The Oldest Living Actors In Hollywood Today

We know their names, we've seen their films and TV shows, but sometimes we forget that some of the iconic pioneers of Hollywood are still alive today. Some of them have been around since the early golden days of Old Hollywood, so they've really seen it all. Many have helped make strides in equality for performers and paved the way for modern stars today — making it easier for future actors to make their mark in Hollywood. They've helped shape the way we look at TV and film, and their iconic performances still live in the memories of people from all generations. 

Hollywood and the acting profession can be a tough road to take, but those who've made it this far wouldn't change their journey for anything. For better or for worse, these actors are all legends in their own right. These are some of the oldest living actors in Hollywood today.

Sophia Loren, age 85

Iconic Italian actress Sophia Loren is known as a legend from the Golden Age of Hollywood and one of the most beautiful actresses in Italy and the United States, and she's far from slowing down. According to Britannica, Loren was born Sofia Villani Scicolone in Rome to unmarried parents and was raised in poverty-stricken Naples — not the best recipe for a happy childhood in 1930s Italy. However, she grew up to be very beautiful, and Loren's mother started entering her in beauty pageants when she was 16. 

As noted by The Sydney Morning Herald, it was through these pageants that Loren was discovered by film producer Carlo Ponti — who would eventually become her husband. Loren already had natural acting talent, which helped Ponti turn her into the glamorous actress we know today. He started by casting her in small parts in low-budget Italian films, and her big break came when Loren was cast in Vittorio De Sica's The Gold of Naples. In 1956, Loren was finally introduced to the American public by starring in The Pride and the Passion.

Over the years, Loren has accumulated an impressive and varied list of film credits, both in comedy and drama. She would go on to be nominated for Best Actress in Marriage Italian Style and then receive that treasured Academy Award for Best Actress for the film Two Women. Loren is ranked by the American Film Institute as the 21st greatest film star of classic Hollywood.

Sean Connery, age 90

Update: Sean Connery has died, age 90, according to the BBC. On October 31, 2020, it was announced that the actor had died in his sleep in the Bahamas. 

Audiences know Sean Connery as the original James Bond, the first actor to ever portray the British spy onscreen. Born in Scotland to a struggling family, according to Biography, Connery dropped out of school at 13 to work full-time and joined the Royal Navy at 16. Connery got his break in acting thanks to his bodybuilding hobby, in which he competed professionally. During a competition, a casting director offered Connery a chorus role in a production of South Pacific. According to Connery, one rehearsal was all it took for him to decide that acting would be his career. Connery continued to get consistent TV and film roles. Right after his 20th Century Fox contract expired, Connery was cast in his first Bond film, and he would star in six more. He would also star in other notable projects such as Marnie, A Fine Madness, and Shalako.

But Connery would become a controversial figure in media, speaking openly about hitting women (his first wife alleged physical abuse in their divorce) and advocating abusive behavior. In his later career, he would go on to make questionable decisions regarding movie projects. He was offered prominent movie roles such as Morpheus in The Matrix, John Hammond in Jurassic Park, and Gandalf in Lord of the Rings. Obviously, he took none of those parts, but he did choose significantly less successful films such as Dragonheart, The Avengers, and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Connery announced his retirement in 2006.

Tippi Hedren, age 90

Best remembered as the ultimate, cool Hitchcockian blonde, Tippi Hedren's most famous performances were in the Hitchcock films The Birds and Marnie. Born in Minnesota before relocating to California, according to Biography, Hedren got her start as a model. After her divorce from actor Peter Griffith, she started doing commercial work. It was through her commercials that director Alfred Hitchcock discovered Hedren and offered her a seven-year contract and the starring role in The Birds.

Being in acclaimed movies and working with a famed director like Alfred Hitchcock should have propelled Hedren to stardom, but unfortunately, that didn't happen the way it should have. According to an article by Variety, Alfred Hitchcock was very much a bully, preying on Hedren and sexually harassing her. When she refused his advances, Hitchcock threatened her career. Feeling that further dealings with Hitchcock weren't worth it, Hedren told Hitchcock to do what he wanted. And sadly, he did keep his promise to blackball her career by keeping Hedren under contract and refusing to cast her in any significant movie projects. She wouldn't be cast in another major film until 1967 — three years after Marnie was released. 

While Hedren's future roles and projects would not carry the prominence of Marnie and The Birds, she managed to find later success on television and became a passionate defender of animal rights. Both her daughter, Melanie Griffith, and her granddaughter, Dakota Johnson, are now well-known film actresses.

Christopher Plummer, age 90

A Shakespearean-trained actor, Christopher Plummer is best known for his role as Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music. Born in Toronto, Canada, according to Britannica, Plummer started his theatrical career in Canadian repertory theater groups and had his big break in New York City. His critical acclaim led to him joining the American Shakespeare Festival Company in Stratford, Connecticut. Plummer continued to perform onstage in England, Canada, and the United States.

