A new year is coming. How will you spend it? Carl Reiner published a book this year. He is 95 years old. The book is called “Too Busy to Die,” and it seems to sum up the attitude of a cultural mindset, maybe best exemplified by a multitude of nonagenarian celebrities. They’re a great inspiration for the rest of us. Here’s what we’ve learned from some of them:
BE AT THE TOP OF YOUR GAME
Doris Day – 95 – oldest artist to make it to the UK Top Ten
“Enjoy each day-it’s not coming back again!”
Born April 3, 1922, Doris Day is an American actress and singer, as well as a passionate animal welfare activist and founder of the Doris Day Animal League. Day began as a big band singer, but her career took off when she started her solo act. Day outdid herself as a singer by establishing herself as the biggest female star in the 1960’s, playing the lead role in Calamity Jane and co-starring with the leading men of her time. Later in her career, Day also starred in her own sitcom, The Doris Day Show. However, Day found that at the age of 89, fans loved to hear her sing. She became the oldest artist to make it to the UK Top Ten in 2011 with her album “My Heart.” In 2017, she appeared in several TV series, including Bates Motel and Call the Midwife.
NEVER STOP DOING WHAT YOU LOVE
Betty White – 95 – made the 2014 Guinness Book of World Records for having the longest TV career of any actress
“I have no regrets at all. None. I consider myself to be the luckiest old broad on two feet.”
Born January 17, 1922, Betty White has the longest-running television career of any female entertainer. Considered “unphotogenic,” White’s career started in radio – an ironic start for the woman who became the “First Lady of Game Shows” and has starred and continues to star in several popular sitcoms. White is well- known for her role in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and if given the chance, she would be ready for a reboot of the popular Golden Girls. At 95, White is thrilled to continue to do the work that she loves, and there is nothing holding her back. On her most recent birthday, White admitted that she was doing more work than relaxing, and was thankful that no one was asking her to get back in her rocking chair.
IF YOU STILL CAN, DO
Angela Lansbury – 92 – currently cast in Mary Poppins Returns, scheduled for release in December 2018.
“Here I am, I still go on, you know, like the tides.”
Born October 16, 1925, Dame Angela Brigid Lansbury, DBE is a British-American-Irish actress who is accomplished in theatre, television and film, and a successful voice actress, singer, and songwriter. Lansbury starred in the most popular detective drama series in tv history, Murder, She Wrote, and held leading roles in stage musicals like Sweeney Todd and The King and I. in 2014, Lansbury was made a Dame by Queen Elizabeth II for her contributions to art, philanthropy, and charity. Lansbury continues to tease fans with rumors of Broadway returns and Murder, She Wrote revivals, and is currently cast in Mary Poppins Returns, scheduled for release in December 2018.
PAVE THE WAY FOR OTHERS TO SUCCEED
Cicely Tyson – 92 – first African American actress to win an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress
“Challenges make you discover things about yourself that you never really knew.”
Born December 18, 1924 Cicely Tyson started her career as a fashion model. Tyson has been distinguished on several occasions for her influential role in the entertainment industry as a black woman. Tyson was nominated for an award for her role in Sounder, and won two Emmy awards for her performance in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. Tyson has held several supporting roles, and continues to challenge the industry in her roles within movies like The Help, along with several plays like The Trip to Bountiful. President Barack Obama honored Tyson with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016, and she continues to break down walls in entertainment and defy her age.
EXPAND YOUR IMPACT
Jimmy Carter – 93 – recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize for his humanitarian efforts
“You can do what you have to do, and sometimes you can do it even better than you think you can.”
Born October 1, 1924, Jimmy Carter is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States. Carter has always been active in politics, serving as the Governor of Georgia prior to being elected President. During Carter’s presidency, he formed the Department of Energy and the Department of Education, and had several international accomplishments, including the Camp David Accords. Today, he is known more notably for his efforts after Presidency, active in advancing human rights. Carter is a prominent figure in Habitat for Humanity, and has traveled extensively for peace negotiations and disease eradication in developing countries. Carter is still involved in politics and spoke often during the 2016 elections, and he continues to be active in humanitarian efforts as he partners with former Presidents to address damage done by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. Carter is the longest-retired President in history, proving that age does not lessen a person’s impact.
BE THE MOST EXTRAORDINARY VERSION OF YOURSELF
Tony Bennett – 91 – winner of the 2017 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song
“It sounds so simple, but if you just be yourself, you’re different than anyone else.”
Born August 3, 1926, Tony Bennett is an American singer that has sold over 50 million records worldwide. Bennett is also known for his painting, but created art under his birth name, Anthony Benedetto. His singing has impressed audiences since the 1950’s and made a successful comeback in the 1980’s with his soulful jazz sound. Bennett hosted evening television shows for NBC, and built a highly-sought after night-act. Hits like “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” are still favorites today, and he continues to enjoy sellout performances. Bennett insists he has no time for retirement, putting out albums and performing currently in Las Vegas.
EMBRACE THE FUN AND FUNNINESS OF LIFE
Carl Reiner – 95 – producer of the 2017 HBO show, “If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast”
“Everybody wants to laugh – you know that. They need to laugh… people need to laugh.”
Born March 20, 1922, Carl Reiner is an American comedian, actor, director and writer. Reiner was well known in television comedy, and was a prominent writer, actor, and producer of The Dick Van Dyke Show. Reiner had success in film as well, co-writing and co-directing with Steven Martin on films like The Jerk. Later in his career, Reiner partnered with Mel Brooks in a comedic act, and starred in the Ocean’s Trilogy. Reiner has been a guest star on television sitcoms such as Two and a Half Men and House, and his writing can be found in popular programs like The Cleveland Show. Reiner spends his time now writing sharp and witty books, and is active on social media. Age doesn’t mean a thing to Reiner; his satire continues to impress. In addition to publishing a book in 2017, Reiner will play Larry in the animated Duck, Duck Goose in 2018 as well as reprise his role as Saul in Ocean’s 8.
DON’T STOP IF YOU’RE HAVING A GOOD TIME
Norman Lear – 95 – currently developing his next televisions series, “Guess Who Died?”
“Life is about having a good time, and it was a good time. We did some things well and some things poorly, but that was always the case.”
Born July 27, 1922, Norman Lear is an American television writer and producer. Lear produced popular 1970’s sitcoms like One Day at a Time and The Jeffersons, and is also known for his role as a political activist. In 1981, Lear founded People for the American Way and was awarded the National Medal of Arts by former President Bill Clinton for his role in changing perceptions of American society. Lear continues to be an active supporter of First Amendment rights and is most often seen today supporting the democratic platform. Lear is now a podcaster, something he started at age 94, and is still producing a Netflix revival of One Day at a Time from the perspective of a Latino family. Lear admits that show business isn’t what it used to be, but he continues to look forward to new assignments each day.
These nonagenarians are proving that age is just a state of mind. 90 is the new 60; how will you embrace 2018?