More Beautiful With Age
Women have been inculcated since childhood to believe that being beautiful and vital is an essential component of youth. In this society, there is a strict correlation between being beautiful and being young. Each time a beautiful woman is mentioned, chances are she is a young woman entering or in the prime of her life.
Younger women are considered to be the most desirable for varied reasons. Since the 1960s where there was an increased and marked emphasis on youth in American society, youth was inordinately glorified while age was denigrated. Women who are young are seen as vital and desirable persons. They are coveted in advertisements and the media. In essence, they are glorified by the general society, especially by media.
The young woman is adored and idolized. She is seen as the ultimate woman. Millions of dollars are spent by women to either attain or retain youthfulness and beauty or a semblance thereof. As women become older, they experience great trepidation. They have been told that being old is associated with increasing unattractiveness and eventual decay. They have been taught by society that being old is something to dread at all costs.
In the past mature women were viewed with reverence and respect. This is not so in our youth driven culture. Mature women in our society are considered to be nonetities(my word). They are , viewed as the other and outsiders. They are thought of as being beyond their prime. They are believed to be useless and washed up. According to the societal consensus, they have fulfilled their designated purpose in life. They are now genderless, useless, and unattractive. In addition to that, they are just disposable. They are also considered to be in the way, to put aside or away.
While mature women are subjected to the double discrimination based upon age and gender, those in the entertainment and in highly visible careers are scrutinized to the millionth degree. In such arenas and career, youthful beauty is highly important. Beauty is considered to be important to a public person's credibility and bankability. The higher one is on the beauty scale, the more bankable she is.
The powers that be in the entertainment and highly visible professions oftentimes do not consider mature women to be attractive. The former do not view the latter as viable entertainers and employees. They feel that they have outlived their attractiveness and vital factor so to speak. Older and mature women in those businesses often are extremely apprehensive regarding becoming older as they believe there are younger up and comers to take their place. Hollywood particularly has the habit of relegating older women into nonetities(my word) or worse. Their attitude towards aging and/or aged female celebrities is begone, woman. Sexism and ageism rear its ugly head in Hollywood.
Despite the double whammy of sexagism(my word-combination of sexism and agism), there are many women, particularly celebrities, who continue to thrive and defy the current societal paradigm regarding the correlation between old age and attractiveness. Here is my synopsis of the 10 most beautiful women 70 years of age and older in descending order.
(15) Chita Rivera(January 23, 1933- )-This octogenarian dynamo is truly ageless. Youth indeed is not wasted on the young as this woman aptly demonstrates. She exhibited a prodigious dancing ability at 15 years of age. She had a renowned entertainment career which spans almost a half century. This career included theatre, movies, and television. Her work included Guys&Dolls(1951), Can-Can(1953&1988), West Side Story(1967), Chicago(1975 &1998), The Rink (1984), Kiss of the Spider Woman(1992), and The Mystery of Edwin Drood(2012).
She also appeared in movies such as Sweet Charity(1969) with Shirley MacLaine, Chicago(2002) with Catherine Zeta-Jones, Queen Latifah, and Renee Zellweger, and Kalamazoo(2006). She did plenty of television work which included appearing on the Carol Burnett Show, The Judy Garland Show, and Will&Grace. She was nominated for 9 Tony Awards, of out which she received 2. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.
(14)Betty White(January 17,1922- )-This nonagenarian perennial television icon is a stellar example of long-lasting career stability. She is the fountain of youth. She is even more feisty and ebullient than ever. Her career is almost three quarter of a century old. Her extensive career encompasses radio and television from its Golden Age until now. She appeared in numerous television programs such as Life with Elizabeth(1953-1955), Your First Impression(1963), The Mary Tyler Moore Show(1973-1977), and The Betty White Show(1977-1978).
Her later work included Mama's Family(1983-86), Golden Girls(1985-92), and currently, Hot in Cleveland. She had the distinction of being the oldest person to host Saturday Night Live. She won a Grammy Award and was nominated 28 times for Emmy Awards, out of which she won 7. Besides her acting career, she is involved in numerous animal charities.
(13) Gloria Steinem(March 25, 1934- )-This septuagenarian icon was one of the leading pioneers in the women's movement in the late 1960s and 1970s. She was highly instrumental in the modernization of women's roles beyond the traditional paradigms of wives, mothers, and being in the pink and typing ghetto regarding careers. In 1971, she with other feminists, activists, and politicians founded the National Women's Political Caucus.
