Old Hollywood

Betty White and More Stars Who Are 90 and Fabulous (Photos)

See photos of Betty White and more stars getting the most out of life in their later years.

Betty White turns 90 today, joining a small but storied group of celebrities in their 90s who continue to make headlines. From Mickey Rooney to Phyllis Diller, a look at the stars getting the most out of life in their later years.

Chris Pizzello / AP Photo

Betty White

Betty White didn't just outlive all her costars on the hit series The Golden Girls. In her late 80s, she had a career resurgence that was the envy of Hollywood. She starred in The Proposal with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, took home a lifetime-achievement award from the Screen Actors Guild, hosted Saturday Night Live after the network could no longer ignore the “Draft Betty Movement,” and was in the running for an MTV WTF award. Now that White's turning 90, her star remains on the rise, with her hit TV show, Hot in Cleveland, keeping her busy.

Chris Pizello / AP Photo

Phyllis Diller

Phyllis Diller may be 94, but that's not stopping her from returning to the small screen. The legendary comedienne will be heading back to The Bold and the Beautiful for two days in March. Diller began her career at a San Francisco radio station in 1952, but quickly made the jump to comedy.

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Joan Fontaine

Academy Award winner Joan Fontaine has not appeared on the big screen for years, but the 94-year-old is still alive and well. Nowadays, she spends most of her time in seclusion at her home in California, which is probably how she likes it. During a 2008 interview, when she had just turned 90, Fontaine described her perfect idea of happiness: “Working in my garden while my five ASPCA dogs smell the roses … or water them.”

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Olivia de Haviland

Most famous for her role as Melanie Wilkes in Gone With the Wind, 95-year-old Olivia de Havilland is one of the last surviving cast members from the film. She retired in 1988, but she still makes occasional public appearances. She attended the Oscars in 2003, and was the guest of honor at the French César awards in 2011. The aforementioned Joan Fontaine actually is de Havilland’s younger sister, and reportedly, they have an unresolved, decades-long feud.

Charles Sykes / AP Photo

Celeste Holm

Celeste Holm famously held her own against Bette Davis in 1950’s All About Eve. More than six decades later, 94-year-old Holm is still active, perhaps thanks to her young hubby (roughly 40 years her junior), whom she married in 2004. In recent years, she has suffered from health problems and has been involved in a lawsuit with her sons over control of her assets.

Jean Baptiste Lacroix / WireImage

Ellen Albertini Dow

Ellen Albertini Dow probably is best known as the hilariously mean grandmother in Wedding Crashers. She was a drama teacher until 1985, when she retired and began acting in a variety of films. Though she hasn’t acted in a movie since 2009, she did recently record an album, which is a mix of classical songs and originals written by her husband. We’re not surprised, given her scene-stealing rendition of “Rapper’s Delight” in The Wedding Singer.

Philip Scott Andrews / AP Photo

Ann Rutherford

In a 2010 interview with the Los Angeles Times, famed actress Ann Rutherford quipped that she hadn’t “made ‘five cents’ since the ‘70s”, when she ended her long career with the film Won Ton Ton, The Dog Who Saved Hollywood (1976). But thanks to her role in 1939’s Gone With the Wind , Rutherford—now 91—admitted she remains in the public eye. “If anybody told me that 71 years later they would prop me up and have me talk about Gone With the Wind, I would have believed it because the whole world was a fan of the book,” she said. 

Adam Lau / AP Photo

Nancy Reagan

Former first lady Nancy Reagan was known for being extremely protective of her husband when he was in the Oval Office—though she herself was initially scrutinized as spoiled and shallow, dubbed “Queen Nancy” by the public. She ultimately shed that negative persona, according to author Carl Anthony, who has written a dozen books on presidential wives and families. Anthony has said Mrs. Reagan underwent “an arc of grace” during her time in the White House. As she turned 90 last July, Anthony compared her to Jackie Kennedy: “She really felt and continues to feel a responsibility for her husband’s legacy and the library. Hillary Clinton or Barbara Bush or women like Eleanor Roosevelt share that responsibility but don’t assume it as a primary caretaker. Mrs Reagan does, and I think it sustains her.” 

Matt Sayles / AP Photo

Mickey Rooney

At 91, Mickey Rooney has had one of the longest careers in Hollywood. In his earlier films, including Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry and Love Finds Andy Hardy, Rooney starred alongside Judy Garland, with whom he developed a close and lasting friendship. Though he maintains their relationship was strictly platonic, Rooney had a reputation of being quite the lothario (he’s been married nine times), who seduced Ava Gardner at a young age. But he’s better known for his prolific acting career and leading role as Henry Dailey in the popular television show and subsequent film The Adventures of the Black Stallion. Most recently, Rooney had a cameo in 2011’s The Muppets.

Steve Granitz / WireImage

Carol Channing

Carol Channing, the legendary star of Broadway’s original Hello, Dolly! and LGBT icon, will celebrate her 91st birthday at the end of this month. In an interview with Broadway World last year, Channing couldn’t nail down one high point in her career (“every single performance was the high point”), and those who saw her onstage would no doubt agree that she never failed to light up the theater, particularly as blonde bombshell Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. At 90, Channing still has a lucid memory of her career low point: “It was when I didn’t get cast in the movie version of Hello, Dolly! ... I was told that Barbra Streisand was doing the film. I remember walking over to the window and thinking, ‘If I could lean out a little further, this pain would be all over.’” Despite losing Hello, Dolly! to Streisand, Channing had her moment in the Hollywood sun in 1967’s Thoroughly Modern Millie, for which she earned an Oscar nod. Now she’s dedicating her life to making sure that the arts are an integral part of school curriculums.

Jordan Strauss, WireImage / Getty Images

Kirk Douglas

Kirk Douglas may be in his mid-90s, but he still knows how to work a crowd. As a presenter at last year’s Academy Awards, Douglas flirted with host Anne Hathaway and—much to the delight of the audience—tussled with Omar Sharif Jr., who was holding the nonagenarian’s cane.

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Hugh Downs

Veteran newscaster Hugh Downs didn’t let a little thing like being 90 keep him from the Today show’s 60th-anniversary broadcast on Jan. 13. Downs anchored the show from 1962 to 1971 and also hosted ABC’s 20/20 for 21 years.

Astrid Riecken, The Washington Post / Getty Images

Dave Brubeck

Jazz and classical pianist Dave Brubeck has been designated a living legend by the Library of Congress. He began playing local dance bands at 14 but went to college to become a veterinarian. He put himself through school using music and wound up making it his major instead. Though he’s stopped touring, he’s still playing. And now Brubeck has plans to release another solo album.

Jeff Kravitz, FilmMagic / Getty Images

Eli Wallach

Eli Wallach may be close to 100 years old, but that hasn’t stopped him from acting. In 2010, Wallach was in two films: The Ghost Writer with Pierce Brosnan and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps with Michael Douglas and Shia LaBeouf. The 96-year-old has starred in more than 80 films, including such classics as How the West Was Won and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Since 2000 alone, the New York native has been in 22 films, including Mama’s Boy, Mystic River, and Keeping the Faith.