40 Iconic Stars You Probably Had No Idea Are Still Going Strong Today

Getting old is something most of us dread. The grey hairs, the memory loss, the increased frailty. But these remarkable celebrities have taken it all in their stride. Many of them have continued to achieve and be active in their twilight years. For them, age really is just a number. From legendary actors to esteemed professors and ageless models, here are 40 iconic celebs you may not have been aware are still going strong.

40. Gene Hackman

Gene Hackman is arguably one of the finest American actors of the last half century or so. The former Marine’s acting ability was rewarded with Oscars on two occasions, as Popeye Doyle in The French Connection and “Little” Bill Daggett in Unforgiven. The nonagenarian’s final big screen appearance was in Welcome to Mooseport in 2004. Happy retirement, Gene.

39. Noam Chomsky

The world’s most cited living author, Noam Chomsky is one of America’s greatest ever thinkers. The Philadelphia-born professor’s work radically transformed linguistics. And he’s arguably been the foremost critic of world capitalism. Now at 92, he shows no sign of slowing down, still teaching and writing books – over 150 of them.The nonagenarian has pointed to the bicycle theory for his longevity, saying, “as long as you keep riding, you don’t fall.”

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38. Sophia Loren

One of the most celebrated actresses of the 20th Century, Sophia Loren is a name very few of us don’t know. The Italian has won numerous accolades and plentiful acclaim for her performance in films such as Houseboat, Lady L and It Started in Naples. Now in her 80s, the former pin-up is still active, appearing in the Italian drama The Life Ahead in 2020.

37. Norman Lloyd

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Norman Lloyd might not be the most famous actor on this list, but he may be the most remarkable. That’s because, at the time of writing, he is the oldest known working actor on the planet. Yes, at the old age of 106, he is still making movies, meaning he has enjoyed a ten-decade career. And he started out in 1923, a full six years before the Wall Street Crash. His most recent work was 2015’s Trainwreck.

36. Angela Lansbury

Dame Angela Lansbury is a legendary award-winning actress. You most likely know the London born thespian from her role as Jessica Fletcher in the popular TV series Murder She Wrote, which she starred in for 12 years. But Lansbury has done so much more, from theater and film to television. Her first movie was 1944’s Gaslight, and she has not given up her passion just because she’s reached her 90s. Yes, her latest movie role is in pre-production.

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35. Anthony Hopkins

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Anthony Hopkins is a both a hugely popular and acclaimed actor. The Silence of the Lambs star has received plentiful awards for his often charismatic character acting, chiefly an Oscar, two Emmys and three BAFTAs. Plus the Welshman’s impact on the arts has been such that he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. Now in his eighth decade, Hopkins has continued to appear in films, including The Father and Elyse in 2020.

34. Tony Bennett

Who doesn’t love Tony Bennett? Even if his jazzy pop music isn’t your thing, it’s hard not to warm to the likable crooner. He’s enjoyed a career spanning seven decades, which has involved many ups and downs and a big comeback in the 1990s. In recent times the now nonagenarian has performed with contemporary stars such as the late Amy Winehouse and pop princess Lady Gaga.

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33. Dick Van Dyke

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Who doesn’t love Dick Van Dyke? The actor and funnyman has enjoyed a long career on the big and small screens. He is perhaps best known for his starring roles on The Dick Van Dyke Show and Diagnosis Murder, and movies Chitty, Chitty Bang , Mary Poppins and Dick Tracy. Van Dyke is still active in his 90s, appearing on the TV Series Kidding in 2020.

32. Julie Andrews

Julie Andrews is one of England’s most celebrated actresses. The star of Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music has enjoyed a seven decade long career at the top. And her legendary status was underlined when Queen Elizabeth II made her a Dame in 2000. She has also won most of the major acting awards and continues to work in her 80s, lending her voice to the TV Series Bridgerton in 2020.

