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 88

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.

James Earl Jones, age 91

James Earl Jones is most well-known as the voice of Darth Vader, and it's such an iconic role that it's easy to overlook the rest of his illustrious career on stage and screen.

It didn't always start out that way, through, and in 2009, he told The Guardian, "I am a redneck, too. I am a Mississippi farm person. I can be foul-mouthed, I can be inarticulate. It's just that my neck doesn't get red." Jones was born in 1931 into a Southern family of 13 — and that didn't include his father, who left before he was born. Jones was shuffled around through various family members before the family moved to Michigan. The stress was too much, and with the move, the 5-year-old developed something that would shape the course of the rest of his life: a stutter.

He's been incredibly honest about his struggles, stating that he was more comfortable talking to the animals on his farm than to other kids because, "Stuttering is painful ... I'd try to read my lessons and the children behind me were falling on the floor with laughter" (via The Daily Mail). It was his stutter that encouraged Jones to turn to acting, and he says it also made him appreciate how powerful the spoken word was. That was about the same time his father came back into his life, and it was a simple sentence uttered in honesty — "You can act." — that set him on his path.

Tippi Hedren, age 92

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.

Gene Hackman, age 92

Gene Hackman's story is the stuff of inspiration, and it shows just how far a gritty sort of determination can get a person. According to The Independent, he went from being voted Least Likely to Succeed by his acting class to one of the most iconic actors of his era. Shockingly, Hackman didn't get his big break until he was practically ancient (by Hollywood standards, at least). That was in "The French Connection," when he was 41 years old — and he says he almost wasn't cast.

Hackman didn't just make a living playing the tough guy. He learned at a young age just how hard life could be. Born on January 30, 1930, he was just 13 when his father hopped in his car, waved, and drove away. After a rough few years punctuated with fights and run-ins with the law, he joined the Marines. After four and a half years in the Corps, and right before the Korean War, a severe motorcycle accident ended any hope of a military career. At 26 years old, already seemingly aged out of young Hollywood, Hackman decided to enroll in acting school at the encouragement of his new wife, where he didn't get along with anyone ... save one friend named Dustin Hoffman. Bonding over their dislike of their fellow students, Hoffman and Hackman redoubled their efforts, and the rest is, as they say, history.

He never heard from the rest of his acting class.

Harry Belafonte, age 95

It's not an exaggeration to say everyone knows "The Banana Boat Song (Day-O)." It's a turn-of-the-century song that was recorded in 1956 by a man with a remarkable, unmistakable voice: Harry Belafonte (via The New Yorker).

Born on March 1, 1927, Belafonte started his life in Harlem, but according to Biography, he spent much of his childhood in Jamaica. It wasn't until the 1940s that he was introduced to the stage, and he explained to NPR: "I was a janitor's assistant ... But it paid off, because one day I did a repair at a tenant's apartment and they gave me, as a gratuity, two tickets to a theater. So I went to this place, the American Negro Theater, and it was there that the universe opened for me."

By the 1950s, he was an in-demand folk singer at New York City clubs. From the clubs to a Tony Award-winning Broadway career and into film, Belafonte's decades-long career has spanned not just every medium there is, but he also became a civil rights activist and took an instrumental role in organizing the 1963 March on Washington. Belafonte has long considered himself an activist ahead of an artist, a role he often filled alongside longtime friend Sidney Poitier. He explained that the spark came one day when his mother, talking about struggling to find a job, told him: "Don't ever let injustice go by unchallenged." He continued: "And that really became a deep part of my life DNA."

Mel Brooks, age 96

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 90s trading jokes on entertainment and politics.

Dick Van Dyke, age 96

Dancer, comedian, and actor Dick Van Dyke is still going strong at 96 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."

Eva Marie Saint, age 98

At the age of 98 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."

Mike Nussbaum, age 98

Mike Nussbaum might not be a household name, but he is, as Chicago puts it, "That guy." He's been in a wide array of movies from "Field of Dreams" to "Men in Black," and according to what he told The Washington Post in the last months of 2021, he's "the oldest still-working member" of the theater's Actors' Equity Association.

Based on his first experience in show business, it's a shock that he not only kept acting, but that he got into the business at all. His introduction to the stage came at a camp when he was just 9 years old, and when he cartwheeled onto the stage for introductions, he said, "I froze. I couldn't say a word. And they had to carry me off the stage. Literally. I cried for hours." It wasn't until he had a starting role as Pecos Bill in his childrens' grammar school theater productions that he decided to make the jump, sell his business, and become an actor. He was in his mid-40s at the time, and there's an important life lesson in there for everyone.

