Monday, March 7, 2011

Kirk Douglas Isn't Old, Is He?

Everywhere I go this week people have been bombarding me with comments about the dull Academy Awards.
Yeah, it was virtually starless. Yeah, there was no excitement.
But everybody is unanimous on one subject.
"Kirk Douglas was great!" said a little old lady on the subway. "And please no old jokes. That guy had more zip than those young Oscar hosts that's for sure."
Kirk Douglas gave a startling demonstration of star power. And the evergreen super star is "only" 94.
What's more there a lot more stars like him out there and some of them are working as hard as ever.
In fact I just watched a great Kirk Douglas classic, 1950's Young Man With A Horn --and both his female co-stars are still thriving --Doris Day (b. April 3, 1922) and Lauren Bacall (b. Sept. 16, 1924).
Another of Kirk's co-stars Eleanor Parker is still around too (b. June 26, 1922).
Before she was America's First Lady Nancy Reagan was a promising MGM starlet (b. July 6, 1921).
And for sheer durability what about funster Betty White on the current hit Hot In Cleveland (b. Jan. 17, 1922).
Recently she welcomed former co-star Mary Tyler Moore for a aep --but Mary is still a kid next to Betty (b. Dec. 29, 1936).
However another MTM alumnus, Cloris Leachman, was strong enough two years back to go out on Dancing With The Stars (b. April 30, 1926).
If you're thinking there are more female oldies out there than males you're totally correct.
Don't forget those two Oscar winning sisters. First up there's double winner Olivia de Havilland (b. July 1, 1916).
And there's younger sister Joan Fontaine(Oct. 22, 1917).
Even today they're not speaking!
And any age list must be double Oscar winner Luise Rainer who later acted on TV's Love Boat (b. Jan. 12, 1910).
The best that the male side can offer is singer Tony Martin, Cyd Charisse's widower --they were married 60 years (he was born Dec. 25, 1913).
Also appearing at this year's Oscars was a winner for achievement --Eli Wallach (b. Dec. 7, 1915).
The oldest female singing sensation I can recall is Dame Vera Lynn (March 20, 1917) --and yes, she did make some movies along the way.
I fondly remember the times on the TV critics' tour when I'd slip out the back door of the Century Plaza hotel in L.A. and onto the Fox lot to have lunch with M*A*S*H's Harry Morgan (b. Apr. , 1915).
And later I did his last ever interview in Toronto on the set of Outer Limits.
And last season Broadway had the occasion to once again witness the artistry of Angela Lansbury (in A Little Night Music) (b. Oct. 16,1925).
She was replaced in the long run by another shimmering veteran Elaine Stritch (Feb. 2, 1925).
I could go on and on: Michael Gough is 95, Jerry Lewis 85, Jack Klugman 89, Liz Taylor and Debbie Reynolds two young sprigs of 79 each.
But I've made my point I think.
It's how young you feel not how old the calendar says.
Don't believe me? Just ask Kirk Douglas.

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