The Golden Age of show business ended in the 1960s, and a new era ensued. Considering that over a century has passed since the beginnings of classic Hollywood cinema and the excitement of the roaring 1920s, it’s natural to assume that the stars who shone so bright then have passed away by now.
However, this is not the case! Many of our favorite celebrities from way back when are still alive and kicking. Some of these elderly stars are contently retired, while others continue to actively perform on the stage or appear on the silver screen till this very day.
Betty White is one of Hollywood’s most loved stars of all time and has been performing since 1930, when she was only eight years old. One of the few radio stars to transition to the screen successfully, White is the actress with the longest television career of all time, debuting on television in 1939.
Betty is well known for her role as Sue Ann in The Mary Tyler Moore show and her most significant part, Rose Nylund, in The Golden Girls. Recently this talented performer has returned to voice roles, acting in The Lorax and Toy Story 4.
Daniels began acting in the 1950s, mostly scoring guest roles in various tv series like Armstrong Circle Theater and The Defenders. His more notable appearances include his parts in The Graduate and The Blue Lagoon. However, William is best known for his role as George Feeny in the 90s show Boy Meets World.
Daniels also starred as Feeny in the 2014 spinoff series Girl Meets World and has appeared on shows including Scrubs, Grey’s Anatomy, and Boston Legal. The last part William played was the voice of KITT in the 2020 HBO film Superintelligence; he was 93 at the time.
Sophia Loren began her career at 15 years old in 1950, when she was runner up in the Miss Italia beauty pageant. A year later, while attending film school, she began acting in Italian cinema and signed a contract with Paramount Pictures in 1958, which gained her international acclaim.
Loren is most famous for her appearance in the 1961 film Two Women and the 1963 anthology Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. In 2020 Sophia appeared in an Italian movie called The Life Ahead, and in 2021 she starred in a documentary that was released on Netflix about her life.
Sir Phillip Anthony Hopkins was knighted by Queen Elizabeth the second in 1993 for his services to the arts. However, the talented actor began his career on the stage in 1960 before moving on to film after gaining acclaim for his role in The Lion in Winter.
Hopkins is revered for his Academy Award-winning portrayal of Hannibal Lecter in the 1991 thriller The Silence of the Lambs. However, he has appeared in many other famous films, including Elephant Man and Legends of the Fall. Recently, he’s appeared in Marvel’s Thor movies, The Two Popes, and is still at it.
Bob Barker is known in every home in America for hosting the game show The Price is Right from 1972 until 2007. However, that wasn’t his first game show; Barker also hosted Truth or Consequences beginning in 1956 and stopping two years after starting at The Price is Right.
Before The Price is Right, he had his own radio show called The Bob Barker show and hosted beauty pageants. He has also played himself in various shows and acted in short cameos elsewhere, including voicing a Sponge Bob SquarePants character. Barker is active today as an animal rights advocate.
The Queen made Julie Andrews a Dame of England in 2000 for her services in the performing arts. This icon began her career on the stage as a child in 1948. Her film debut was in 1964 as Mary Poppins, and she won the Oscar for her performance.
A year later, the actress starred in her most famous role, Maria Von Trapp, in the Sound of Music. Andrews didn’t slow down as she got older and starred in the Princess Diaries in 2001. Recently she has appeared primarily on voice roles, for instance, in Aquaman and Bridgerton.
A natural multi-talent, Dick Van Dyke can sing, dance, act, write and even do comedy. His performance career began on the radio and then on the stage before he was cast in 1961 as Rob Petrie in his own sitcom, The Dick Van Dyke Show.
Aside from his show, Van Dyke is known mainly for starring in musicals, including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Bye Bye Birdy, and Mary Poppins. In the past few years, he can be spotted in the Night at The Museum franchise and even appeared in the 2018 film Mary Poppins Returns.
Mel Brooks is acclaimed for his acting and his work as a comedian and a filmmaker. He is among the few talented performers to have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony. Mel began his career as a comedian and then worked writing jokes for others before progressing to film.