Staying active has worked wonders: At 90, his daily routine involved 50 push-ups each and every day, and when the COVID pandemic hit, he took his performances — reluctantly — to Zoom. And he's not going to give it up: When asked when he was going to retire, he replied, "No. Nothing will make me say that. I just don't want to give it up."

Caren Marsh-Doll, age 103

Few people in the celebrity-obsessed world that is the 21st century would know the name Caren Marsh-Doll, but it's safe to say that almost everyone has seen her: She was Judy Garland's stand-in for "The Wizard of Oz."

Born on April 6, 1919, Marsh-Doll (pictured at age 95) graduated from Hollywood High School and was determined to make it as a dancer. She wagered it all on auditions for the 1937 film "Rosalie," and when she was cut, she didn't take "No" for an answer. Instead, she changed her clothes, got back in line, and auditioned again (via Syracuse). That time, she made it — and two years later she had her own pair of ruby slippers for her walk down the yellow brick road. Although she appeared in a number of films both as a dancer and actress, it was a career that would be cut tragically short.

On July 12, 1949, Marsh-Doll was one of 48 passengers on a Standard Airlines flight that crashed outside of Los Angeles. Only 13 people survived, says the Los Angeles Times, including Marsh-Doll. Her foot was crushed in the crash, and although doctors warned her that it would likely have to be amputated, she proved them wrong and walked again. She largely retired from her life as a professional dancer, but continued to teach, appear at festivals for "The Wizard of Oz," and volunteer. She recalled, "I was so thankful just to be alive. Things that bothered me before ... nothing."

William Daniels, age 95

Those who grew up in the 1990s may know William Daniels' face, even if they don't know his name: he was Mr. Sweeney on the long-running sitcom "Boy Meets World." But Daniels has another claim to fame as an actor. He's the only person to date to have played three members of one of America's most eminent political dynasties.

After getting his start with his sister on the Nick Kenny Children's Show on radio, Daniels developed a respectable career on the stage. All Things Liberty notes his work in the original production of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," among others. After an initial hiccup during auditions – he reported to the wrong theater – Daniels landed the role of Founding Father John Adams in the Broadway musical "1776," a role he threw himself into with gusto. Hollywood allowed him to reprise the part for the 1972 film adaptation. Four years later, Daniels played Adams' son, John Quincy Adams, in the PBS miniseries "The Adams Chronicles," and then portrayed the second president's second cousin Samuel Adams another two years later in the TV movie "The B******." Daniels joked to All Things Liberty that he'd cornered the market on acting as famous Adamses – all except family matriarch Abigail.

Now 95, Daniels told Forbes that he's taking things easy these days. He enjoys life at home with his wife of 70 years, Bonnie Bartlett, visits fan conventions, and keeps in touch with the actors who played his students on "Boy Meets World."

Lisa Lu, age 95

According to the Hollywood Reporter, as of 2021, there was only one person who was a member of both the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association: actress Lisa Lu. The latter, the awarding body behind the Golden Globe Awards, noted Lu's acceptance of the Snow Leopard Lifetime Achievement Award from the Asian World Film Festival in 2018. But those are only two distinctions the 95-year-old actress has acquired in a long career.

Born in Beijing in 1927, Lu's Hollywood career began with small parts on television, as well as a stint as a bilingual journalist for Voice of America. She gained notable roles in films during the 1960s; Turner Classic Movies notes her acting alongside James Stewart in "The Mountain Road" and Richard Boone in a recurring part on "Have Gun Will Travel."

As the film industry in Hong Kong and Taiwan grew, Lu began accepting more work there, finding the parts more compelling than what America had to offer. She's played Dowager Empress Cixi twice, once in Taiwan's "The Empress Dowager" in 1975 and then for director Bernardo Bertolucci in "The Last Emperor" in 1987. More recently, Lu has starred as family matriarch Ah Ma in "Crazy Rich Asians."

Barbara Rush, age 95

Barbara Rush's daughter took to Instagram in January 2022 to commemorate her mother's 95th birthday. Rush has a semi-regular presence on the social media platform via her daughter's account. It's only the latest platform conquered by the actress, whose career goes back to 1950.

According to Turner Classic Movies, Rush established a name for herself playing high-class ladies. She was the love interest to Paul Newman in "The Young Philadelphians" (1959), and to Frank Sinatra in "Come Blow Your Horn" (1963). In the 60s, she found greater fame on the soap opera "Peyton Place," where she played Marcia Russell, and put in guest spots on "All My Children," "Batman," and "The New Dick Van Dyke Show."

