Hollywood can be a ruthless industry. It’s hard to get your foot in the door and even once you’re in, it’s hard to sustain your career. There are many tragic tales of actors and actresses dying in their old age, completely forgotten by the public and younger generations.
But there are a few great actors who are over 90 and are still working in Hollywood! They’ve had successful careers and have gone on to become show business icons. Yet, they’ve never sat on their laurels and still seek to make great art today.
They’ve brought us some of American cinema’s most popular characters, and they’re still determined to take on exciting and challenging roles even today!
Let’s learn about the incredible lives and careers of a few actors over 90 who are still working in Hollywood…
Clint Eastwood worked several odd jobs before settling on becoming an actor. His life as a lumberjack, lifeguard, and brief stint in the military toughened him up and made him easily transition to some of his acting roles.
He first made his name on the popular Western series Rawhide and soon became a staple of Western films. He made his name playing The Man With No Name in Sergio Leone’s trilogy of films: A Fistful of Dollars, A Few Dollars More, and The Good The Bad and The Ugly. His other great Western film was Unforgiven released in the early 90s.
After mostly moving away from Westerns, he appeared in many action and crime films. In the 70s and 80s, he became famous for playing Harry Callahan in the Dirty Harry film series.
His notable roles in the 90s and 2000s including roles in The Rookie,The Bridges of Madison County, In The Line of Fire, Absolute Power, True Crime, Space Cowboys, Million Dollar Baby, and Gran Torino.
Gran Torinohas become one of his most famous roles. It showed that even in his 70s, he still had the same tough persona that made him a star in the first place.
While he’s focused mainly on directing in the past 2 decades, he continued acting. He starred in the 2020 film Cry Macho which he also produced and directed. While there isn’t much information on his upcoming projects, we won’t be surprised if he’s still got a couple more acting gigs ahead of him!
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JAMES EARL JONES
In 2021, James Earl Jones reprised his role as King Jaffe Joffer in Coming 2 America – the much-anticipated sequel to the 1988 hit comedy film!
He was 90 years old when the film was released! Many fans were happy to see him back, and many are eager to see if he’s got any upcoming roles in the near future.
James Earl Jones began his career in the early 1950s. His first credit was as the Prince of Morocco in a 1962 documentary episode on the show Monitor. So, his first role was a prince and 6 decades later he was back to playing a King!
Throughout the 1970s, James Earl Jones acted in a series of great American films. These included The Great White Hope, Claudine, Deadly Hero, The River Niger, Swashbuckler, The Greatest, and A Piece of the Action.
He also voiced what would become one of cinema’s most iconic villains – Darth Vader in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. James Earl Jones continued to act regularly in the 1980s and 1990s. He became known for his commanding presence and his powerful voice.
Some of his other famous roles include work in films such as Field of Dreams, The Hunt for Red October, Ramayana: The Legend of Prince Rama, The Sandlot, The Lion King, and Cry The Beloved Country.
He’s one of Hollywood’s greatest character actors who has played heroes and villains equally with ease. We can hope that he takes on a few more roles soon!
One of the finest film actors alive has been responsible for a range of characters from Boo Radley to Tom Hagen to Judge Joseph Palmer.
Robert Duvall studied acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York City. Robert studied under acting legend Sanford Meisner. And paid for his studies from the GI Bill as he was enlisted in the US Army at the time.
He began his career in TV movies and TV series. He first received regular work on the TV series Naked City – in which he starred in multiple roles across multiple episodes. But he became a household name when he portrayed the shy and mysterious Boo Radley in To Kill A Mockingbird.
Throughout the 1960s, he focused mainly on working in television. His notable film appearances were in the film Bullitt and True Grit. The 1970s was the decade when Robert Duvall’s film career really took off.
He begun the decade with a role as Major Frank Burns in M*A*S*H. He also played THX in George Lucas’s film THX 1138. But he truly became a star when he played Tom Hagen in The Godfather and The Godfather Part II.
In the 80s, he continued to act regularly with two of his most famous roles in The Natural and Colors. In the 90s, he appeared in Days of Thunder, Sling Blade, Deep Impact, and A Civil Action.
