TopBilled

What they looked like at the end of their careers/lives

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Sometimes we have a fixed image of a favorite star in our minds, usually from one of their best known films made during their peak years. After watching a 1949 film starring Betty Grable, I was curious to find a picture from later in her life to see if she'd changed much. I found this one, from 1972, taken the year before she died from lung cancer. She was at some awards ceremony and bumped into her former costar Martha Raye. Betty Grable was 55 years old when this shot was taken.

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I had also seen THE TRUE STORY OF JESSE JAMES where Jeffrey Hunter plays Frank James. He was 31 when that film was released. I knew he died at age 43 so I wondered if he lost his matinee idol looks ten year later, but I don't think he did.

This photo is from his last film, a giallo made in Italy and released in 1969 the year he died. He plays a Chicago gangster in VIVA AMERICA. 

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How Charlie Chaplin looked in 1975 when he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth. He was 86 at the time and would pass away two years later.

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32 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

How Charlie Chaplin looked in 1975 when he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth. He was 86 at the time and would pass away two years later.

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Actually not a bad pic of him. Granted, he was past his prime, but heck we will all be past our prime one day. 

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Veronica Lake shortly before she died at age 50 in 1973:

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Charlotte Henry, she played Alice in "Alice In Wonderland" (1933) and Bo-Peep in "Babes In Toyland"(1934) before retiring from films in the early 1940s. She died of cancer in 1980. Not sure of the date of this picture but it is the only one that shows her in later years. Still a cute face.

 

Image result for charlotte henry grave

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"Getting old is not for sissies." - Bette Davis

 

Cary Grant

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James Cagney

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James Stewart

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Joel McCrea

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John Wayne

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Henry Fonda

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Laurence Olivier

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Burt Lancaster

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Robert Mitchum

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Susan Hayward in 1974. She would die from cancer in March 1975.

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Except for Robert Mitchum who had emphysema and was still smoking, and Judy Garland who suffered a lifetime of substance abuse, brought on by TPTB at MGM feeding her amphetamines for weight loss and then sleeping pills to calm her down, I think most of these folks aged gracefully.

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5 minutes ago, ChristineHoard said:

Cary and Burt look the best.

Burt had a few more years after that picture. He had a debilitating stroke in '90, and lingered on for four more years. Thankfully I didn't find a picture from that era. I think the one I posted was from Field of Dreams in '89.

John Wayne, Henry Fonda, and Laurence Olivier had been battling serious medical issues for many years prior to their pictures above.

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2 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

Burt had a few more years after that picture. He had a debilitating stroke in '90, and lingered on for four more years. Thankfully I didn't find a picture from that era. I think the one I posted was from Field of Dreams in '89.

John Wayne, Henry Fonda, and Laurence Olivier had been battling serious medical issues for many years prior to their pictures above.

I also noticed that the photos of the people I said "look the best" appear to be more portrait-type shots (especially Cary) unlike some of the other photos which look like candids.

Generally, the pictures where people are smiling (or half-smiling) look better and happier than ones where they look "get off my lawn" grumpy.  I realize health has a lot to do with this.

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Ingrid Bergman from 1982. She succumbed to cancer in August.

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1 hour ago, TopBilled said:

Ingrid Bergman from 1982. She succumbed to cancer in August.

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For someone who was battling cancer, she still had an air of dignity and grace about her in this pic.

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20 minutes ago, Bethluvsfilms said:

For someone who was battling cancer, she still had an air of dignity and grace about her in this pic.

In an interview Loretta Young did in the 90s, she said she had visited Ingrid in Paris after Ingrid had learned she was terminal. Ingrid was struggling with it. Years earlier she had abandoned her religious views and according to Loretta asked Loretta if she felt there really was an afterlife. Of course Loretta said yes.

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34 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

In an interview Loretta Young did in the 90s, she said she had visited Ingrid in Paris after Ingrid had learned she was terminal. Ingrid was struggling with it. Years earlier she had abandoned her religious views and according to Loretta asked Loretta if she felt there really was an afterlife. Of course Loretta said yes.

As a kid, I can remember seeing the Academy Awards ceremony where Jimmy Stewart breaks down, accepting an honorary Oscar for Gary Cooper, who was near death with cancer at the time.

Gary Cooper and Ernest Hemingway were great friends. Both ended up dying within months of each other.

Late in life Coop had converted to Catholicism, influenced by the faith of his wife and daughter. He had discussed his newly-found deep faith with Hemingway, who was also a Catholic convert.

The Oscars were in April 1961 and Coop died in May. 

Ernest Hemingway blew his brains out with a shotgun that following July in his home.

It was noted in the press about their close relationship and how closely their deaths occurred within months of each other.

 

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Poor Rita Hayworth; the press seemed to delight in capturing her looking not-so-flattering in her final days. Perhaps they just didn't understand that she was deteriorating from Alzheimer's Disease. This photo is from 1981 (she passed away in 1987.) I think she still has that amazing smile.

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4 hours ago, TopBilled said:

Susan Hayward in 1974. She would die from cancer in March 1975.

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Susan Hayward was also a Catholic convert, a little more than 10 years before her death from brain cancer.

Fatefully she was a member of the cast of the infamous movie "The Conqueror", where it has been documented that approximately 90 cast and crew members including, director Dick Powell and her co-star John Wayne, died of cancer as well.

The film was shot on location near a nuclear test weapons site in Utah.

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1 hour ago, sagebrush said:

Poor Rita Hayworth; the press seemed to delight in capturing her looking not-so-flattering in her final days. Perhaps they just didn't understand that she was deteriorating from Alzheimer's Disease. This photo is from 1981 (she passed away in 1987.) I think she still has that amazing smile.

rita1981adamscull.jpg

The press;  they help make them,  they help break them.  

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1 hour ago, TopBilled said:

Sterling Hayden in 1984. The actor passed away in 1986.

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Now there's The Old Man and the Sea.  He's tough and grizzled and seems content living life his way.

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9 hours ago, Bethluvsfilms said:

Actually not a bad pic of him. Granted, he was past his prime, but heck we will all be past our prime one day. 

I was pleasantly surprised to see Geraldine Chaplin in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, of all movies. Nice to know she's still working.

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13 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

The press;  they help make them,  they help break them.  

I remember seeing the awful photos of her in the 1980's and press accusations of crazy drunken behavior.  Her daughter spoke up about Alzheimer's and this led to more awareness of this awful disease that can happen to anybody.

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50 minutes ago, ChristineHoard said:

Now there's The Old Man and the Sea.  He's tough and grizzled and seems content living life his way.

Yea,  he became a hippie in his late 50s.   I remember seeing him on Johnny Carson and it was clear to me he loved the bud.  

PS:  I saw this Carson episode only a few years ago and at the time  I didn't know Hayden had moved in such a direction.    In my mind he was the clean cut wack job from Dr. Strangelove or the tough guy from noir.  So when I saw him with long hair and that beard it kind of shocked me.    But he came off as very lovable in an eccentric sort of way.  

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