A year later, she co-founded Ms. magazine. She subsequently co-founded the Women's Media Center with Robin Morgan and Jane Fonda. She founded Choice USA in 1992 which dealt with the continuing of women's reproductive choices. In 2012, she was awarded the American Humanist Association Award for Humanist of the Year for her involvement in the issues concerning women and the LBGT community.
(12)Carol Burnett(April 26,1933- )-This septuagenarian is television's sweetheart. She is a quadruple threat-actress, comedienne, singer, and author. Her career is more than a half century old. She has done extensive work in theatre, movies, and television. Her breakthrough shows were the Garry Moore Show(1959-1962) and The Carol Burnett Show(1967-1978). Her subsequent shows included Mama's Family(1983-1986) and a guest starring role in Glee(2010).
She appeared intermittently in the soap opera All My Children(1976-2011). Her stage work included Plaza Suite(1970), I Do! I Do!(1974), and Same Time, Next Year(1977). She appeared in movies such as The Front Page(1974), The Four Seasons(1981), Annie(1982), and Noises Off(1992). In 2005, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award. Throughout her career, she received numerous awards for her outstanding work.
(11) Shirley MacLaine(April 24, 1934- )-This razzle dazzle septuagenarian is quadruple threat-actress, singer, dancer, and author. Her extensive career spanned more than a half century. She had numerous credits in the movies, television, and in live entertainment. Her work included The Trouble with Harry(1955), Ask Any Girl(1958), Ocean's 11, Can-Can, and The Apartment(1960), and My Geisha(1962).
Her subsequent work included 2 breakthrough movies, Sweet Charity(1966), The Turning Point(1977), and Terms of Endearment(1983). She also did Postcards From The Edge with Meryl Streep and Rob Reiner(1990). She appeared in the television movie, Coco Chanel(2008) and the acclaimed PBS series Downtown Abbey(2012). She won numerous awards according Golden, Emmy, and Academy Awards. She received the AFI Life Achievement Award in 2012.
(10) Dr. Maya Angelou(April 4, 1928- )-This esteemed and phenomenal octogenarian is an accomplished author and poet. She has published 6 autobiographies, 5 books of essays, and numerous books of poetry. Her noted books included I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings(1969), Gather Together in My Name(1974), The Heart of a Woman(1981), and A Song Flung Up To Heaven(2002).
She was also a nightclub dancer, cast member in the musical, Porgy and Bess, author and journalist in Egypt and Ghana during its decolonization. She subsequently taught at Wake-Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She also appeared in many plays, movies, and television shows including Madea's Family Reunion(2006).
She was honored by universities, literary organizations, and governmental agencies. She received over 30 honorary degrees. She received the Lincoln Medal in 2008 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.
(9) Tina Turner(November 26, 1939- )-This septuagenarian triple threat(actress, singer, and dancer) has 'tude and then some. Before her unparalleled solo career, she was part of the group Ike & Tina Turner. Her breakout hit was a rendition of Proud Mary, the 1969 song by Creedence Clearwater Revival, a 1960s rock band. Her recordings included Tina Turns the Country On(1974), Acid Queen(1975), Break Every Rule(1986), What's Love Got To Do With It(1993), and Wildest Dreams(1999).
Her films included Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome(1985), What's Love Got To Do With It with Angela Bassett and Lawrence Fishbourne and Last Action Hero(1993). In 2012, she has recorded Beyond 2 cd as a sequel to her previous Beyond cd.
(8) Sophia Loren(September 20, 1934- )-This perennially beautiful septuagenarian exemplifies the adage becoming more beautiful with time. She is the consummate actress of all time. Her extensive work included I Devote, Thee and Hearts at Sea(1950), Quo Vadis(1951), Houseboat(1958), Two Women(1960), El Cid(1961), and The Fall of the Roman Empire and Marriage-Italian Style(1964). She continued to star in movies such as Sunflower(1970), The Cassandra Crossing(1976), Pret a Porter(1994), and Nine (2009). For her extensive work, she received various award including the Academy and Canne Films Awards.