Rush made several famous friends throughout her career. Speaking to Fox News (where her daughter Claudia Cowan works as a reporter), she recalled fond memories of Rock Hudson and Marilyn Monroe. She also noted that the most recent role to bring her notoriety and fanmail wasn't a film or a series, but a commercial where she manages a heap of coins from her first husband.

Lee Grant, age 94-96

Some actors are known exclusively for their work in front of the camera. Over her long career, Lee Grant has picked up accolades for her efforts behind the scenes, as a director of fiction and documentary films. But the road to a filmmaking career in her own right was a long and bumpy one, and there were times Grant thought she would never have a career in movies.

Grant has confirmed her birthday as Halloween, but she's been cagey about just what year (per The San Francisco Chronicle). In a conversation with Robert Osbourne for Turner Classic Movies, she said that her early acting experience and aspirations were all bound up in the New York stage; Hollywood was a glamorous and far-off ideal, but not something she imagined for herself. That changed in 1951, when Grant recreated a stage role in William Wyler's 1951 adaptation of "Detective Story." She got an Oscar nomination and the Cannes Film Festival Best Actress prize for her work.

But Grant's career as a Hollywood star was quickly derailed when her husband was named to the House Un-American Activities Committee; her refusal to testify landed her on the blacklist (per TCM). She spent a decade in an acting wilderness, picking up only occasional TV roles. Her career revived in the 1970s, but since the 80s, her focus has been on directing; her feature debut as a filmmaker was "Tell Me a Riddle" in 1980.

June Lockhart, age 97

Per Turner Classic Movies, June Lockhart got an early start in movies. She made her debut in a 1938 adaptation of "A Christmas Carol" at age 13 as one of the Cratchit children. Playing the parents were her actual parents, noted character actors, as she fondly recalled for The Fayette Tribune. From there, Lockhart worked her way up to ingenue parts, though the quality of films varied wildly; "Meet Me in St. Louis" is considered a classic, but "She-Wolf of London" made no waves in 1946 or since.

Lockhart achieved her greatest fame on television, where her warm and perky demeanor made her the ideal mom for two different series: "Lassie" from 1958 to 1964, and "Lost in Space" from 1965-1968. She was also noted for appearing as Dr. Janet Craig in the final two seasons of the sitcom "Petticoat Junction." By the 1980s, her wholesome, maternal image was often relied on in horror and science fiction tributes and parodies.

Through her work in "Lost in Space," Lockhart became a volunteer spokeswoman for NASA in the 1970s. In 2013, per The Santa Monica Daily Press, she became the third entertainer and the first actress to be awarded the agency's Exceptional Public Achievement Medal.

Paul Dooley, age 98

They say old dogs can't learn new tricks but have they met Paul Dooley? The noted character actor is 98 years old and has a career going back to New York theater groups of the 1950s (per Turner Classic Movies), but he's embraced the 20th century. His personal website showcases his paintings and drawings (his initial aspiration was to be a cartoonist), advertises his autobiography, and lists some of his more notable character turns in film. Dooley has played the family patriarch in Robert Altman's "A Wedding" (1970) and Wimpy in Altman's "Popeye" (1980), a cranky dad in "Breaking Away" (1979), and a more approachable father in "Sixteen Candles" (1984).

Acting has also been a family affair for Dooley. In 2013, he and his wife Winnie Holzman (co-writer of the Broadway version of "Wicked"), appeared together at the Odyssey Theater in "Assisted Living." According to LA Weekly, the husband-wife team of 28 years wrote the play together, with each of them playing two roles. It was their first time working together on stage.

Marion Ross, age 93

Some actors want to work until they drop. A few even dream of dying on stage or in front of a camera. Marion Ross is not one of these actors. At 93, she's happily retired, and told Do You Remember? so in a lengthy February 2022 interview. Not that she regrets her time as an actress. Born to a striving Irish-Canadian schoolteacher mother, Ross had similar determination in her chosen field of acting. She was under contract to Paramount Pictures by age 23. Steady work in film and television followed, but Ross hit both a dry professional spell and a difficult divorce in the late 60s.

Things turned around when she accepted the role of Marion Cunningham in "Happy Days" in 1974. Ross played the affectionate but occasionally frustrated housewife for all 11 seasons of the hit sitcom, though she initially struggled to win over her on-screen husband, Tom Bosley. Fonder memories came from the cast softball team, which traveled the world in competition.

