Give 'em a cheer while they're still here!

All the recent entries which have had to be made in the “In memoriam . . .” thread got me to thinking, “Why not have a thread where we can show our appreciation and admiration for some of our elder idols before they kick the bucket?”. That is what this thread is meant for – a place to shine the spotlight on senior heroes & heroines whose lives, work or careers have been particularly important to you.

I’ll begin with a man who has brought not just entertainment, not just laughter, but actual joy into my life, Dick Van Dyke.

I am just old enough to kind of remember seeing The Dick Van Dyke Show in its initial primetime run. It has been a staple in reruns throughout my life and it wasn’t until I was a little older than I appreciated how good that show was. Still, there was a lot of physical comedy on that show that made it funny even for a little kid.

More importantly, I am just old enough that the very first movie I ever saw in an actual theater was Mary Poppins. What with flying nannies, runaway carousel horses, penguin waiters, dancing chimneysweeps and a freakin’ tea party on the freakin’ ceiling, it was an explosion of entertainment the likes of which I had never experienced before (and rarely since). My four year old mind was blown. Some may criticize DVD’s accent here, but I will have none of it. That just adds to the charm of the movie to me.

DVD and the car were about the only redeeming things about Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, a movie I also saw as a kid, but I don’t think I could ever sit through it again. I was probably in my teens when I first saw a couple of other movies of his which I still like, The Comic and Cold Turkey.

His 2001 memoir, My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business, is worth reading if you are a fan of his. In lieu of that, here’s a nice interview from two years ago with Al Roker.

And here’s a music video he did with his wife last year. It’s a delight to see DVD still singing and dancing at 96!

And in a video posted just last week, DVD reads a speech written by Rod Serling which DVD had delivered in front of 60,000 people at the LA Coliseum in 1964.

So that’s my tribute to one of my true heroes. Now let’s have yours.


96-year-old Mel Brooks. No question. A decent chunk of my sense of humor comes from Mel Brooks.

Edit: Mel is apparently the only Your Show of Shows writer left, the last of Sid Caesar’s writing staff.


Any mention of Dick Van Dyke in my house is followed up by a reference to this Onion article…

Also, isn’t this thread tempting fate?


Reminds me of the bit near the end of The Man With Two Brains, where you find out the Elevator Killer is Merv Griffin.


Not sure how we’re defining “elder” here, LOL, but I’ll go with people who I occasionally go, “holy crap, when did they get to be that age already??”

All of the guys from my favorite bands are in their 60s edging into their 70s and I am going to come unglued when we lose them. These would be the Police (Sting, Stewart Copeland, Andy Summers), Queen (Brian May, Roger Taylor, John Deacon), and U2 (Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen, Jr). I am a very musically inclined person and these guys and their work has meant so much to me over the years. I was young when Freddie Mercury died, and I’m almost glad I was too young to fully absorb that at the time.

Stephen King is also special; he’s my favorite author and the writer who has had the most impact and influence on me. His The Stand, Rose Madder, and On Writing are three amazing books that have shaped how I perceive literature. It’s not hyperbole to tag him as one of the most important writers of all time.

On the acting side, we’ve got people like Tom Hanks, Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, and Emma Thompson, but my left-field pick is the sturdy Bruce Boxleitner. His work in Babylon 5 and the TRON franchise is stupidly dear to me, and it doesn’t hurt that I’ve met the man and he was as charming as all get out. I can’t believe he’s in his mid-70s already! (And that TRON is 40 years old, but that’s another mindboggle…)



I LOVE Bruce Boxleitner. The first thing I saw him in was Down the Long Hills, but I also love Tron and I have the entire series of Babylon 5 on DVD.

As far as the really old ones, James Earl Jones. I love his voice and I think he’s a great actor even in small parts. The most surprising part he played that I really enjoyed was in The Sandlot. I had no idea he was in the movie and then he’s the grumpy old neighbor with the scary dog. :slight_smile: He actually performed on Broadway and has acted in multiple Shakespeare plays besides all the movies.


Bob is still alive, isn’t he? 93 years old and still ticking. His comedy albums were amazing.

“Mrs. Webb- No, Mrs. Webb-”


And while we’re talking about 1960s comedians, Mike Nichols is no longer with us, but Elaine May is still alive at 90.



Who is that?

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For my idols from the 1960s, Paul, Ringo and Dylan are still plugging away in their early 80s.

Alice Cooper is 74, and active - of all the older rockers who are still around, AC surprises me the most. I remember seeing him interviewed, probably at the lowest point in his fight with alcoholism, and it was shocking how gaunt and sick he looked, I remember thinking “How is this guy still alive?” and how much longer will he be with us?

But he battled and persevered and has released some great late career albums.

Willie Nelson will be 90 in April and shows no signs of slowing down. Heck, he’s up for 4 Grammy’s this year! So, still making relevant music.

I’ve seen all 5 of these gentlemen in concert.


As for comedy and music, the Smother’s Brothers are 83 (Dick) and 85 (Tommy) I saw them on their farewell tour, and they were as funny, and the harmonies were as beautiful as they were when I’d watch them in the 1960s.

So many great memories associated with these folks, they brought a lot of happiness to my life.


Gene Hackman is 92 and he’s still good in anything.


Lots of good names on here. If anybody’s going to make it to 100 it should be Dick Van Dyke… but then I would have said the same about Betty White and she came up a week short.

Sad to think that within the next 10 years, pretty much ALL of the 60s rock stars will go. Before David Crosby died I was thinking how impressive it was that CSNY was one of the very few 60s bands that still had all its original members living. Then I thought about how impressive it was that Crosby lived to see his 80s… if you’d told him or any of his friends that 30 years ago they probably would have laughed at you.


Oh, and speaking of 60s music, how could I forget Simon and Garfunkel!

Or the last surviving Monkee, Mickey Dolenz!


In honor of Everything Everywhere All at Once’s bounty of Oscar nominations, I got to put it down for 93-year-old national treasure James Hong.


Unless I’m mistaken, it’s Donald Sutherland.

ETA: I’m not mistaken. It’s Donald in Kelly’s Heroes. Thanks, IMDb!


Could be. He’s still with us at 87.


This is how he should always be referred to.


Indeed. That should be some auto-complete jazz, right there.