Does it make you sad when you realize how old an actor really is

In another thread I stated that William Shatner is 79, Geez he is older then Larry King- and I got to thinking about how old many of the actors, actresses and musicians are that I grew up watching and listening to are.

Does it make you sad to think that many of these people are that old and they could drop dead any day? Not to be gross or morbid, but it is sorta true, and are there many actors that are as good as some of these oldies yet? Like Icon level stars ya know


Shatner's pretty vibrant for someone almost 80. Certainly doesn't seem like he's that old. Clint Eastwod turns 80 next month. Al Pacino just turned 70. Sure they could drop dead but so could a young actor. Look at Heath Ledger. Had a potential 40-50 year career ahead of him.


I don't fixate on the fact that old actors are old. I watched Chuck last night: Zach Levy is 29; Yvonne Strzechowski is 27. Two actors who did as good of a job entertaining me last night as any television actor generally has in the past.


This is the same with professional athletes. There are some that you watch throughout your childhood and then their skills start to fade and then they retire and it's like "wow, I must be getting old". So I guess it is kind of depressing, but life moves on!


Larry King is younger than 79????? Could have fooled me! I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm always surprised at how old someone has gotten-it just seems like everyone is aging but me. No kidding. People I've known as children all all grown up now, friends kids that have grown into adults but to me I feel the same...odd??? perhaps??? I guess what I'm saying is that I know that I'm aging but I don't look at myself that same way.


DTVUSA Jr. Member
Whoa!!!! Shatner older than Larry King?!?!? I always swore that Shatner was around his sixties and Larry on his eighties since he's been doing his show like forever?!

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
I have two perspectives on this topic. Having grown up with 1950's TV reruns, The Tonight Show with Jack Paar then Steve Allen and then Johnny, I was a cheerleader for George Burns desire to live to 100. Well, 99+ was still an accomplishment.

Last summer we got to see Barry McGuire's live show "Trippen the 60s". Barry is best known from the band "The Lovin' Spoonful" and later, as the lead player in the Broadway musical "Hair". He and John York (from the Byrds) shared some of their experiences from the past. Absolutely fascinating+++. Both men are ALIVE and energetic and obviously have not slowed down. If I'm not mistaken, Barry is bouncing off of 80.

On the other hand, Barbara Feldon, Barbara Eden and other 'hotties' from my younger days are in their 70s (even late 70s) now! Sorry, the fact is (in my opinion) men age better than women ... sigh ...

As Mik Jagger sang: "What a drag it is getting old" ... OR ... from Paul McCartney: ... "Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm sixty four - woo!" :gramps:


PS At about age 20 when I worked for Mutual Broadcasting, I got to sit in Larry King's chair! BFD. LOL!
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, Blogger: Orry's Orations
I'm pretty with Jim on this. In my view, just about all of the really great actors have already died. Paul Newman may have been the last, truly great actor. I'm trying to think who I might be missing - James Garner, maybe. These kids today won't be remembered in 40 years. Zac Efron? Are you kidding? There are a few who might survive, but they don't have the respect or the stature of the real greats. That time has passed by.

The thing about Shatner is that he and some like him are part of famed TV generation. I don't know. I don't think a show that focuses on three men and their sex drives as they run over a deer or whatever three or four times is classic. Some might, but I don't.


I remember my grandfather telling me the same thing, and he very-well may have referred to Paul Newman in the same manner that you're referring to Zac Efron. The reality is that many people get emotionally attached to the fond memories of their younger days and have a hard time seeing how many things continue to get better and better. It goes along with the old adage that true greatness isn't really appreciated until the artist is dead.

I don't think Zac Efron, specifically, is going to be a candidate for greatness -- there were tons of bubble gum actors that appealed for a time to my mother when she was a teenager in the 1940s. Why choose him, instead of the current actors who are currently being recognized as great? There is no question that the mediocre performances of today won't stack up to the great performances of the past, but that wasn't the point you were trying to make. So it makes no sense for you to mention Efron in the first place.