While Ross enjoyed her time on "Happy Days," in 2011, she joined together with other cast members to mount a lawsuit against CBS and Paramount over non-payment of revenue from DVD releases of the series and other merchandise. Per CNN, the case was set to go to trial on July 17, but a settlement was reached to the actors' satisfaction. And Ross has been spending her retirement in Cardiff by the Sea.

James Hong, age 93

James Hong's personal website touts a career seven decades-long and 600 credits deep. In May 2022, that impressive legacy was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (per NBC News). It was a long way away from his days of being beaten up in grade school for his poor English, or his Korean War friends telling him that he'd either be shot by the Koreans for his American uniform or the Americans for his Chinese heritage.

Hong was honest in an interview with Ben Mankiewicz (via CBS Sunday Morning) about accepting stereotyped and demeaning parts early in his career. He explained that they were all that was on offer for him and that they let him develop his craft as an actor. On the other hand, Hong was a co-founder of the East-West Players, Los Angeles's oldest theater for Asian American performers and productions.

Hollywood eventually offered better opportunities. Among Hong's many, many credits are "Big Trouble in Little China," a memorable guest stint on "Seinfeld," voice work in "Mulan" and the "Kung Fu Panda" series, and the part of the father in "Everything Everywhere All at Once."

Bonnie Bartlett, age 93

What's better than winning an Emmy? How about winning an Emmy alongside your spouse of 35 years? That was the feat managed by Bonnie Bartlett and her husband William Daniels in 1986; they won for their work playing husband and wife on the TV series "St. Elsewhere." The Los Angeles Times notes that they were the first husband-wife duo to win together since Alfred Hunt and Lynn Fontanne in 1965.

In an interview with Aging in High Heels, Bartlett said she got started in acting by imitating Jean Harlow for her family. After an early career in soap operas, a measure of fame came Bartlett's way when she won a role in "Little House on the Prairie" in 1973, and her Emmy win increased her profile (per The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).

Bartlett told the Gazette that she prefers dramatic parts to comedy; at the time of the interview (1987), she was enjoying work in the dark TV movie "Deadly Perception." In contrast, her husband, Daniels, prefers funnier parts. Across interviews, Bartlett has noted another difference between the two: Daniels' natural privacy and her more outgoing embrace of fame.

Bob Newhart, age 93

Never let it be said that classical leading man looks and good enunciation are necessary for a long career in show business. Bob Newhart has been deadpanning and stammering his way through decades of entertainment. But that wasn't a career path Newhart deliberately set out on. According to his personal website, he was working as an accountant in Chicago by the time he was 30. He and a friend would improvise comedy routines over the phone to relieve the tedium of their jobs. Their attempts to make a living off recordings of their work went bust, but Newhart made it big on his own with the comedy album "The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart."

Seven more albums followed, and TV soon beckoned. Newhart won acclaim with three different series between 1961 and 1990. The first, "The Bob Newhart Variety Show," only lasted one season but picked up a Peabody Award. Next came the sitcom "The Bob Newhart Show," featuring its eponymous star as psychologist Bob Hartley. So many of his co-stars said "Hi, Bob" during the series that it became a drinking game. The third series saw Newhart swap psychiatry for innkeeping in "Newhart" – at least until the finale, where the eight-season sitcom is revealed to be a nightmare of Dr. Hartley's.

Newhart is still active at 93. He won his first Emmy in 2013 for his guest star turn on "The Big Bang Theory," and he's provided his voice for the spin-off "Young Sheldon."

June Squibb, age 92

The Academy Awards Database keeps track of several fun statistics for trivia buffs. Among them is a list of the oldest actors and actresses nominated for Best Actor or Actress and Best Supporting Actor or Actress. In third place for the oldest woman nominated for supporting actress is June Squibb, nominated at age 84 for her role in Alexander Payne's "Nebraska" in 2013.

The same performance won Squibb a nomination at the Golden Globes that year, and she called the part the highlight of her career in an interview. Born in Vandalia, Illinois, her mother played piano accompaniment to silent films (and partly inspired Squibb's performance in "Nebraska"). Squibb began acting in the St. Louis theater scene, later breaking into Broadway with a small part in "Gypsy." The stage has remained a big component of Squibb's career; besides Broadway, she's been part of national tours and summer stock.

In film and television, Squibb has had memorable turns as a character actress. Her work as Jack Nicholson's wife in "About Schmidt," also directed by Payne, so impressed the director that the role of Kate in "Nebraska" was written for her. When asked about ageism in Hollywood by the Globes, Squibb only said that she'd been a working actress since 1952 and had no plans to change gears.