Today marks the 101st birthday of Golden Age of Hollywood star Kirk Douglas.
Living to 101 is rare — the 2010 Census found that 53,364 people in the U.S. were 100 or older, four-fifths of them women. That's just .02% of the population. The median life expectancy for those who make it to 100 is 103, but almost none will survive to 110. At 110, centenarians are designated as supercentenarians.
Currently, there are just over 100 documented supercentarians on the planet (the oldest being 117 years old), with estimates suggesting there could be 150 to 600 of them alive at any given time.
Living to be 100 and beyond in Hollywood is quite rare indeed, especially when we're talking about famous names.
Here are the oldest living performers, all 100 or more, who I could conjure up:
Renée Simonot, 106 (b. September 10, 1911) — French actress, mother of Catherine Deneuve (b. 1943)
Urho Harkola, 106 (b. September 13, 1911) — Finnish actor who only appeared in one film and three TV movies. No info exists on him or his wife (whom he wed in 1940). I'm skeptical he is alive, but he appears on every "old stars" list.
Katsumi Tezuka, 105 (b. August 31, 1912) — Japanese actor whose most recent appearance was as Gojira in Godzilla 2001 (2001).
Connie Sawyer, 105 (b. November 27, 1912) — Comic and actress who became better known as she aged. Appeared in Pineapple Express (2008) and worked as recently as 2014.
Pappukutty Bhagavathar (b. March 29, 1913) — Indian film actor and singer; some sources claim he was born in 1919.
Julie Gibson 104 (b. September 6, 1913) — Singer and film actress of the '40s, not to be confused with the stripper of the same name.
Mary Carlisle, 103 (b. February 3, 1914) — One of the last remaining stars of the 1930s, and — because she appeared in a silent film as a child — one of the last remaining human beings to have appeared in a Silent Era silent film in any capacity, Carlisle was a blonde bombshell, and a 1932 WAMPAS Baby Star. Some sources say she is actually 105.
Norman Lloyd, 103 (b. November 8, 1914) — Distinguished actor, director and producer who is considered the oldest working actor in Hollywood. Most famous for his affiliation with Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980) and for his stint on St. Elsewhere (1982-1988).
Gertrude Jeannette, 103 (b. November 28, 1914) — Oldest living black actor, she was blacklisted in the '40s and '50s.
Patricia Morison, 102 (b. March 19, 1915) — Mezzo-soprana singer and actress who starred in films and on Broadway. She sang "Brush Up Your Shakespeare" at age 99 on a Broadway stage to raise money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
Nini Theilade, 102 (b. June 15, 1915) — Danish dancer.
Betty Rowland, 101 (b. January 23, 1916) — Burlesque dancer.
Olivia de Havilland, 101 (b. July 1, 1916) — One of the Queens of Hollywood, de Havilland won two Oscars, appeared in the undying classic Gone with the Wind (1939) and was one half of Hollywood's nastiest sibling feud, opposite sister Joan Fontaine (1917-2013).
Kirk Douglas, 101 (b. December 9, 1916) — Another Golden Age of Hollywood great, Douglas won the Oscar, appeared in a string of indelible classics including Spartacus (1960) and sired equally famous actor and producer Michael Douglas (b. 1944).
Elisa Stella, 101 (b. in 1916 — no exact date known) — Venezuelan actress who worked in the theater before her 1971 TV debut. She worked on TV as recently as 2010.
Dorothy Barrett, 100 (b. February 1917 — no exact date known) — Known for having snagged a limited number of uncredited bit parts, Barrett had the good fortune to appear in the classics The Wizard of Oz (1939) and Mildred Pierce (1945).
Vera Lynn, 100 (b. March 20, 1917) — Extremely popular British singer from WWII onward.
Ambrose Schindler, 100 (b. April 21, 1917) — Stunt man who worked on just three films ... but one of them was The Wizard of Oz (1939).
Earl Cameron, 100 (b. August 8, 1917) — Bermudan actor who has worked from the early '50s on, and who captured audiences' attention in 2010's Inception.
Marsha Hunt, 100 (b. October 17, 1917) — One of the last leading ladies of the '30s who continued working in the '40s and '50s in spite of being blacklisted.
Suzy Delair, 100 (b. December 31, 1917) — French actress whose first film credit was in 1931.
It's incredible that among so few entertainers of any kind who are 100 and older, we actually have two who are 101 and are bona fide superstars of their era.
Twenty other famous performers to reach 100 or more (of fewer than 200 known to ever hit that age):
George Abbott, 107 (1887-1995)
Lupita Tovar, 106 (1910-2016)
Doris Eaton Travis, 106 (1904-2010)
Carla Laemmle, 104 (1909-2014)
Luise Rainer, 104 (1910-2014)
Barbara Kent, 103 (1907-2011)
Miriam Seegar, 103 (1907-2011)
Señor Wences, 103 (1896-1999)
Irwin Corey, 102 (1914-2017)
Irving Berlin, 101 (1888-1989)
Ellen Albertini Dow, 101 (1913-2015)
Estelle Winwood, 101 (1883-1984)
Bruce Bennett, 100 (1906-2007)
George Burns, 100 (1896-1996)
Danielle Darrieux, 100 (1917-2017)
Bob Hope, 100 (1903-2003)
Marc Platt, 100 (1913-2014)
Jean Rouverol, 100 (1916-2017)
Gloria Stuart, 100 (1910-2010)
Bea Wain, 100 (1917-2017)