Brooks is most famous for making comedic films, including The Producers, Blazing Saddles, and Young Frankenstein. Furthermore, in the 80s, he directed Spaceballs and in the 90s Robinhood: Men in Tights. Most recently, Mel played a voice role as Dracula’s father in the Hotel Transylvania movies.
The American singer Tony Bennett is known for his beautiful voice and contribution to traditional pop standards, jazz, and big band music. Bennett began singing as a child, and his first hit was “Because of You,” released in 1951. Tony’s most well-known song came out in 1962 and is called “I Left My Heart In San Francisco.”
Tony made a comeback in the 80s and again in 2014 when he collaborated with Lady Gaga. Together they released the Grammy Winning Album, Cheek to Cheek. Tony has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease but hasn’t let it stop him from performing.
Jon Voight became a household name in 1969 for his acclaimed portrayal as Joe Buck in Midnight Cowboy. Before that, he mostly played guest roles on television and appeared in westerns. Voight continued to act in many prominent films and is also idolized for being the father of actress Angelina Jolie.
Jon acted as his daughter’s on-screen father in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. Throughout the 2000s, he also appeared in Zoolander, Holes, Transformers, and many more films. Voight starred from 2013 until 2020 as Mickey in the series Ray Donavan. In 2020, he appeared in the movie Roe v. Wade.
Jerry Lee Lewis is among the most important and influential musicians of the twentieth century. This talented pianist was known for more than his rock and roll rhythms. He also had quite the reputation, even gaining the nickname “The Killer.” He is mainly known for his 1957 hit song “Great Balls of Fire.”
However, Lewis’s popularity didn’t last after he married his thirteen-year-old cousin Myra. In the 1960s, he transitioned to country music, where he has remained successful even today. In 2020 he recorded a gospel cover album and still performs occasionally. The singer has been married seven times.
Sidney Poitier is acclaimed for his roles, among others, in the 1959 film Porgy and Bess and the 1963 film Raisin in the Sun. Throughout his career, the Bahamian American actor focused on movies that dealt with race relations and significantly impacted Hollywood.
Poitier also directed movies, including Stir Crazy in 1980. Since 2012, Sidney has been the oldest man alive to have won the Oscar for Best Actor. The actor/director retired in the early 2000s and has since stayed primarily out of the spotlight, aside from appearing as a presenter at the Academy Awards.
Loretta Lynn is an American country singer, who has been performing for sixty years, has written over one hundred and sixty songs, and has released sixty albums. Lynn is perhaps the most acclaimed female country singer in history. Among her most famous songs are “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin'” and “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”
The talented musician has won three Grammys and earned numerous gold albums. Unfortunately, she has given up on touring since 2017, after suffering a stroke and breaking her hip. Loretta has had six children and has been a grandmother since she was thirty-four years old.
Tommy Lee Jones began his performance career on Broadway after graduating from Harvard. His name his film debut in 1970, in the famous movie Love Story. Jones won a Golden Globe for portraying no other than Loretta Lynn’s husband in Coal Miner’s Daughter. His most notable performances were in Batman Forever and Men in Black.
Tommy Lee reprised his Men in Black role in 2012, later that year appearing in the acclaimed film Lincoln. More recently, Jones has appeared in Ad Astra alongside Brad Pitt and Liv Tyler and in The Comeback Trail and hasn’t shown signs of slowing down.
Billy Dee Williams is most widely revered for his role in Star Wars as Lando Calrissian. However, Williams was acting long before the 1980s; he first graced the screen in the 1959 film The Last Angry Man and became famous after appearing in Brian’s Song in 1971.
Billy Dee also played the villainous Harvey Dent in Batman and has appeared in his fair share of television roles. In 2019, to the excitement of his fans, Williams played Lando again in The Rise of Skywalker. Despite his age, Williams is in great shape, even recently competing on Dancing with the Stars.
