FloydDBarber

Age does not matter in Hollywood?

33 posts in this topic

Singing in the Rain (1952) Gene Kelly age 40 and Debby Reynolds age 20, in a romance.

 

I'll be Seeing You (1944) Tom Tully age 36 Spring Byington age 58, husband and wife.

 

Susan Slept Here (1954) Dick Powell age 50 Debby Reynolds age 22, housemates with more to come. 

 

I think it's funny that in real life our families and peers would be all over us for getting in a relationship with such a huge age difference. In Hollywood we might as well forget the age of the actors and just enjoy the film.

 

 

Any other examples you can think of?

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Sophia Loren and Grace Kelly were repeatedly subject to age gaps of 25-30 years from their leading men. They both appeared opposite Cary Grant and Clark Gable for instance. Kelly was opposite Bing Crosby twice, but then again, in his second marriage Bing Crosby was going home to a woman 30 years younger.

Audrey Hepburn was another one who was frequently opposite males considerably older such as Astaire, Grant, Bogart and Gary Cooper.

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Gary Cooper was 40 in Sergeant York and Joan Leslie was 16 or 17. Most of Audrey Hepburn's leading men were much older than her.

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It wasn't always the male that was older - Jean Arthur was often older than her male co-stars:

 

5 years older than Joel McCrea

7 years older than Ray Milland

8 years older than Van Heflin and Jimmy Stewart

10 years older than Robert Cummings

11 years older than John Lund

18 years older than William Holden

Edited by jamesjazzguitar
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I think it's funny that in real life our families and peers would be all over us for getting in a relationship with such a huge age difference. In Hollywood we might as well forget the age of the actors and just enjoy the film.

 

 

Any other examples you can think of?

 

I guess I don't come from that sort of  family. We've never cared about such things.

 

How about "Royal Wedding (1951)" where Astaire and Powell are brother and sister yet, 30 years apart. 

 

Its not a classic film but, "For Your Eyes Only (1981)" was interesting in that Roger Moore had a love interest played by Carole Bouquet. And another girl who had a crush on his character played by Lynn Holly Johnson who was considered too young for him in the film. Yet, the actresses were only a year apart ! 

 

Of course they were 30 and 31 years younger than Moore respectively.

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It wasn't always the male that was older - Jean Arthur was often older than her male co-stars:

 

5 years older than Joel McCrea

7 years older than Ray Milland

8 years older than Van Heflin and Jimmy Stewart

10 years older than Robert Cummings

11 years older than John Lund

 

She was 18 years older than William Holden, her leading man in Arizona.

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She was 18 years older than William Holden, her leading man in Arizona.

 

Thanks.  I added that one to the list.    I was trying to think of which of her costars was the youngest and forgot about this early Holden film  (not one of the better films by any of the stars and a role that didn't utilize the unique talents of Jean).

 

Anyhow I don't think any other actress from that era had this type of age difference with her costars.

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I find it interesting how in "All Fall Down" (1962), Angela Lansbury played Warren Beatty's mother, although she was only 12 years older than he. Unfortunately, Angela's roles got older faster than she did.

 

Another example is Charmian Carr as Liesel von Trapp in The Sound of Music (1965). She played a 16 year old, when she was really almost 21 years old. 

 

*These two examples, I think, prove that sometimes we as an audience, can't tell that a particular actor/actress is not the right age for their character. 

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Movies only reflecting real life.

 

"Harold and Maude", Ruth Gordon was 74 and Bert Cort 23.

 

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On TLC they talked about guys who date (and did a lot more) much older women.

 

Shocking_Lives_Season_1_High-Res_EP102_I

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Anyhow I don't think any other actress from that era had this type of age difference with her costars.

 

But can we say Jean Arthur was playing women her actual age, or usually characters much younger than she was?

 

A few more examples--

 

She was six and a half years older than John Wayne (her costar in A LADY TAKES A CHANCE); and she was 14 years older than Lee Bowman (who was paired with her in THE IMPATIENT YEARS). 

 

But Herbert Marshall, her love interest in IF YOU COULD ONLY COOK, was ten years older than her. And Edward Arnold, her DIAMOND JIM leading man, was also ten years older.

