Angela Lansbury, 93
Across eight decades, fans of Angela Lansbury could see her act on multiple platforms. The actress held mastery over theater, television, and the big screen alike. WWII brought her family to America, seeking refuge from the Blitz plaguing London. There, she made quick work in her transition to Hollywood, signing with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and starred in Gaslight (1944) and The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945). For her work, she earned a Golden Globe Award and two Oscar nominations.
Many consider Lansbury’s big claim to fame as the film The Manchurian Candidate (1962). After her contract with MGM ended, she temporarily moves to theater before starring in the 1962 film, which many consider an example of her finest work. Her success on the big screen would quickly transfer to the stage. Lansbury enjoyed leading roles in Sweeney Todd and The King and I. Even if she was not physically seen, she was heard, lending her memorable vocal talents to the 1991 animated classic Beauty and the Beast. As one of a handful of celebrities in their 90s, hers really is a tale as old as time.
Bob Barker, 95
The price is right about this one, Bob Barker’s success truly is beyond measure. With 16 Daytime Emmy Awards to his name, Barker became a household name for hosting not just The Price is Right but also Truth or Consequences. Barker’s career as a media personality traces back to his college years when he worked part-time in radio. By then, Barker knew what he wanted to do, and so went to California to pursue broadcasting.
From then on, television appearances and hosting opportunities kept coming. He has hosted Miss Universe and the Miss USA pageants alike and became the longest-serving host of both. His passion is not limited to television, however, as he is an avid advocate for animal rights and humane treatment and care of animals. One related group he strongly supports is the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. This makes Barker one of the several celebrities in their 90s who uses his free time to advance worthy causes. His 2007 retirement concluded five decades of television stardom.
Tony Bennett, 93
Originally Anthony Dominick Benedetto, Tony Bennett dedicated his active years to the arts. Bennett has dabbled in painting, but it is in music that he really left his mark. He drew from the Great American Songbook when compiling his repertoire, and the results brought him 18 Grammy Awards. Though, his painting should not be dismissed, as several pieces are on permanent public display in many renowned institutions.
Bennett’s passion for music made itself known early on. But it was not until after returning home from WWII that Bennett would pursue it in full. He gradually expanded his stylistic range, and would eventually utilize traditional pop standards, jazz, show tunes, and big band. Later, he worked to help others embrace the same passion he did and founded the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Astoria, Queens, New York.
Cicely Tyson, 94
The roles of Cicely Tyson can be enjoyed in many ways, from television to film, to theater. Some debate surrounds the year of Tyson’s birth, as she is very protective of her privacy. What is known for sure, however, is that Ms. Tyson developed a career that would involve several significant roles in numerous pieces of media that defined generations and set high standards for those to come.
The Harlem native displayed an early determination to pursue her wants and dreams, forsaking a typing job in favor of modeling. Even though she was prohibited from many plays and movies in her youth, Tyson was drawn to the idea of acting. This was a journey she would have to pursue on her own, however, as her religious mother feared the path she was taking. Fortunately, Tyson persisted. Luckily for audiences across the country, Tyson contributed to the success of movies such as The Help, Roots, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, and several Tyler Perry movies. In 2013 in addition to her many other recognitions and awards, Tyson won a Tony Award for her role in The Trip to Bountiful. Like other celebrities in their 90s, Tyson shows that dedication can yield stunning and impactful results.
Olivia de Havilland, 103
The Gone with the Wind star turned 103 this summer, following a career that lasted a little over five decades. Several nominations and awards mark her career between 1935 to 1988. Sister of fellow actress Joan Fontaine, de Havilland too is one of the surviving stars of the Golden Age of Classical Hollywood. Her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame burns as eternally as her lively spirit is now.
While many actresses dreamed of the Scarlett O’Hara role in Gone with the Wind, de Havilland based her desires on something more personal. Having read the novel, she related most to Melanie Hamilton. Her quiet dignity and inner strength drew the actress to her, and through a combination of determination and successful networking, she was signed on to the project on her terms. On the small screen, she received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for and Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna (1986), which explored the mystery of Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanov, and the most famous pretender of the time, Anna Anderson.