Plummer's breakout movie role came in the form of the 1956 film Stage Struck, and he was later cast in The Fall of the Roman Empire. But Plummer will likely always be remembered best for The Sound of Music. Although Captain von Trapp is his most famous role, Plummer has stated on record that this was definitely not his favorite part to play. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Plummer explained why he often had disdain for the musical: "Because it was so awful and sentimental and gooey. You had to work terribly hard to try and infuse some miniscule bit of humor into it."

Plummer has maintained a varied body of work even well into his later years, spanning from film to stage to voice acting. He won his first Academy Award (for Best Supporting Actor) at the age of 82 for the film Beginners, and we have seen him continue to perform in recent films such as All The Money in the World and Knives Out.

Sidney Poitier, age 93

Sidney Poitier has made his mark in Hollywood and history as the first Black actor to win an Academy Award. Born in Miami (to Bahamian parents) but raised in the Bahamas, according to Britannica, Poitier returned to the U.S. and served in World War II in a medical unit. After his discharge, he tried to apply to the American Negro Theatre in New York City but was rejected due to his heavy Bahamian accent. In order to lose his accent, Poitier retrained his voice by listening to American radio shows. He reapplied to the ANT six months later, and this time, he was accepted.

Poitier has been credited with redefining Black people's roles in film, eschewing any parts that would paint African Americans in a stereotypical light. He's best remembered for his roles as collected, refined gentlemen, and people loved him. As noted in an article by Vanity Fair, 1967 was a time of significant unrest, and the Civil Rights Movement was in full force. And this was the year that Sidney Poitier had three of his most famous pictures released: To Sir, with Love, In the Heat of the Night, and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. People were impressed with Poitier's poise onscreen. He was always cultured and gracious in his roles, while his white colleagues' characters were usually in need of an attitude adjustment. At the height of the Civil Rights Movement, these films' message was clear: Do better.

Mel Brooks, age 94

Comedian, writer, actor, director, and producer Mel Brooks is a living icon. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, according to Biography, by the time the young Brooks was in high school, he was already an accomplished pianist, drummer, and mimic, having studied under the legendary musician Buddy Rich. After serving in World War II, Brooks worked as a comedian and entertainer at resorts in the Catskills before landing his big break in television as the co-creator of Get Smart. According to Britannica, next came his first full-length feature film, which he wrote and directed, The Producers. The Producers wasn't well-received at the box offices at first, but Brooks won an Academy Award for Best Screenplay. In later years, this first Mel Brooks film became a well-known cult classic and would be adapted into a hit Broadway musical.

Brooks would go on to create other popular parody films such as Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Spaceballs, and Young Frankenstein. He also started his own production company, Brooksfilms, to showcase more serious work such as The Elephant Man. Brooks was also a longtime partner and friend of comedian Carl Reiner. Reiner and Brooks as well as their wives, Estelle Reiner and Anne Bancroft, were all good friends and often collaborated together. Bancroft passed in 2005 and Estelle Reiner in 2008. Up until Carl Reiner's death this year, Brooks and Reiner saw each other almost daily, spending their nineties trading jokes on entertainment and politics.

Cloris Leachman, age 94

A strong comedic actress, Cloris Leachman is usually remembered best for her role as Phyllis Lindstrom on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa, according to PBS, Leachman attended college at Northwestern University to study drama. After competing in a Miss America beauty pageant and winning Miss Chicago, Leachman was given the scholarship she needed to go to New York City and study with acting coach Elia Kazan. Under her studies and tutelage, Leachman became an accomplished method actor.

Her iconic role at Phyllis Lindstrom on The Mary Tyler Moore Show earned Leachman her own spinoff series — Phyllis – and Emmy Awards. She's gone on to work with comedians like Mel Brooks, always striving to keep her comedic characters new and fresh and avoiding being typecast in a single role. As noted by Britannica, although she's best known as a comedic actress and for performing in notable sitcom roles, Leachman has serious film work on her résumé as well. In fact, she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the dramatic coming-of-age film, The Last Picture Show. In recent years, Leachman has continued to do television roles and voice acting.

Dick Van Dyke, age 94

Dancer, comedian, and actor Dick Van Dyke is still going strong at 94 years old. According to History, after serving in the military in World War II and well into the 1950s, Van Dyke held a variety of acting jobs, including game show host gigs. His big break came when he was cast in the Broadway production of Bye Bye Birdie, which earned him a Tony Award. (He would reprise his role in the film adaptation of the musical.) After his Broadway success, Carl Reiner would approach Van Dyke about starring in a sitcom about Reiner's experiences as a comedy writer for Sid Caesar. Van Dyke signed on, and The Dick Van Dyke Show was born. The Dick Van Dyke Show would also serve as a huge career boost for other actors like Mary Tyler Moore, Morey Amsterdam, and Rose Marie.