 

The costar who was closest in age to Jean Arthur was Chester Morris (he was only four months younger), and they were in PUBLIC HERO NO. 1 together.

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Well, there's the 38 year difference between JAMES MASON and SUE LYON in LOLITA, but then again----

 

That was the POINT!  ;)

 

 

Sepiatone

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Sophia Loren and Grace Kelly were repeatedly subject to age gaps of 25-30 years from their leading men. They both appeared opposite Cary Grant and Clark Gable for instance. Kelly was opposite Bing Crosby twice, but then again, in his second marriage Bing Crosby was going home to a woman 30 years younger.

 

Audrey Hepburn was another one who was frequently opposite males considerably older such as Astaire, Grant, Bogart and Gary Cooper.

Sophia had a gap like that with her real-life leading man.

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The queen of the age-difference romance movies, at least early in her career, was, of course, Audrey Hepburn:

 

Roman Holiday - Gregory Peck 37, Audrey 24 (13 years)

Sabrina - Humphrey Bogart 55, Audrey 25 (30 years)

War and Peace - Henry Fonda 51, Audrey 27 (24 years)

Funny Face - Fred Astaire 58, Audrey 28 (30 years)

Love in the Afternoon - Gary Cooper 56, Audrey 28 (28 years)

Charade - Cary Grant 59, Audrey 34 (25 years)

 

And if you want to call My Fair Lady a romance (all Eliza seems to want out of life is to dance with Professor Higgins and bring him his slippers), then we have Rex Harrison 56 Audrey 35 (21 years).

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Thanks.  I added that one to the list.    I was trying to think of which of her costars was the youngest and forgot about this early Holden film  (not one of the better films by any of the stars and a role that didn't utilize the unique talents of Jean).

 

Anyhow I don't think any other actress from that era had this type of age difference with her costars.

 

Maybe Irene Dunne in A GUY NAMED JOE - she was about 18 years older than Van Johnson.

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But can we say Jean Arthur was playing women her actual age, or usually characters much younger than she was?

 

A few more examples--

 

She was six and a half years older than John Wayne (her costar in A LADY TAKES A CHANCE); and she was 14 years older than Lee Bowman (who was paired with her in THE IMPATIENT YEARS). 

 

But Herbert Marshall, her love interest in IF YOU COULD ONLY COOK, was ten years older than her. And Edward Arnold, her DIAMOND JIM leading man, was also ten years older.

 

The costar who was closest in age to Jean Arthur was Chester Morris (he was only four months younger), and they were in PUBLIC HERO NO. 1 together.

 

By the late 30s \ early 40s I assume most of the characters Jean played were about 10  years younger than her actual age.    Of course I'm assuming what the age of these characters based on the plot;  a women that has never been married - given the times these are stories of women in their late 20s \ early 30s,  not stories of women in their late 30s \ early 40s.    e.g.  The More the Merrier,  Devil and Miss Jones,   and especially Foreign Affair (where she was 47).

 

But to me Arthur never came off as 'too old' since she brought such energy and spunk to her roles.

 

Note that Rosalind Russell made  'never married women falls in love'  films during the 40s but in these the plot made it clear she was a 'mature' women.      A career women that focused so much on her profession she didn't have time for 'love'.    In these films Russell was playing characters that were her actual age (or just slightly younger).       

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By the late 30s \ early 40s I assume most of the characters Jean played were about 10  years younger than her actual age.    Of course I'm assuming what the age of these characters based on the plot;  a women that has never been married - given the times these are stories of women in their late 20s \ early 30s,  not stories of women in their late 30s \ early 40s.    e.g.  The More the Merrier,  Devil and Miss Jones,   and especially Foreign Affair (where she was 47).

 

But to me Arthur never came off as 'too old' since she brought such energy and spunk to her roles.

 

Note that Rosalind Russell made  'never married women falls in love'  films during the 40s but in these the plot made it clear she was a 'mature' women.      A career women that focused so much on her profession she didn't have time for 'love'.    In these films Russell was playing characters that were her actual age (or just slightly younger).       

 

I agree that these vehicles worked for Jean Arthur and Rosalind Russell, for the very different reasons you describe. But for some actresses, it doesn't work.