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31. Bob Barker

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Bob Barker is a household name in America primarily due to him hosting The Price is Right for 35 years. Yes, Barker was the affable host of the TV game show – the longest-running daytime program of its kind – lasting until 2007. He also hosted a popular radio show prior to that, fittingly titled The Bob Barker Show. The animal rights activist is in his 90s now, and he’s retired from television, so hopefully he’s enjoying a well-earned rest.

30. Tippi Hedren

Tippi Hedren shot to fame after appearing in the Alfred Hitchcock classics Marnie and The Birds. Prior to Hollywood, Hedren toiled as a model, before a TV commercial brought her to the attention of Hitchcock. The nonagenarian is still occasionally active, lending her voice to Something Horrible in 2018 and appearing in drama Cougar Town in 2013. She is mom to actress Melanie Griffith and grandmother to Dakota Johnson.

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29. Loretta Lynn

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Loretta Lynn has gone from enfant terrible to the grand old woman of country music. The Kentucky native has released a staggering 45 solo albums during her six decade recording career and toured for almost 50 years until a stroke in 2017. Now into her late 80s, Lynn has remained musically active. In fact, her latest solo album is due for release in March 2021, with another planned too.

28. Kim Novak

Before she largely left acting in the late 1960s, Kim Novak was a big name in Hollywood. The Chicago born actress began her career in the 1950s and went on to star in the likes of Picnic, The Man with the Golden Arm and Vertigo. The latter movie – a top drawer Hitchcock thriller – is perhaps her finest moment. Novak appeared sporadically in TV and film after the 1960s but quit for good in 1991 to enjoy a long retirement.

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27. Gloria Henry

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Gloria Henry is perhaps best known to American audiences as Alice Mitchell, the mother of Dennis in the sitcom Dennis the Menace. Before that, the New Orleans born actress appeared in films, including her 1946 debut Sport of Kings, romcom Miss Grant Takes Richmond and western Rancho Notorious . Now close to 100, her last TV appearance to date was in a 2012 episode of the sitcom Parks and Recreation.

26. James Earl Jones

James Earl Jones is a real titan of acting. For over seven decades he lit up theaters, cinemas and living rooms with his versatile roles. And he is perhaps best known to audiences for starring in The Hunt For Red October and Field of Dreams. But let’s not forget his voicing of Darth Vader in the Star Wars series, too. Despite turning 90, he’s still working, with a new film Coming 2 America set for release.

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25. Carole Cook

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Carole Cook got her acting break way back in 1956, and the Texan had barely stopped since. Appearing in movies, on television and in musical theater, famous works of hers include the motion picture The Gauntlet and TV series Dynasty, Cagney & Lacey and Knight Rider. Now in her late 90s, Cook’s most recent foray into acting was in the 2018 film Waiting in the Wings: Still Waiting.

24. Larry Storch

Larry Storch is a name you might not know by heart, but you’ve most likely seen – or heard him – in a film or TV show. That’s because according to IMDB, the comic and voice actor has a remarkable 246 credits to his name. Storch’s most recent credit was an appearance in the TV series Medium Rare in 2010. Now closing in on the big 100, it’s unlikely but not impossible he’ll show up in something again.

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23. Joan Copeland

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The little sister of the famed playwright Arthur Miller, Joan Copeland was a successful actress in her own right. She started out in acting way back in the mid-1940s, and she’s perhaps most famous for her work on Broadway, such as 1981’s The American Clock. As she approaches 100, the New Yorker has long since retired. And her last major credit was the 2009 movie The Private Lives of Pippa Lee.

22. Ed Asner

You most likely know Ed Asner from The Mary Taylor Moore Show, on which he played the grumpy yet likable newsman Lou Grant. His popularity on the sitcom with audiences led to a spin-off Lou Grant, which focused more prominently on his character. Asner won Emmys for his work on both shows and also appeared in movies such as El Dorado and Elf. Now into his 90s, he is still acting regularly, with numerous projects in the offing.

