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Special Reports

A Glimpse into the Lives of Notable Centenarians


As healthcare and education continue to improve in developed and developing countries, people are living longer lives. According to the United Nations, the number of individuals who reach the age of 100, also known as centenarians, is expected to increase to approximately 573,000 worldwide this year.

The U.S. holds the greatest amount of centenarians in the world, totaling 97,000. Maria Branyas Morera (born 4th March 1907), the world’s oldest person, also lives in the United States and is 116 years old. Japan tops the list of countries with the largest percentage of its population aged 100 or more, with 0.06 percent.

This demographic shift highlights the importance of providing adequate care and support for the elderly, as well as addressing issues such as healthcare access and pension policies. Hollywood’s golden era witnessed the passing of two centenarian stars, Olivia de Havilland and Kirk Douglas.

As we delve into the annals of show business, we find that there were entertainers who lived to the remarkable age of 100 and beyond. This article explores the lives of 25 famous performers who graced the stage and screen and defied time.

  1. Liane Haid:
    Age at time of death: 105
    Lifespan: 1895-2000
    Occupation: Austrian actress
    A versatile artist known for her roles in both silent and talking films, Haid, an Austrian prima ballerina, chose to remain in Switzerland during World War II, turning down Hollywood offers.
  2. Madeleine Milhaud:
    Age at time of death: 105
    Lifespan: 1902-2008
    Occupation: French actress and librettist
    The French actress, wed to composer Darius Milhaud, weathered World War II in California before returning to Europe, leaving behind a legacy that spanned both continents.
  3. Connie Sawyer:
    Age at time of death: 105
    Lifespan: 1912-2018
    Occupation: American actress
    With a career spanning 61 years and 151 acting credits, Sawyer left an indelible mark on television series and films, showcasing her talent across multiple decades.
  4. Milton Quon:
    Age at time of death: 105
    Lifespan: 1913-2019
    Occupation: American animator, artist, actor
    Beyond his roles in five films, Quon’s legacy included running Disney’s publicity department and becoming the first Chinese-American art director at a national advertising agency.
  5. Horacio Coppola:
    Age at time of death: 105
    Lifespan: 1906-2012
    Occupation: Argentine photographer and filmmaker
    Renowned for his captivating black-and-white photographs, Coppola’s artistic contributions extended to films, documentaries, and still-life work.
  6. Mary Ellis:
    Age at time of death: 105
    Lifespan: 1897-2003
    Occupation: American-born British stage actress
    A rare individual spanning three centuries, Ellis left an indelible mark on stage, film, and television, showcasing her talent on both sides of the Atlantic.
  7. Rosa Albach-Retty:
    Age at time of death: 105
    Lifespan: 1874-1980
    Occupation: Austrian film and stage actress
    Acting in films during the 1930s, Albach-Retty’s influence extended beyond her time, as she became the grandmother of renowned Austrian actress Romy Schneider.
  8. Lupita Tovar:
    Age at time of death: 106
    Lifespan: 1910-2016
    Occupation: Mexican-American actress
    Breaking barriers in the film industry, Tovar starred in the first Mexican talkie and the Spanish-language version of “Dracula,” leaving an enduring legacy.
  9. Manoel de Oliveira:
    Age at time of death: 106
    Lifespan: 1908-2015
    Occupation: Portuguese film director
    Spanning silent films to the digital age, de Oliveira’s prolific career with 65 directing credits showcases his enduring impact on Portuguese cinema.
  10. Norman Lloyd:
    Age at time of death: 106
    Lifespan: 1914-2021
    Occupation: American actor, director, producer, writer
    A stalwart in the entertainment industry for 76 years, Lloyd’s association with the Mercury Theatre and collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock underscore his multifaceted contributions.
  11.  Lincoln Maazel:
    Age at time of death: 106
    Lifespan: 1903-2009
    Occupation: American actor and singer
    Known for his roles in movies and television series, Maazel’s presence on Pittsburgh stages in the 1960s exemplified his enduring commitment to the arts.
  12.  Doris Eaton Travis:
    Age at time of death: 106
    Lifespan: 1904-2010
    Occupation: American actress and dance instructor
    As the last surviving Ziegfeld Girl, Travis’s illustrious career spanned from the New Amsterdam Theatre to fundraising appearances in the late 20th century.
  13. Tonio Selwart:
    Age at time of death: 106
    Lifespan: 1896-2002
    Occupation: German actor and stage performer
    Serving in the Austro-Hungarian Army during WWI, Selwart’s transition to Hollywood saw him portray various roles, notably as officials and German Army officers.
  14.  George Abbott:
    Age at time of death: 107
    Lifespan: 1887-1995
    Occupation: American stage actor, director, playwright, screenwriter, producer
    An iconic figure in American theater, Abbott’s legacy includes 11 Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize for Drama, marking his influence on Broadway and beyond.
  15. Gerda Ring:
    Age at time of death: 107
    Lifespan: 1891-1999
    Occupation: Norwegian stage actress and producer
    A trailblazer in Norwegian theater, Ring’s courage during WWII, when she resisted Nazi control, showcases her commitment to principles beyond the stage.
  16. Rosa Bouglione:
    Age at time of death: 107
    Lifespan: 1910-2018
    Occupation: French circus performer
    Born into a circus family, Bouglione’s captivating performances with animals and her unconventional wedding in a lion’s cage left an indelible mark on French society.
  17. Carmen Martínez Sierra:
    Age at time of death: 108
    Lifespan: 1904-2012
    Occupation: Spanish actress
    Transitioning from opera to films and television, Sierra’s 125 acting credits over 42 years attest to her enduring impact on the Spanish entertainment scene.
  18. Johannes Heesters:
    Age at time of death: 108
    Lifespan: 1903-2011
    Occupation: Dutch actor, vocalist, performer
    With a penchant for top hat and tails, Heesters, despite controversy for performing in Nazi Germany, showcased his theatrical prowess through extensive performances, including the operetta “The Merry Widow.”
  19. Ruthie Tompson:
    Age at time of death: 111
    Lifespan: 1910-2021
    Occupation: American animator
    An unsung hero of animated classics, Tompson’s contributions to Disney films like “Fantasia,” “Dumbo,” and “One Hundred and One Dalmatians” earned her the title of Disney Legend in 2000.
  20. Frederica Sagor Maas:
    Age at time of death: 111
    Lifespan: 1900-2012
    Occupation: American screenwriter, playwright, essayist
    Maas’s journey from silent film screenwriter to enduring critic of Hollywood’s credit practices showcases a resilience that spanned over a century.

In celebrating the lives of these remarkable individuals, we honor not only their artistic contributions but also their resilience and longevity, leaving an indelible mark on the rich tapestry of show business history.

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CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - Special Reports - A Glimpse into the Lives of Notable Centenarians
Chetali Mishra
Digital News Editor at CEOWORLD magazine, focused on developing coverage across general news, business, banking, finance, and international affairs. Experience creating editorial and commercial content for audiences with differing needs in the US, UK, and Europe. Writer and editor working across journalism, copywriting, and content strategy for a variety of publications and brands. Enjoy problem-solving and a focus on the user experience.