You Won't Believe These Stars Are In Their 90s

It is widely accepted that youth is among Hollywood's most valued commodities. Every time audiences turn around, there's another Next Big Thing — a younger, more appealing talent — waiting to greet them. And while it's nice to be privy to a bottomless well of new performers, there's plenty to be said for appreciating those entertainers who established winning paths on which these fresh arrivals would be able to prove their mettle (or not). So, while show business as a whole may opt for youth over experience, certain established actors who everyone loves well beyond the point at which others have dimmed. 

Unfortunately, when a star shines that brightly, it can be easy to lose track of exactly how long the phenomenon has actually been happening. To assist, check out the following Hollywood celebrities who have managed to stealthily become nonagenarians by virtue of their unique talents. That's right, believe it or not, these glowing personalities are all in their 90s.

Harry Belafonte continues to advocate for change

Born in Harlem on March 1, 1927, Harry Belafonte is a quadruple threat: singer, songwriter, activist, and actor. He brought Calypso to the forefront of the 1950s music scene with his chart-topping rendition of "Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)," according to The New Yorker. As a kid living in Jamaica, Belafonte's acquired accent belied this Caribbean upbringing as he sang the haunting tune. 

"The most important thing to me about The Banana Boat Song is that before America heard it, Americans had no notion of the rich culture of the Caribbean," Belafonte told Jazz Beyond Jazz (via Songfacts). "It made no sense to me back then that people in America would not respond to the Caribbean culture I knew in joyous, positive ways," he continued. "But there were these cultural assumptions then about people from the Caribbean — that they were all rum drinking, sex-crazed, and lazy — not that they were tillers of the land, harvesters of bananas for landlords of the plantations."

Before setting America straight with "Day-O," this nonagenarian took to the boards as a theater actor. He also sang jazz. Later, after earning his celebrity, he put his platform to work for civil rights, marching with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960s and even co-chairing the Women's March on Washington on the heels of Donald Trump's inauguration. On a lighter note, for his first television appearance, Belafonte guest-starred on The Muppet Show

Dick Van Dyke dances as he stays fit well into his 90s

Dick Van Dyke, born December 13, 1925, is thought to be as gracious and generous as he is talented. Consider this random act of kindness from March 2021: "The 95-year-old was spotted handing out wads of cash" to fellow Malibu residents seeking jobs through a local non-profit organization, according to the Daily Mail. Fully masked, Van Dyke was out running errands when he spontaneously drove up to the hopeful folks, handing the cash out of his car window.

Ardent fans remain hooked on this happy-go-lucky actor since seeing him in the 1964 hit film "Mary Poppins." Others made their first dates with the affable Missourian every week as he starred as Rob Petrie opposite Mary Tyler Moore in CBS's "The Dick Van Dyke Show" in the 1960s, Biography revealed. Per the outlet, he won a Tony for his turn on the boards in "Bye Bye Birdie," a starring role he repeated in the movie based on the musical. 

Even in his 90s, Van Dyke stays fit. Not only does he tap dance, but he also works out, reported People. In his 2015 book, "Keep Moving: And Other Tips and Truths about Aging," he proves anyone can follow in his footsteps. "A person who's 90 years old who's never exercised can start doing a few minutes a day and all of a sudden he'll find himself starting to wake up" (via People).

Angela Lansbury is a triple threat

Angela Lansbury earned four Golden Globes for her cunning portrayal of novelist and sleuth Jessica Fletcher on "Murder She Wrote," which debuted in 1984Before that storied 12-year run on the small screen, the London-born, U.S.-bred thespian had already made her mark as a big star (via Playbill). In fact, she earned a best supporting actress Oscar nod in 1945 for her very first movie, "Gaslight," in which she played Nancy, the maid, opposite Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer (via Oscars). 