Marla Gibbs began acting in the 1970s in films such as Black Belt Jones. However, her breakout role was in 1975, as Florence Johnston in the popular sitcom The Jeffersons. Gibbs has also appeared in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Judging Amy, and ER, among other television shows.
More recently, she appeared in Scandal, American Horror Story: Hotel, and on the Grey’s Anatomy spinoff, Station 19 on ABC. In 2019, Gibbs played Jean in the Breaking Bad movie El Camino. She has continued to appear in many television shows in guest parts since. Her daughter Angela is also an actress.
John Astin’s thespian career started on the stage; however, he quickly moved to film, appearing in West Side Story in 1961. Gomez Addams was Astin’s most famous role in The Addams Family tv series from the 1960s. John stayed active throughout the 20th century, starring in the original Freaky Friday in 1976.
His last role was in Justice League Action in 2017. Since then, the actor has mostly retired from the screen and lives in Baltimore, Maryland, with his wife. He is a practicing Buddhist and an acting professor at his alma mater, John Hopkins University.
Richard Chamberlain was an American icon in the 1960s for his role in the series Dr. Kildare. In 1970 he starred in Julius Caesar, alongside Charlton Heston, and in 1988 played Jason Bourne in the original The Bourne Identity. Chamberlain has won three Golden Globes and has been nominated for a Grammy.
Chamberlain has been a series regular and a guest star on numerous tv shows including, The Thorn Birds, Will & Grace, and Desperate Housewives. In 2017, Richard played Bill Kennedy in David Lynch’s series Twin Peaks, and in 2018 appeared in the film Nightmare Cinema.
Tippi Hedren was a successful model before Alfred Hitchcock cast her as the star of his 1963 film The Birds and his 1964 film, Marnie. The actress complained of misconduct on the part of Hitchcock, and her career had a setback for a while.
Tippi has remained active on tv and film, appearing in I Heart Huckabees, Raising Hope, and The Ghost and the Whale. However, Hedren is known for more than her acting; she’s Melanie Griffith’s mother, Dakota Johnson’s grandmother, and is famous for her animal activism. She lives with 14 lions at her animal reserve.
Clu Gulager entered the spotlight after starring as Billy the Kid in the 1962 series The Tall Man. After that, he continued with television, starring in The Virginian before being cast in motion pictures. He appeared in The Killers in 1964 and the 1971 film The Last Picture Show.
Clu mostly dabbled in horror, appearing in The Return of the Living Dead and A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 in 1985 and a few horror flicks directed by his son. Clu’s last appearance was in 2019, in Quentin Tarantino’s film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Kim Novak began acting in 1954 at Columbia Pictures; her first role was in Pushover. Novak’s most famous career-making role was in 1958 as Madeleine/Judy in Vertigo, directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Other notable films of Kim’s include Bell, Book, and Candle, The Mirror Crack’d, Just a Gigolo, and Middle of the Night.
In 1992 Novak officially retired from the silver screen and hasn’t returned since. She now focuses on music, photography, and poetry and has inspired the performances of prominent actresses, including Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts. In 2005, Alexander McQueen named a bag after her.
George Hamilton started acting on television before progressing to film in 1959. His breakout role was in Crime and Punishment U.S.A, and he is well known for starring in, Where The Boys Are, By Love Possessed, and Love at First Bite.
Hamilton has appeared in over one-hundred and twenty films, not including tv.
George also appeared in The Godfather Part III in 1990 and is also Colonel Sanders in KFC’s commercials. Lately, he appeared in the series 2 Broke Girls in 2016, Grace and Frankie in 2019, and American Housewife. His has film role was in Swiped in 2018.
Eva Marie Saint is the quintessential classic Hollywood starlet, known for her acting in Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest, alongside Cary Grant. She also starred in On the Waterfront, an Elia Kazan film in 1954, opposite Marlon Brando. Other notable performances include A Hatful of Rain and Exodus.