A fair comparison would be to stack up the great performances of the past against the great performances of today -- great compared with great, instead of trying to compare great to mediocre. In that light, today holds its own very well.

Morgan Freeman, Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet, Robert Downey Jr., Sean Penn, Johnny Depp, Forest Whitaker, Will Smith, etc. I'll be that at least one of them will end up being recognized and understood to be superior to Paul Newman and James Garner, in the fullness of time. As I alluded to, it likely won't be fully realized until they're much older, or dead. That's just the nature of things. And this goes beyond actors though. For example, as much as many folks had thought that George Lucas would go down in history as that singular pinnacle of video production innovation, it is now increasingly obvious that James Cameron has exceeded George Lucas.
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Morgan Freeman, Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet, Robert Downey Jr., Sean Penn, Johnny Depp, Forest Whitaker, Will Smith, etc. I'll be that at least one of them will end up being recognized and understood to be superior to Paul Newman and James Garner, in the fullness of time. As I alluded to, it likely won't be fully realized until they're much older, or dead.
Much older? Morgan Freeman is 73, Johnny Depp is 47, Meryl Strep is 61 all these people you mentioned are late middle age if not seniors already. Thats my point there does not seem to be any really notable younger performers, The best I could come up with was Kristin Dunst shes 28. Sure there are your younger folk like Lindsay and Paris but really I can not think of that many that are notable in what they have contributed to the profession to even compare with the Likes of Will Smith or Sean Penn much less someone of Morgan Freeman's calibre.

It is sort of sad really, although it is good to see an occasional musical performer that is amazing at a young age.


The people you mentioned were "big" many years ago. The people I mentioned are willing awards TODAY.

People get better as they practice a craft. It makes sense that, in all times, that the most masterful will be middle-aged or older. It is ridiculous to compare this years children to yesteryear's adults.

Don't allow your own personal preference for what's old to prevent you from seeing how the past will be viewed by the future.


Super Moderator
The more things change, the more they stay the same, comes to mind in this topic. But Mockingbird, I think you might be reflecting as much on your own age as the age of actors. I don't think you are so much feeling the "new" actors are not as good, but on the passing of time. My kids were all born between 78 and 83 and in particular the oldest one thought I was stuck in old rock and roll. I just didn't like the heavy metal head banging stuff of the late 80's. They were very surprised when I suddenly "caught up" to the present when I bought the early Pearl Jam and Bush CDs. Now 20 years later they understand I didn't get behind, but lived through a period I just didn't like the rock music of the time. But when grunge and what was then called "alternative" rock, I liked it.


That's a very good point you make, when you don't have the perspective, like your kids, there are just some things that you won't get or understand. I'm sure this goes with other things other than music and actors though :)


, Blogger: Orry's Orations
Re: Morgan Freeman, Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet, Robert Downey Jr., Sean Penn, Johnny Depp, Forest Whitaker, Will Smith, etc. I'll be that at least one of them will end up being recognized and understood to be superior to Paul Newman and James Garner, in the fullness of time. ....

Some of these just might be remembered to an extent. Streep and Freeman have a very nice history of good films. As much as I like some of the films of theirs and the others, I'm not sure they are in that real greatness league. Some of them might be.


Indeed that's the point... some of them might be. It is very difficult to put aside one own's personal preferences, and the natural myopia we all suffer from by living in the present in order to get a full appreciation for what will be positively regarded in the fullness of time.

And I love the Pearl Jam example. I cannot tell you how often my father or mother expressed the sentiment that their favorite musical artists from their earlier years was some iconic epitome of humanities entire history. :rolleyes: The reality, of course, is that they were just the preferences of the day. That, however, is an extreme example, since the prevailing popular music style changed between their generation and ours. It is very interesting to see how this dynamic works out with our generation and the next, since both of these generations prefer/red what is recognized as the same music style. I know, for example, that my MP3 player has more modern artists on it (Orianthi, for example) while my teenage niece tends to have "old" music on her MP3 player -- generally the artists her dad and I grew up with, like the Beatles. I think her dad has infected her, to some extent, with his own "stuck in the mud"-iness.