In addition to his TV successes, as noted by Biography, Van Dyke would go on to star in major motion pictures such as Mary Poppins and Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang. While critics skewered Van Dyke's Cockney English accent in Mary Poppins, he received high acclaim for his acting and dancing skills — despite a rough time with the accent, his role as Bert is one of his best known and most highly praised film appearances. Van Dyke is still continuing to act and has been seen in recent films such as Night at the Museum and Mary Poppins Returns.

Angela Lansbury, age 94

Born in London to a politician father and a stage actress mother, Angela Lansbury came by her acting talents honestly. According to Biography, her father died when she was only nine, and the young Angela spent part of her preadolescence attending acting school in Ireland. When World War II broke out, Lansbury, her mother, and her siblings immigrated to the United States to escape the London Blitz — they settled in New York City.

Her breakthrough Hollywood role came in the 1944 film Gaslight, for which Lansbury was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. One year later, Lansbury starred in The Picture of Dorian Gray, for which she received another Academy Award nomination. However, according to Variety, after these major roles, while Lansbury had steady work, she was often cast in secondary roles, usually playing middle-aged women and mothers. She took to Broadway instead, and after a hit performance in Mame, Lansbury found that Broadway offered more variety and more opportunities for starring roles. 

Over the years, Lansbury's career varied from television to stage to the big screen, and she has amassed an impressive body of work. In her later years, she received acclaim for her role as Jessica Fletcher in the TV series Murder, She Wrote — a role she would play for 12 years. In 2014, Lansbury finally received an honorary Academy Award in recognition for her cinematic achievements.

Eva Marie Saint, age 96

At the age of 96 years old, Eva Marie Saint is currently the oldest living Academy Award winner. Saint was able to claim this title quite recently after Oscar winner Oliva de Havilland passed away on July 26, 2020, at the age of 104. According to Britannica, Saint received her degree from Bowling Green State University in 1946 and jumped straight into a radio acting career in New York City while taking classes at the Actors' Studio. Her role in the TV, film, and Broadway production of The Trip to Bountiful attracted Hollywood's much-desired attention, leading to Saint being cast in her debut film On the Waterfront. It was this role that earned Saint her Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

For a long time, Saint was often typecast in parts where she usually played the sweet, saintly character with flowing, blonde hair. However, she did a turnabout when Alfred Hitchcock cast her in North by Northwest as the cool femme fatale spy (with a sophisticated, shorter new hairdo). After the 1960s, Saint worked more on TV movies than in big-screen films. Her most recent notable role was a voice acting part on the hit cartoon series The Legend of Korra. 

Betty White, age 98

Betty White has enjoyed a long and illustrious career in comedy. According to Biography, White's first real job was an assistant at a local TV station in Los Angeles. In the 1950s, she launched her first sitcom, Life With Elizabeth. This makes White one of the first women to maintain creative control over her own show — both behind the camera and in front of it. Life With Elizabeth lasted only a few seasons, but it earned White an Emmy Award and plenty of prestige.

As noted by PBS, White went on to appear as the memorable and conniving Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which won her massive praise as well as other parts on shows such as The Carol Burnett Show and Mama's Family. In the 1980s, White went on to star in what is probably her most memorable role — Rose Nylund in The Golden Girls. Today, White is the only living member of the main cast. 

Her memorable performances didn't end there. In 2010, at the age of 88, White became the oldest person to host Saturday Night Live. And in that same year, she joined the main cast of the sitcom Hot in Cleveland — she starred in the show for all five seasons. Even at the age of 98, White shows no signs of slowing down.

Norman Lloyd, age 105

Norman Lloyd is currently the oldest living Hollywood actor and is still working to this day. Lloyd has had a long and impressive career in TV, film, and Broadway — both as an actor and director. According to The New Yorker, he's probably the only person alive who could tell you anything personal about the great actor Orson Welles. (The two worked together on a theater production of Julius Caesar in 1937). As The Hollywood Reporter notes, no one alive in Hollywood has a more extensive list of credits than Lloyd. Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, he became captivated by the acting profession through visits to the weekend matinees with his mother.

If you're wondering why you haven't heard as much about Lloyd, it's probably because he was a victim of the blacklist in 1950s Hollywood. Through only his association with other accused Hollywood subversives, Lloyd found his career stagnating. His career was saved, however, when Alfred Hitchock hired Lloyd as an associate producer on his TV series Alfred Hitchcock Presents. In the 1980s, Lloyd received a lead role in the medical drama St. Elsewhere. He was originally just supposed to be a guest star on the show, but he was so loved that he became a series regular. In recent years, Lloyd has continued to perform in small TV and film roles — his most recent film credit was in Judd Apatow's 2015 movie Trainwreck.