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21. Bob Newhart

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Bob Newhart rose to fame in the 1960s via his stand-up performances and his best selling comedy albums. The Illinois born funnyman then transitioned into TV, starring on the sitcoms The Bob Newhart Show and Newhart. Now into his 10th decade on planet earth, Newhart is keeping himself busy, voicing Professor Proton in the TV series Young Sheldon in 2020.

20. Sir David Attenborough

Sir David Attenborough is regarded as a national treasure in his native United Kingdom. The naturalist and broadcaster is beloved for his thrilling nature documentaries. These award-winning docs include Life on Earth and Frozen Planet. Now deep into his 90s, he is continuing to work hard. As recently as 2020 the film David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet was released, which covered his remarkable life and hopes for the future of the planet.

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19. Eve Marie Saint

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Eva Marie Saint has enjoyed a career in Hollywood totalling an incredible 75 years. The New Jersey born actress has appeared in numerous iconic films, such as Hitchcock’s North By Northwest and Elia Kazan’s On the Waterfront. And her performance in the latter earned her an Oscar. At the time of writing, the still active nonagenarian is the oldest living Oscar winner.

18. George Lazenby

George Lazenby is best known for playing James Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. The Australian was a model at the time of his casting in the 1969 film, based on Ian Fleming’s novels. It would be his only turn as 007, but Lazenby would appear in a wide variety of movies and TV series over the next 50 years, including Gettysburg and, erm, Baywatch. The octogenarian is still active, with several projects in pre-production.

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17. Sidney Poitier

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You’ll most likely know Sidney Poitier as the first black man to win the Best Actor Oscar, for the movie Lilies of the Field. That landmark win was in 1964, and the Miami born star went on to have a lengthy and varied career in front and behind the camera. He effectively retired in 2001 after the TV movie The Last Brickmaker in America. And President Obama presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom back in 2009.

16. Jill St. John

Jill St. John will forever be remembered as the first Bond girl from the United States. The Californian appeared in the Roger Moore starring 007 flick Diamonds Are Forever as the red-haired temptress Tiffany Case. St. John has appeared in many movies and TV shows since, from Tender is the Night to Seinfeld. And she’s married to the veteran actor Robert Wagner.

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15. Robert Wagner

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Robert Wagner has enjoyed a fruitful career on TV, the stage and in film. The Detroit-born actor starred on the small screen’s It Takes a Thief and Switch, also appearing in the movies The Pink Panther and later Austin Powers. Wagner was present when the actress – and his then wife – Natalie Wood drowned in 1981. After years he was named a “person of interest” in the unsolved case, but has always maintained his innocence.

14. Mel Brooks

Mel Brooks is in an exclusive club of people that have won the whole award set for the American arts: that’s an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Tony (an EGOT). The legendary funnyman and filmmaker won the Oscar for his classic comedy The Producers, with one Grammy and several Tonys coming for the Broadway version of it. And the Emmy was first achieved for his variety show writing. Now into his 90s, the Blazing Saddles legend shows no sign of slowing down.

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13. Norman Lear

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Norman Lear is a name you might not know, but you’ve almost certainly watched something that he wrote. We’re talking Sanford and Son, All in the Family, and The Jeffersons, amongst many others. Even as he closes in on the big 100, Lear is still active and working: his most recent project being the TV series One Day at a Time, which ran from 2017 until 2020.

12. Gena Rowlands

Hollywood legend Gena Rowlands enjoyed an award-winning acting career for over half a century. She appeared in movies, on stage and on TV, working with legendary director – and her late husband – John Cassavetes on ten films. Notable works include Gloria and The Notebook, the latter directed by her son Nick. The veteran actress’ final project before a richly deserved retirement was the 2017 short Unfortunate Circumstances.

