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Getting Old in Hollywood

Written by Gaby
When I look around most any restaurant in Hollywood, none of the ladies look old. They may look a little out of this world with the facelift, botox and sometimes breast enhancement but nobody, nobody has the appearance of what I would call an “older person.” Why this dread of aging? Dying, maybe, but what’s wrong with having a history? Beethoven, Willem de Kooning, Franklin Roosevelt, none of them made their mark as youngsters. In maturity, they became memorable.

I grew up in Amsterdam, Holland where aging was respected. Families often lived together, parents, grandparents and children. It worked; one generation helped the other. The young had their grandparents to dote on them, the parents had built in baby sitters, and the old felt appreciated and not isolated and lonely.

What can we do to bring this back? Fire the plastic surgeons with their beauty enhancements or teach children in school that Rembrandt was a star in his own time and not always young. An old Rembrandt is priceless. And so were many artist composers and writers. It was in their prime that they blossomed.

Especially in Hollywood this worship of youth and beauty takes place. When I was a performer, we dreaded getting older. No wrinkles, no white hair, no middle aged body fat— only, a large head of hair, sizeable boobs, white capped teeth, and the smile of a teenager, or at least, early twenties.

What price do we pay for this fear of aging and the lack of respect for the old?

First of all looking for a job at over 50 is almost hopeless. A friend of mine is doing it and not even being a salesclerk is available to him. He has to live on his meager social security or hope to find a well to do companion. Quite a choice, eh?

Can we educate our citizens to open their minds to aging? After all a salesperson over 50 still can do the job and must they look like a teenager? What IS this obsession with youth here in Hollywood? My memories of stars include elders from Spencer Tracy to Bette Davis. Even a droopy eyelid was acceptable; they were stars in spite of vintage years.

I pray that with time this rejection of aging will change. After all, leaders of our country start to get elected mostly in their mature years. Has there ever been a president in his teens or twenties? I admit that at 80 I am propagandizing for senior citizens. Open your minds and judge people by their character, skill and wisdom, not to mention compassion and kindness, the wise words of the Dali Llama.

Ok Folks. Shall we older folks organize like the Weightwatchers or Alcoholics Anonymous? Let me know. I am eager to have YOUR input!  Please email me at [email protected].

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