(7) Nancy Kwan(May 19, 1939- )-This septuagenarian beauty played a pivotal role regarding widening the acting opportunities for Asians in Hollywood. She starred in several movies such as The World of Suzie Wong(1960), Flower Drum Song(1961), Tamahine(1963), and The Girl Who Knew Too Much(1969). Her subsequent movies included Night Creature(1978), Noble House(1988), and To Whom It May Concern: Ka Shen's Journey(2010). She received a Golden Globe Award in 1961 for most promising newcomer and a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.
(6)Freda Payne(September 19, 1942- )-This sultry septuagenarian had a varied career which included singing commercial jingles and being a jazz singer before she progressed to soul music. She also was an understudy for Leslie Uggams in the Broadway play, Hallelujah Baby(1967). Her breakout song was Band of Gold(1970).
Other songs followed such as Bring the Boys Home(1971) and I Get Carried Away(1974). Her later songs included Love Magnet(1977) and In Motion(1982). Her latest recording was On the Inside(2007). Her flim work included Book of Numbers(1973), Ragdoll(1999), Nutty Professor II: The Klumps(2000), and Cordially Invited(2007).
(5) Anne Rice(October 4, 1941- )-This septuagenarian is quite the prolific author of Christian and gothic novels. She is most famous for the vampire and Mayfair witch chronicles. Her novels include Interview With The Vampire(1976), The Vampire Lestat(1985), Queen of the Damned(1988), Memnoch the Devil(1995), The Vampire Armand(1998), and Merrick(2000) in the vampire chronicles. She also wrote The Witching Hour(1990), Lasher(1993), and Taltos(1994) in the Mayfair witch chronicles. She wrote other novels such as The Feast of All Saints(1979). She had screen adaptations of her two novels-Interview With The Vampire, starring Tom Cruise, Anthony Banderas, Brad Pitt, and Kirsten Dunst and Queen of the Damned with the late star Aaliyah and Stuart Townsend.
(4) Diahann Carroll(July 17, 1935- )-This septuagenarian is the ultimate in class and chic. She is a television and stage actress in addition to being a singer. Her career spanned nearly 60 years. Her career in the entertainment business started at 18 years of age. She win a singing contest then her career progressed.
Her movie work included Carmen Jones(1954) with Harry Belafonte, Dorothy Dandridge, and Brock Peters, Porgy & Bess(1959) with Sidney Poiter, Dorothy Dandridge, Sammy Davis Jr., and Brock Peters, Paris Blues (1961), Claudine(1974) with James Earl Jones, The Five Heartbeats(1991) with Robert Townsend, and Eve's Bayou(1997) with Lynn Whitfield, Jurnee Smolett, Debbie Morgan, and Samuel Jackson. Her voluminous stage work included House of Flowers(1954), No Strings(1962), Same Time, Next Year(1977), Agnes of God(1983), Sunset Boulevard(1995), and Bubbling Brown Sugar(2004).
Her television work included The Garry Moore Show(1960), Naked City (1962), Julia(1968-1971), The Diahann Carroll Show(1976), Dynasty(cast member 1984-1987), A Different World(1989-1993), The Courage to Love(2000), and White Collar(2009- ). Her numerous recordings include Showstopper(1962), A Tribute to Ethel Waters(1978), and The Time of My Life(1997). She received several awards throughout her career such as the Academy, Emmy, Golden Globe, and NAACP Image Awards. In 2011, she was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame.
(3) Ruby Dee(October 27, 1922- )- This nonagenarian grand dame is a quintuple threat-actress, poet, playwright, screenwriter, and journalist. Her career spanned 7 decades. Her prodigious work include stage, television, and movie work.
Her theater work included Jeb(1946), Hamlet(1975), Checkmates(1988), and Saint Lucy's Eyes(2003). She either guest starred, had recurring, and/or had supporting roles in such television shows as Roots-The Next Generation(1979), Llincoln(1988), Golden Girls(1990), and America(2009). Her flim work included That Man of Mine(1946), The Jackie Robinson Story and No Way Out(1950), Edge of the City(1957), and St. Louis Blues(1958).
She starred in subsequent movies such as A Raisin in the Sun and Purlie Victorious(1961), Black Girl (1972), Do the Right Thing(1989), and Jungle Fever(1991). Her last movies include Steam(2007) and A Thousand Words(2012). She received many awards including the Academy, Emmy, and the NAACP Image Awards.