 

Lucille Ball was playing a single mother of young children on The Lucy Show and barely able to pull it off. But by the time she got to Here's Lucy, her third sitcom, which ironically featured her own real-life children playing her children on the show, they still had dialogue where Gale Gordon's character called her 'young lady' when clearly she no longer was. In the fifth season, when she broke her leg on hiatus and they had to write it into several episodes, she seems to age quite a bit.

 

After Here's Lucy concluded its run at the end of its sixth season, Ball was again trying to reinvent herself as a vital young woman in the movies in MAME with heavy amounts of make-up and excessive soft-focus lighting that critics jumped on in their reviews. She was old enough to be the boy's grandmother, not his aunt, in that particular story. It makes you wonder how Rosalind Russell would have approached it if she had done the musical version of AUNTIE MAME instead of Lucy-- would she have allowed Mame to be more mature and act her normal age?

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If the idea is to have an audience accept that there's sexual/romantic activity involved, only the male is acceptable to be advanced in age.

 

Lots of examples can be found of this.

 

But it definitely does "matter in Hollywood" that the female not be advanced in age.

 

"Hollywood" recognizes that audience members (men, certainly) want their actresses to be as desirable as possible - and aging don't work that way for them.

 

It's easy as cake to believe that a 60 year old man finds a 30 year old woman attractive enough to fall in love with. And we can believe a woman can fall for a 60 year old man, if he's managed to stay handsome in his aging.

 

But there's no way they're gonna believe a 30 year old man is gonna fall in love with a 60 year old woman. It may be possible, but we don't wanna see it.

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Ideal wifes age should be 20 yrs younger than husband and I for shure don't want to see a romance w/a 60yr old woman either.

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Juliet Mills and Maxwell Caulfield have been married a long time, and she's quite a bit older than him.

 

And Joan Collins' husband is much younger. Their marriage has lasted.

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Garson Kanin was 16 years younger than wife Ruth Gordon.

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Heh!

 

As one who's wife is 10 years my senior,  I can only say that when I met her, she neither looked nor acted it, and that's why it probably worked out.

 

Well, that and the fact she's a wonderful individual.  She's the  favorite Aunt of ALL our many nieces and nephews, and she's very seriously ill right now.  And all her family is beside theirselves with worry and concern.

 

 

Sepiatone

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Ideal wifes age should be 20 yrs younger than husband and I for shure don't want to see a romance w/a 60yr old woman either.

Except if the man is in his twenties. The wife would have to be in single digits.

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Except if the man is in his twenties. The wife would have to be in single digits.

 

HEY now, DGF! There are LAWS against that sort'a thing, ya know!

 

(...and no all you more "conservative types" out there...this whole gay marriage thing WON'T ever change that, as much as you use that lame argument against it...well, THAT and that whole lame "marry your pet goat" thing)

 

LOL

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Heh!

 

As one who's wife is 10 years my senior,  I can only say that when I met her, she neither looked nor acted it, and that's why it probably worked out.

 

Well, that and the fact she's a wonderful individual.  She's the  favorite Aunt of ALL our many nieces and nephews, and she's very seriously ill right now.  And all her family is beside theirselves with worry and concern.

 

 

Sepiatone

 

Sorry to hear this, Sepia.

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The queen of the age-difference romance movies, at least early in her career, was, of course, Audrey Hepburn:

 

Roman Holiday - Gregory Peck 37, Audrey 24 (13 years)

Sabrina - Humphrey Bogart 55, Audrey 25 (30 years)

War and Peace - Henry Fonda 51, Audrey 27 (24 years)

Funny Face - Fred Astaire 58, Audrey 28 (30 years)

Love in the Afternoon - Gary Cooper 56, Audrey 28 (28 years)

Charade - Cary Grant 59, Audrey 34 (25 years)

 

And if you want to call My Fair Lady a romance (all Eliza seems to want out of life is to dance with Professor Higgins and bring him his slippers), then we have Rex Harrison 56 Audrey 35 (21 years).

 

At least in Charade they actually acknowledged the age difference and had Audrey Hepburn's character be the pursuer.

 

Father Goose -- Cary Grant 60, Leslie Caron 33 (27 years)

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