Growing Old Gracefully or Kicking and Screaming: Old Vs. New Hollywood
WATCHING the Oscars and other such events lately, it’s becoming disturbingly common to spot actresses, now in their sixties, desperately hanging onto their youth. It seems overnight, all my favourite actresses from the 1970s and 80s have gone under the knife in a vain attempt at retaining their former sex appeal. It’s something we haven’t witnessed before – actresses from earlier days didn’t have plastic surgery at their disposal, and the intense need to “stay sexy” wasn’t perhaps as strong. Thus, the previous generation of starlets appeared to age much more gracefully than the ageing actresses of today. Here’s a few comparisons….
Here is Myrna Loy and Goldie Hawn, both age 26. They’re much alike in that they epitomized the sex symbol look of their time. However, as the years wore on, they showed their age very differently….
Here they are again, both approximately the same age: Myrna age 69 and Goldie age 68. Myrna looks like an elderly woman (which you officially are at age 69); whereas, Goldie looks like someone desperately clinging to a youth long gone. Seeing the aged Myrna and Goldie side-by-side is truly shocking. One woman accepts the fact that no one can escape the passage of time, and the other is in complete denial.
Katharine Hepburn age 32 and Cher age 20. Both actresses were stunning in their younger days, and Cher was able to reap the rewards of a seemingly ageless figure in the decades to come. However, you can only hold onto your sexy appeal for so long.
Here are Hepburn and Cher both aged 67. Hepburn has gracefully accepted the passage of time, wearing pants and putting her hair in a bun. But this doesn’t mean she had to act old; indeed, Hepburn was a vibrant as ever in 1973. The difference is that Hepburn is no longer trying to look sexy; whereas, Cher is still sporting the micro-miniskirt. Plus, Cher has had her wrinkles surgically wiped away.
Here is Hepburn age 68 and Cher age 67. Hepburn wasn’t afraid to play roles befitting her age – this picture is from Rooster Cogburn, where she wisely makes no attempt to cling to her former youthful allure. Instead, she bangs out a terrific performance alongside The Duke, wrinkles be damned. Her age may be showing, but it by no means subtracts from her onscreen charisma.
In stark contrast, Cher still plays to crowds wearing outfits borrowed from Brittney Spears’ 1998 wardrobe.
Lauren Bacall and Meg Ryan both age 55. Bacall still retained her confident panache, but thankfully retired the attempt at sex appeal. Meg Ryan, on the other hand, still wears the same haircut she wore in Sleepless in Seattle. Even worse, in her futile quest for eternal youth, she has turned her face into an unnatural mask.
Ava Gardner age 29 with her man, Sinatra, and Melanie Griffith, age 31, with her guy, Don Johnson. It’s probably unfair to compare Ava to Melanie, but both were knockouts. Yet, only one opted to age gracefully. Can you guess which?
Ava age 52 and Melanie age 55.
Melanie’s plastic surgery disasters have been much in the tabloids. As awful as they were, it’s wrong to keep pointing fingers and mocking. Instead, maybe someone should ask why these aging actresses feel the need to go under the knife time and again. There’s obviously something wrong here.
We shouldn’t give old Hollywood a pass either. Many of these old Hollywood actresses didn’t age gracefully – once their youthful sex appeal was gone, many couldn’t find work and receded into obscurity. Take for instance, Kim Novak, popular during the 50s and early 60s. She shocked many at the Oscars with her new “look”.
In the images above, Novak is 33 on the left and 81 on the right. EIGHTY-ONE-FREAKING YEARS OLD! Hollywood prides itself as being a liberal bastion, but there’s obviously a very old code still in effect that hasn’t aged one bit.