Eva Marie dabbled in television too, appearing in People Like Us and Frasier. In 2005 she starred in the movie Because of Winn-Dixie and opposite Jessica Lange in Don’t Come Knocking. Saint’s last role in a film was in Winter’s Tale in 2014. In 2018 she appeared as a presenter at the Oscars.
Ed Asner made his mark on the small screen in the late 50s before being cast in numerous films. Essential roles of Asner’s include Bast Jason in El Dorado and Lou Grant in The Mary Tyler Moore Show. In the 90s, he voiced J. Jonah in the animated Spider-Man tv series.
Ed has appeared in over a hundred tv shows throughout his career, the last being Dug Days. Many of his roles were voice roles. Asner is also known for his portrayal of Santa in the 2003 film, Elf one of many Christmas movies in which he’s appeared.
Jackie Mason was a rabbi before he became a comedian. In 1956 he started doing standup and writing his own jokes. Considered ahead of his time, Mason had it hard at first but soon appeared on the radio and a few television comedy series. In the 1960s, he debuted on Broadway.
He has acted in the films The Jerk and History of the World Part I and has continued writing comedy for Broadway. Jackie has even performed a few one-person shows, including Love Thy Neighbor. Jackie was critically acclaimed for voicing Rabbi Hyman Krustofski on the Simpsons.
Known only by her first name, the multi-talented Swedish American actress Ann-Margret can also sing and dance. She began acting in 1961 and at the same time also recorded her debut album. Ann’s fundamental breakthrough role was the part of Kim in Bye Bye Birdie.
The actress also starred alongside Elvis Presley in Viva Las Vegas in 1964, and they even recorded a few songs together for the film. Other notable performances include The Cincinnati Kid and Carnal Knowledge. Still at it, Ann-Margret has recently appeared in Ray Donavan, The Kominsky Method, Queen Bees, and Happy!
British American Angela Lansbury was made a Dame by Queen Elizabeth the second in 2014. Her breakout role was in 1944 in the film Gaslight, followed by National Velvet the same year and The Picture of Dorian Gray in 1945. Lansbury has continued to appear in films from the 1940s until today consistently.
Aside from film and tv, Angela is also known for her thespian talents on the stage and has been in numerous Broadway shows, including Mame and Hamlet. More recent successes of Angela’s include Nanny McPhee, Mary Poppins Returns, and the 2017 television rendition of Little Women.
The man who popularized dance trends from the limbo to the twist, Chubby Checker is a groundbreaking musician and performer. Among his most famous songs are his 1960 cover of “The Twist” and his 1961 song “Let’s Twist Again.” After the 60s, Chubby didn’t remain for long in the limelight.
However, Checker has still consistently released songs since then, including the chart-topping single “Knock Down the Walls” in 2008 and “Changes” in 2013. Checker’s daughter Mistie Bass is a player in the WNBA, and he is currently highly appreciated for his work raising funds for animal rights.
Bob Newhart is known for his standup comedy, although he also has done his fair share of acting. Before being hired as a radio DJ, he started in accounting, then advertising, and started doing standup around 1960. He was very successful and even got his own television show in 1961.
Newhart also became an actor, appearing in Catch-22, Elf, Legally Blond 2, and Horrible Bosses. His television career was no less impressive with appearances in ER, Desperate Housewives, NCIS, The Big Band Theory, and its recent spinoff Young Sheldon.
Paul Michael Glaser became a star for playing Dave Starsky in the 1970s series Starsky and Hutch. Glaser also played Perchick in the 1971 film Fiddler on the Roof. This talented old-timer is even more admired for his work as a director, with five films and numerous television episodes to his name.
Recent roles of Glaser’s include Leo in the show Grace and Frankie and Alan in Ray Donavan. Paul is also an artist and had a solo exhibition in 2018. The actor hasn’t officially retired from acting and has expressed that he’s open to anything.