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11. Berry Gordy

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If you don’t know Berry Gordy by name, then you almost certainly know his songs. The Motown head honcho wrote such classics as “Do You Love Me,” “Lonely Teardrops” and “Reet Petite.” He also ran the Motown business, produced records for artists such as The Miracles and penned many of the hits for the Jackson 5. President Obama rewarded his lifetime’s work with the National Medal of Arts in 2016.

10. Jerry Lee Lewis

With a nickname like “The Killer,” it should come as no surprise that Jerry Lee Lewis is a bit of a Wildman. The veteran rock ‘n’ roller started back in the 1950s, recording hits such as “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” and “Great Balls of Fire.” His controversial marriage to his 13-year-old cousin harmed his career, but he came back with a vengeance in the 1960s and is still performing sporadically.

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9. Carmen Dell’Orefice

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Carmen Dell’Orefice began modeling back in 1946, a year after the end of World War II. And incredibly, the American is still working as a model today, as she closes in on 90. Yes, Dell’Orefice – who landed on the cover of Vogue aged 15 – admirably refuses to give up her passion, and has smashed beauty norms and ageism in the process. Hats off.

8. Jackie Mason

Jackie Mason made his name in stand-up comedy, before getting into movies and TV. Famous for his unique voice and sense of innuendo, you’ll likely remember him from his many appearances on the The Ed Sullivan Show or his Broadway runs. Despite having reached his 90s, he hasn’t fully retired.

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7. Daphne Selfe

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Another model who has admirably defied expectations of beauty is Daphne Selfe. The Englishwoman has been modelling since 1949. And she has no plans to give it up any time soon, harboring a deep love of traversing the globe and going on new adventures. The nonagenarian also tries to help other people to achieve their dreams, and she should know given her dream life.

6. Burt Bacharach

Burt Bacharach should need little introduction. A prolific record producer, songwriter and pianist, he has enjoyed a career spanning seven decades now. Many of the songs he co-wrote with the late lyricist Hal David became hits, including “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” and “That’s What Friends Are For.” Now into his 90s, Bacharach is still an active artist, composing the soundtrack for the movie A Boy Called Po in 2017.

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5. Raquel Welch

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Following her bikini-clad appearance in One Million Years B.C., Raquel Welch became a leading sex symbol of the 1960s and 1970s. The auburn-haired actress was never the most critically adored – but a huge favorite of men and teenage boys. And she did win a Golden Globe in 1974 for her performance in The Three Musketeers. Now in her 80s, Welch still works occasionally, appearing in the 2017 TV sitcom Date My Dad.

4. Sir Michael Caine

Another great English actor is Sir Michael Caine. The double Oscar winner has been on the big screen ever since his breakthrough in the Swinging Sixties. Indeed, Caine has appeared in over 130 movies, many of them classics such as Get Carter and Alfie. And his work ethic has not diminished due to his advancing years, with the knighted Londoner filming a number of new projects at the time of writing.

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3. Eddie Robinson

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At the time of writing, Eddie Robinson is the oldest surviving baseball player in America. And the oldest to win the World Series, too. Plus the most senior living player of the New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, Baltimore Orioles, Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers, Philadelphia and Kansas City Athletics, and Washington Senators. You get the picture. He is a legend, and judging by his interview with CBSDFW to mark his 100th birthday, he is still remarkably lucid.

2. Chubby Checker

An early rock ‘n’ roll pioneer, Chubby Checker became an overnight sensation upon the release of his hit single “The Twist.” Actually a spirited cover of a Hank Ballard song, the catchy slice of rock ‘n’ roll and its accompanying dance went huge, meaning Checker’s place in rock history was assured. That’s not to say he rested on his laurels, as the star continued to make music in the following decades, and still performs live today.

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1. Betty White

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The legendary comedienne and actress Betty White began her long career in the 1930s and is the longest running star of TV. She is perhaps best known for her performances in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and The Golden Girls. At the time of writing, White is closing in on 100. She has continued to work, becoming the oldest host of Saturday Night Live in 2010 and lending her vocal talents to the movies Toy Story 4 and Trouble in 2019.

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