The affable Brit, who was born on October 16, 1925, began appearing on Broadway stages in the 1960s, taking to the boards for "Mame," "Sweeney Todd," and "Gypsy" — musical roles that earned her glowing reviews and Tony Awards (via American Theatre Wing). Lansbury was also hired as a voice-over artist during her long career, making her mark in roles such as the animated Mrs. Potts in 1991's "Beauty and the Beast."

Lansbury was quick to comment on the difficulty older performers face in getting new roles, telling Ireland's Own, "I maintain that it must be hard to be born a beauty because it's almost as if you have to live that down and let the real person emerge. Me? I was all talent and no looks."

William Shatner has no plans to retire

Born on March 22, 1931, veteran actor William Shatner is not slowing down. On March 26, 2021, the ironically titled film "Senior Moment," in which the actor plays a retired NASA test pilot, hit theaters and video-on-demand (via IMDb). When he joined the 90s club less than week earlier, the iconic Captain Kirk from "Star Trek" received a hailstorm of happy birthday wishes on Twitter. In response, Shatner tweeted, "Well! I must say that the reaction to a 90th birthday is overwhelming. Don't you people have better things to do?" 

The charming actor started out his show business career by performing in the National Repertory Theater of Ottawa, Canada (via Star Trek). After that, he understudied such luminaries as Alec Guinness and James Mason at Canada's top-rate Stratford Ontario Shakespeare Festival (via Click Americana). Following his start on the stage, the bulk of Shatner's work played out on the small screen in hit shows such as "Marcus Welby, M.D." and "Ironside." In 2004, he showed up on "The Practice" and its subsequent spin-off, "Boston Legal" (via IMDb).

To stay fit, Shatner enjoys horseback riding and insists that you've just got to keep moving. "[If] you stay in bed, you're gonna rot," he told the AARP in 2021. "And I can't rot, because I have too much to do." As for his retirement plans, the actor quipped, "Retire to what? There is an abyss out there."

Clint Eastwood maintains a high-protein diet

When Clint Eastwood sat down for a chat with Ellen DeGeneres on her talk show in 2019, he shared his thoughts about aging. "When I was a little kid and I used to hang out with my grandfather who was in his 90s and I thought, 'Jesus, who the hell would want to live this long?'" Now that this legend has reached that seminal decade, he stays relevant. When appearing on "Ellen," Eastwood had just directed his 38th film, "Richard Jewell" (via Chicago Tribune).

The actor told GQ about what motivates him. "As I get older, I tend to put more into family than I used to. Because when I was younger, I was looking to get the brass ring, and like every actor, you think every job's your last job. So when you get the brass ring, you play the hand for as long as you can. And then one day you wake up and realize, 'Jesus, I've been doing this a long time, and I'm still playing the hand. Why not just keep rolling?'"

Born on May 31, 1930, this nonagenarian is known for his rough-and-tumble roles. Eastwood stays healthy by meditating and watching what he eats, helped by a private chef who cooks him "high protein, low-fat meals," a source familiar with the star told Closer Weekly.

Sidney Poitier paved the way for many actors

Sidney Poitier was born on February 20, 1927, in Miami to Bahamian farmer parents. The couple was visiting Florida to sell their tomatoes when Poitier's mother went into premature labor (via The Guardian). The first Black male actor to be nominated for an Academy Award (in 1958 for "The Defiant Ones") and the first Black man to win an Oscar for best actor (in 1964 for "Lilies of the Field"), Poitier garnered a faithful following throughout his storied career (via USA Today). Poitier's stellar credits include leading roles in "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," "To Sir With Love," and "In the Heat of the Night" (via IMDb).

Like his turn in 1961's "Raisin in the Sun," many of Poitier's movie roles revolved around racial conflict. In 2017, he was eloquently described by Vanity Fair as "a man bridging differences, flying higher than prejudice." The publication continued, writing, "He had the self-containment of a cat, the swoop of a hawk, the calm of a saint. His poise was a form of precision, and his precision, intelligence that ran deep. He was Hollywood's first African-American matinee idol (though technically Bahamian-American) and the last of an Old Hollywood breed — the gentleman hero in the bespoke suit." Poitier's acting prowess has earned him many awards and numerous Golden Globe nominations.