Carole Cook began her life as a performer on Broadway in the 50s and then added television and film to her resume. Cook appeared in a recurring role on The Lucy Show in the 60s and around the same time made her foray into cinema, appearing in Palm Springs Weekend in 1963.
Carole also acted in the 80s hit Sixteen Candles alongside Molly Ringwald. Cook has also been on numerous tv shows, including Dynasty, Grey’s Anatomy, The Love Boat, Starsky and Hutch, and Charlie’s Angels. Her last film was Waiting in the Wings: Still Waiting in 2018.
Though his face may not be easily recognizable, Norman Lear is known for his work behind the camera. A talented writer, director, and producer, he has created and developed numerous sitcoms, including All in the Family, Maude, The Jeffersons, and One Day at a Time.
Lear also produced The Princess Bride and two more rob Reiner films. He is still at it, developing remakes for his works, like the 2021 Good Times revival on Netflix and One day at a Time’s 2017 reboot. Norman is also a political activist and founded People for the American Way, an advocacy organization.
Larry Storch began his career as a standup comedian during the Great Depression, quitting school to make money for his family. Due to his vast talents, he was cast as a guest in numerous tv shows, including Columbo, Fantasy Island, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Gilligan’s Island, and The Doris Day Show.
Later he went on to appear in The Love Boat and Married… With Children. He has an impressive film catalog appearing in the 1960 film Who Was That Lady? and four more Tony Curtis films. Storch went on acting through till 2005 before retiring.
Harry Belafonte is a Jamaican American pop legend, famous for “The Banana Boat Song” and “Jump in The Line.” He was credited with making Calypso music internationally popular in the 1950s and starred in quite a few movies, such as Carmen Jones and Island in the Sun.
Belafonte was also a key participant in the Civil Rights Movement and is still a political activist today. In 2017 the musician released an anthology album, and in 2018 he guest-starred in the Spike Lee film, BlacKkKlansman, playing an elderly Civil Rights activist like himself.
Nancy Sinatra is known for more than being the daughter of the iconic Frank Sinatra. She was the voice of an era, with 1966 hits like “These Boots Are Made for Walking” and “Sugartown.” The singer also recorded the James Bond theme for You Only Live Twice in 1967.
Nancy is further known for her collaboration with Lee Hazelwood, culminating in the transcendent 1968 album Nancy & Lee. Their work together includes the timeless hits “Summerwine” and “Some Velvet Morning.” Nancy retired from music in 2014 and has an online store called Nancy’s Boutique.
Max Baer Jr. is not only an actor but is known for his screenwriting and production as well. Max’s breakout role was as Jethro Bodine in the series The Beverly Hillbillies. In 1974, he wrote, produced, and acted in Macon County Line, a box office hit.
Baer was the first person to use a pop song title as the title and plot of a film in the 1976 Ode to Billy Joel. His last acting job was in Murder She Wrote in 1991. Baer has been retired from show business since the 1980s and is a multimillionaire businessman.
America fell in love with John James for his performances in daytime soap operas. His first part was on Search for Tomorrow before he was cast in his breakout role in 1981 as Jeff Colby on Dynasty. In the 80s, James appeared on The Love Boat and The Colbys, a Dynasty spinoff.
In the 2000s, he was on All My Children for a few seasons and often appeared in As the World Turns. John has acted sporadically in the past decade; his last role was in the 2020 film Axcellerator. His daughter Laura won America’s Next Top Model in 2012.
Singer and songwriter Kris Kristofferson is alive and well and continued touring until 2020. Kristofferson is best known for writing “Me and Bobby McGee,” which became a hit when his ex, Janis Joplin, recorded it in 1971. Kris wrote numerous songs that were popularized by other musicians while also composing all his own tracks.
Kristofferson’s music career began in the 60s when he moved to Nashville, where he gained the attention of Johnny Cash after many failed attempts, who agreed to record Kris’s song “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down.” The success of Cash’s recording set of Kristofferson’s incredible career.