 ceremony.
In addition to her film work, she’s a renowned theatre actress, having earned a record five Tony Awards, most recently for her roles in the 2009 Broadway revival of Blithe Spirit. She is best remembered for her television work on CBS’s creepy mystery series Murder, She Wrote, which ran from 1984 to 1996.
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