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Oldies But Goodies: Older Stars Who Keep On Acting

April 29th, 2008 12:28pm EDT
Dustin HoffmanEveryone basically accepts that the entertainment biz is youth oriented. But in spite of the Hollywood bias, there are some older actors who keep at it. Below is a top 10 list of older folks who are still making it in showbiz (and we dare say these actors could teach Hollywood's current young whippersnappers a thing or two about how to have a long career).

10. Ellen Albertini Dow, age 89.
What's that? Her name doesn't ring a bell? Well, trust us, you know who she is. She had to make our list because at almost 90 Ellen is still lining up project after project. With her cute voice, birdlike features, and spunky demeanor, she's become TV and film's perfect "lil' old lady." Ellen didn't even start appearing in movies until her late 60s, but she sure is recognized now. You may recall her karaoke session to "Rapper's Delight" in the film "The Wedding Singer."

Ellen Albertini Dow

9. Robert Duvall, age 77.
From his big break as Boo Radley in 1962's "To Kill a Mockingbird" to today, he's been working essentially non-stop. Even now at 77, he's still reliable for turning out at least a couple film projects per year. He's good in just about anything, but we admit that, especially as he's gotten older, we love to see Duvall cast in westerns. Few men make a better modern-with-an-old-school-vibe cowboy.

Robert Duvall

8. Julie Andrews, age 72.
Since the early 2000s, she's capitalized off of her feel-good, family friendly image, lending her voice to the "Shrek" franchise and last year's "Enchanted" among other projects. In her long career, she's raked in award after award. Top that off with a good family life (she co-writes children's books with daughter, Emma, and has enjoyed a near 40-year marriage to director Blake Edwards), and we'd say this Dame (oh, that's right, did we mention she's a Dame?) has a pretty good head on her shoulders.

Julie Andrews

7. Dustin Hoffman, age 70.
Sooooo...Just try not to think of last year's "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium" as you're reading this. Even though Hoffman's made the occasional baffling career choice, he's had a strong, enduring presence in film. The poignant sensitivity and willingness to get wacky that made him charming as a young man make him all the more endearing as an older gent. We're looking forward to seeing him on the big screen again soon in the upcoming "Last Chance Harvey."

Dustin Hoffman

6. Vanessa Redgrave, age 71.
Her performance in last year's "Atonement" didn't come until the tail-end of the film, but boy did it stick with us. Her little scene, her nuanced delivery at a crucial moment in the story, served as a glue for the entire film - and perfectly demonstrated how, in one or two scenes, Vanessa Redgrave can elevate a project. She's got a history of success too, being nominated for her first BAFTA (the British equivalent of the Oscars) in 1967 and most recently in 2003.

Vanessa Redgrave

5. Harrison Ford, age 66.
At almost 66, this guy comes in as the youngest star on our list. But considering that most potential AARP members are NOT staring in one of the most anticipated action flicks of the summer ("Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull"), we give Mr. Ford major props. And besides, it's not every actor that can create so much excitement about the resurrection of a decades-old franchise (Sylvester Stallone in the new "Rambo" movie, anyone? What, no takers?).

Harrison Ford

4. Judi Dench, age 73.
She does everything from costume dramas to Bond films and injects each performance with her scene-stealing ways. She's got an authoritative air and a witty demeanor that make her a memorable figure in film. Interestingly, she was the first woman to take on the role of "M" in the James Bond franchise. And at 73, she's not slowing down - it seems she's always got an array of film, television, and stage projects in the works. And we're lovin' 'em.

Judi Dench

3. Jack Nicholson, age 71.
He's so iconic, such a Hollywood legend, that it's almost hard to imagine he's only 71. (The man's basically a fixture on Oscar night. It's hard to recall what the show was like without him there, grinning on the front row.) What's particularly cool about Jack is how in the last few years he's really embraced his age in film. With movies like "Something's Gotta Give" and "The Bucket List," he's been able to poke fun at the effects of age on his "tough guy, ladies man" persona. All we can say is, now in his 70s, lots of work and lots of play do NOT make this Jack a dull boy.

Jack Nicholson

2. Morgan Freeman, age 70.
His soothing, velvety voice was made for voiceovers. And - let's just admit it - his calm presence is so gosh-darn likeable. Combine these things with award-winning talent, and boom! You've got a name that, after four decades in show business, still carries serious box office draw. Look for him next in the sure-to-be-summer blockbusters, "The Dark Knight" and "Wanted."

Morgan Freeman

1. Clint Eastwood, age 77.
We could go into some lame cliché about how he's "like a fine wine, getting better with..." Well, you know. But honestly, just when you think Clint has reached the pinnacle of his career, he goes and outdoes himself again. From a macho-guy actor in films like "Dirty Harry" to multiple Oscar-winning director, his work has spanned genres and eras. In one sense or another, he's always redefining "cool." As a director, he's got a couple projects coming out in the next year, including "Gran Torino," in which he is slated to also star. We can't wait.

Clint Eastwood

Honorable Mentions:
With that whole "50 is the new 40" thing going around (and with 50-something hotties like Ellen Barkin, Holly Hunter, and Michelle Pfeiffer strolling red carpets…), who's to say what age means anymore? Still, it can be hard for the - oh, let's say "more mature" - ladies to find work in Hollywood.

That's why we'd like to give a special shout-out to the following women: Meryl Streep, Susan Sarandon, Glenn Close, and Diane Keaton. Although these ladies don't fit into "quite" the same age bracket as actors on our list, still, there aren't many women over 55 consistently working in Hollywood. Way to be, girls.

So who are your favorite older stars who still got it? Make a comment!

Story by Chelsea Fogleman
Starpulse contributing writer


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