He didn’t slow down in the slightest in the 2000s, 2010s, or the 2020s. His most recent release was in the 2021 film 12 Might Orphans. He’s got three upcoming releases Hustle, The Ploughmen, and The Pale Blue Eye. He may be in his nineties, but he’s clearly not slowing down!
One of cinema’s most remarkable actresses is Lisa Lu – who has had a career in Chinese cinema and in Hollywood!
Lisa Lu was born in Beijing, China, in 1927. As a teenager, she performed in Kunqu – the popular style of Chinese opera. Lisa emigrated to the United States in the 1950s and was determined to become a star in Hollywood.
Lisa began her acting career in America in the animated film Panda and the Magic Serpent. She voiced the character Bai-Niang. The film was one of the first anime films to be released in the United States and it helped launch Lisa’s Hollywood career.
In 1960, she debuted as Madame Su-Mei Hung in the war film The Mountain Road alongside James Stewart. Today’s audiences may not appreciate how unusual it was to see an Asian-American actress in a leading role in a major Hollywood film. It was clear that Lisa Lu wanted to break barriers in Hollywood.
Lisa Lu’s Notable Role
She continued to act in both English and Chinese films throughout her career. Her notable film roles in Hollywood include Rider on a Dead Horse, Womanhunt, Terror in the Wax Museum, Demon Seed, Saint Jack, Hammett, Don’t Cry It’s Only Thunder, and Sewing Woman.
She also appeared in a variety of great films made in mainland China and in Hong Kong. Her Chinese film work includes roles in The Arch, The 14 Amazons, The Empress Dowager, The Last Tempest, The Last Aristocrats, Temptation of a Monk, and The Postmodern Life of My Aunt.
She also played Empress Dowager Cixi a third time in Bernardo Bertolucci’s film The Last Emperor. In the 1990s, she became well-known to audiences once again for her role as An-mei Hsu in The Joy Luck Club – based on Amy Tan’s bestselling book.
In the 2000s, she appeared in two of the most popular films of her career. She acted in Ang Lee’s thriller film Lust Caution in 2007 and in the film Crazy Rich Asians in 2018. In 2021, she acted in the film The Disappearance of Mrs. Wu and she’s set to appear in an upcoming short film called Penzai.
For just over 7 decades, Lois Smith has given us some of Hollywood’s most memorable female roles. She’s one of Hollywood’s most recognizable character actresses and it seems like we’re going to keep seeing her on-screen for years to come!
She began her acting career as a stage actress in the early 1950s. She appeared in plays such as Time Out for Ginger, The Wisteria Trees, The Glass Menagerie, and The Young and Beautiful.
Her film debut was in the 1955 film East of Eden directed by Elia Kazan. The same year, she appeared in the Western Strange Lady in Town. She then focused on TV for the remainder of the 1950s and the 1960s.
She had bit parts and recurring roles on shows such as Robert Montgomery Presents, The United States Steel Hour, Matinee Theatre, Strindberg on Love, The Master Builder, Naked City, Dr. Kildare, and Somerset.
She returned to cinema in 1970 with a supporting role in the independent film Five Easy Pieces – starring alongside Jack Nicholson and Karen Black.
Lois Smith’s Popular Role
The 1970s and 1980s helped launch Lois Smith to stardom. She had roles in many popular Hollywood and independent films, including Up in the Sandbox, Next Stop Greenwich Village, Foxes, Four Friends, Black Widow, Fatal Attraction, and Midnight Run.
These films established Lois Smith as one of Hollywood’s most popular character actresses. She certainly didn’t slow down in the 90s and 2000s! She appeared in a wide range of films, including Green Card, Fried Green Tomatoes, How to Make an American Quilt, Dead Man Walking, Minority Report, and Kill Shot.
Her most recent film role was in the 2021 Wes Anderson film The French Dispatch. She’s also appearing in the upcoming film Mack & Rita. She keeps herself busy in film, television, and theatre – both on and off Broadway!
She’s over 90 and is as busy as ever. We can expect her acting resume to grow for quite some time!
Are you a fan of any of these actors?
Do you think that they’re still producing great work today? Or do you think that they’ve peaked and their current work simply can’t match up to their earlier roles?
Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.
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