Super Moderator
I guess it can be seen as an extreme example, but from my perspective the same exact radio stations (university of FL so they didn't have a lot of profit motive to change formats) played the stuff I grew up with from the 70s (they were not rock before then), then they played what I called the head banging heavy metal of the late 80's, the Pearl Jam stuff of the 90's, but they never went the RAP route, but continue to play rock from the 70's to new stuff. So even though rock from 30 years ago isn't the same genre as it changed over the decades and often faster. I have said that often, that "rock" is so broad a genre it isn't a genre but a broad collection of them. Then I can add also that though born in the early 50's I have not liked all the popular music of the day, even when young. I didn't like Elvis as a kid but listened to things like the Kingston Trio for example. So me skipping liking Heavy Metal to me was a preference not related to age but surely influenced by past music as all the arts are that way. Just like it's impossible to have a non biased viewpoint, one's likes and dislikes in the arts (music, paintings, acting, TV, movies) is always effected by past influences.


, Blogger: Orry's Orations
Here's another point, though, in relation to my original post. I don't like Gregory Peck. That said, I know the enormous talent he was. I remember in '93 being in Las Vegas at the Streisand concert, and when Peck walked in, the ovation was immediate, from his peers and the crowd.

I know the difference between favorites and greats. Bobby Sherman is someone I adore tremendously. I love his singing and his acting. I think he's fab, but is he great in comparison with The Beatles or Streisand? No, he's not.

So, just an FYI, I am objective enough in my own likes or dislikes to have a handle on greatness versus an average, decent, or good for the times performer.


The question, though is that are you objective in time. How adroit are you at putting yourself in the heads and hearts of people living in 2075? I think a lot of people blind themselves to the excellence of today because they slave themselves to their sentimental feelings about the good parts of their own past.

There are people hailing the best and brightest of today, such as the folks who have been nominated for Academy Awards over the last few years (i.e., the list of actors I provided earlier -- which, I am shocked to realize, none of you has seemed to recognize as such) as as good or better than the actors of previous generations (those who won Academy Awards in the 1970s, 1940s, etc.) Those are folks clearly not slaved to sentimental feelings about the past. To what would you attribute their conclusion, keeping in mind that you're talking about Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen, and Sean Penn as Harvey Milk in Milk, and Meryl Streep as Sister Aloysius Beauvier in Doubt ?


Super Moderator
My time machine is broken and the only parts won't be available until 2035, so I can't really tell you much about the state of the arts in 2075 :mad:) (please take that as honest humor!)

Like I said I am in my late 50's and haven't stopped looking for new talent, art, etc. Since music is the topic, I listen to on the radio not only classic rock, as would be expected at my age, but current as well. There is a station out of Jax, FL X102 that plays excellent current rock. But then collecting I go the other direction, to music before I was born. I like a lot of turn on the 20th century what was called Folk that later was the basis of much of the blues and early country. I love old blue grass, jump blues, big band, and dance band stuff (though I was old enough to hear a lot of dance band stuff as it came out).

My kid that just died, we used to listen to the radio at work in the kitchen. Again all my kids accused me of not liking current music and being stuck on classic rock, and it still surprises them when I turn up a current song and start singing.

I don't want to say Rap or Heavy Metal isn't an art form, far be it from that, but I just didn't like those eras/genres. For my subjective likes and dislikes I have picked and chosen artists and genres through all the history of recorded music I have found.

I don't care for classical, though I can listen to Bach Fugues most of the day. I don't like Jazz if it gets to esoteric, but more of a cool and smooth jazz person. I don't like country genre much, but there are several country artists that are excellent, Roy Clark, Earl Scrugs, Gretchen Wilson, Johny Cash, are examples of country I love.

But I totally understand the point of being stuck in an era. I was like that for long time following the late 60's and early 70's music. I didn't understand at that age and time the influences that led the artists of then to their compositions. It wasn't until decades later that I studied the origins, and started loving more music from current to before I was born.