(2) Rita Moreno(December 11, 1931- )-This sizzling octogenarian triple threat(singer, dancer, and actress) has won Academy, Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Awards for her extensive work which spanned 7 decades. When she was 11 years old, she was the voiceover for Spanish language version of American films. At 13, she had her first Broadway role in Skydrift.
Her movies included So Young, So Bad and The Toast of New Orleans(1950), Cattle Town(1952), West Side Story(1961), Cry of Battle(1963), and Popi (1969). She subsequently starred in movies such as Carnal Knowledge(1971), The Ritz(1976), The Four Seasons (1981), I Like It Like That (1994), and Play It By Ear(2006). Her television work include guest starring and/or supporting roles such shows as Father Knows Best(1958), The Rockford Files(1978), Golden Girls(1986), Resurrection(1999), Ugly Betty(2007), and Happily Divorced(2011). Her Broadway credits include Last of the Red Hot Lovers, The Ritz, and The Odd Couple.
(1) Carmen dell'Orefice(June 3, 1931- )- This truly iconic octogenarian is truly beautiful beyond compare. She is a model and actress. Her modelling career started at 15 years of age. She had her 1st Vogue cover two years later. In 1953, she signed up with Ford Models. She retired from modelling 5 years later.
However, she decided to return to modelling in 1978 and has done steadily well. She is the world oldest model in the runways. Her film work included The Sunchaser(1996), Celebrity(1998), and The Guru(2002). Her television work were as a guest star in Law& Order:Special Victims Unit(2004) and as herself in Fashion News Live(2012).
These cutting edge and phenomenal women prove that one can become fiercer and more alert with advanced age. Age is just a number, no more, no less. So do not be fearful of becoming old for oftentimes, the best is yet to come. Now you have my pick of the 15 most beautiful celebrated women 70 years of age and over.
© 2013 Grace Marguerite Williams
Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on March 30, 2019:
All of the Collins sisters are strikingly beautiful however Joan has got THAT 'beguiling' look.
Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on March 28, 2019:
Dame Joan Collins.
Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on March 27, 2019:
Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on December 13, 2017:
Sophia Loren - guaranteed to set any red blooded male pulsating.
Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on April 12, 2016:
and she could act.
Grace Marguerite Williams (author) from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on April 08, 2016:
Ms. Day is not only charming but YOUTHFUL. Thank you for stopping by and responding.
Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on April 08, 2016:
Doris Day has just celebrated hr 95th. What a charming Lady!
Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on November 26, 2015:
Beguiling English actress Martine Beswick qualifies for this category but i wouldn't reveal a Lady's age. I had the pleasure of meeting her at a James Bond memorabilia event several years ago. (Miss Beswick appeared briefly in three Bond films) I asked about the cat fight in the gypsy camp and was it a real fight. She told me it was choreographed and took a week to film. I'll wager she could take care of herself if the need arose! Martine Beswick is also a shrewd business woman and is psychic however she doesn't give readings.
Grace Marguerite Williams (author) from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on November 19, 2015:
You are quite welcome indeed. Thank you for stopping by and adding to the discussion!
Anne Harrison from Australia on November 19, 2015:
A great hub, thank you. Great bone structure might help, but beauty, especially as one ages, truly does come from within, as these women show.
Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on May 01, 2014:
All my life i wanted to meet Honor Blackman in person so much so i had been rehersing what i would say to Her. Eventually it finally happened at a book signing in Soho and the memory will live forever.
Grace Marguerite Williams (author) from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on April 30, 2014:
Limpet, thank you for stopping by and commenting. Thank you for mentioning Ms. Blackman.
Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on April 30, 2014:
I should nominate the English actress Honor Blackman who not only has kept Her quality of allure but maintains a voice that purrs. Bold and sassy Miss Blackman can go on forever!
Grace Marguerite Williams (author) from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on September 18, 2013:
Thank you for your response, it is greatly appreciated.
Benjamin Chege on September 18, 2013:
Awesome hub Grace Marguerite Williams. I agree with you that what makes someone important in society is their contribution to the betterment of others. Although young women are more desirable physically to fans, the glamor is short-lived and only one's attributes, characters and achievements can make your record unbeaten and your memories immortal after old age sets in.