Tony Bennett loves to perform duets

Tony Bennett may be well into his 90s, but that doesn't stop him from keeping company with much younger colleagues. In fact, Lady Gaga became an enduring buddy and confidant ever since the two harmonized on "The Lady Is a Tramp" for his 2011 "Duets II" album, according to Rolling Stone. "He passed along something very special to me from his best friend Duke Ellington. He said, 'Number one, don't quit. Number two, listen to number one,'" Gaga shared. 

Bennett, born August 3, 1926, took jazz to a larger audience after being discovered by Pearl Bailey in 1949. He earned his first hit with "Because of You" in 1951, and he recorded his signature song, "I Left My Heart in San Francisco," in 1962 (via Jazz masters 1982-2011). In addition to singing with Lady Gaga on "Duets II," Bennett took on "Body and Soul" with Amy Winehouse for her final recording, per Vulture. And in 2006, the crooner teamed up with Elton John, Barbra Streisand, and Sting on "Duets: An American Classic" (via Biography).

Bennett was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2016, a development made public by Variety in 2021. The disease's slow progression has allowed him to continue to share his inimitable voice during live performances and on fresh recordings. "Life is a gift — even with Alzheimer's," Bennett optimistically tweeted in February 2021. 

Betty White doesn't waste time worrying about her age

On January 17, 2022, Betty White will leave the 90s club and become a bona fide centenarian. The effervescent entertainer began her television career more than 80 years ago. In fact, she was awarded a Guinness world record for the longest TV career by a female entertainer. White's historic small-screen run earned her the title of honorary mayor of Hollywood, according to USA Today

White has entertained audiences in memorable, long-running sitcoms such as "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "The Golden Girls", and, more recently, "Hot in Cleveland" (via IMDb). She also drew favor by showing up on a slew of game shows, according to Biography. In "Password," this celebrated television icon made America laugh as she played along with a parade of contestants. White continues to stay relevant by turning up in places in which she is least expected, like an ingenious Super Bowl commercial for Snickers. She also uses her celebrity to vehemently fight for animal rights (via Biography).

Another highlight in White's long list of show business accomplishments: She became the oldest host of "Saturday Night Live," following a rousing Facebook campaign to allow the quick-witted comedian to snag the coveted spot, according to History. She continues to rewrite the rulebook on aging. "So many of us start dreading age when we're in high school," she told MySanAntonio. "That's really a waste of a lovely life."

Robert Wagner is living out his life in Aspen, Colorado

For decades, fans swooned over Robert Wagner, born February 10, 1930. Some of the leading man's movie roles in the 1950s and '60s — like "A Kiss Before Dying," "The Pink Panther," and "Harper" — were well received by critics (via Rotten Tomatoes).

Wagner's talent on the small screen also left lasting impressions of a charismatic actor armed with class and edged with humor. He starred on "It Takes a Thief," an ABC drama, from 1968 to 1970, and he took on comedic parts in "Switch" and "Hart to Hart" after that. Wagner also enjoyed recurring roles on "Two and a Half Men" and "NCIS." He was also cagily cast as "Number Two" in the "Austin Powers" films (via IMDb).

In 2007, Wagner sold his cherished Brentwood, California abode, according to Variety. He and his wife, actress Jill St. John, decided to live full time in their vacation home, a 7-and-a-half acre outpost in Aspen, Colorado, reported The Denver Post. According to his autobiography, "Pieces of My Heart: A Life," Wagner wrote "When my time comes, I will be buried in Aspen, in an old cemetery that was originally laid out in the nineteenth century. A lot of children are buried there, and it's in the middle of a glade of aspen and birch trees — very wild and overgrown. As soon as someone is laid to rest, the land is allowed to return to its natural state." He continued, "It's absolutely pure and totally peaceful."