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The Ten Best Performances by a Really Old Person

By Dustin Rowles | Lists | June 22, 2009 |

By Dustin Rowles | Lists | June 22, 2009 |

Over the weekend, The Proposal debuted at number one at the box-office, and one of the best things about the movie was Betty White in a scene-stealing role, playing an 90-year-old no-nonsense grandmother. Seeing just how lively and energetic Betty White was in the film, I actually suspected that 90-years-old was a bit of a stretch. Turns out, Betty White is actually 87 years old, if you can believe that. She doesn’t make today’s list, of ranking the best performances of an actor or actress over the age of 65, but if the list were limited to best performances from an actress over the age of 85, she’d take home the top spot. I’m not sure there’d be much competition.

In the above 65 years old category, however, there’s plenty of it. A lot of actors and actresses, in fact, have given their best performances in what should be their retirement years, while a few other classic actors gave one last great performance before leaving their handprints on Heaven’s Walk of Fame. Here are the ten best performances from an actor or actress over the age of 65, noting that Ed Asner’s Carl Fredrickson in Up may have taken top spot were it not for the fact that he were animated:

10. Richard Harris, Albus Dumbledore (71 Years Old) — Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

9. Michael Caine, Cutter (73 Years Old) — The Prestige

8. Clint Eastwood, Walt Kowalski (78 Years Old) — Gran Torino

7. Robert Duvall, Euliss Sonny Dewey (66 Years Old)— The Apostle

6. Morgan Freeman, Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris (67 Years Old) — Million Dollar Baby

5. Paul Newman, Sully Sullivan (69 Years Old) — Nobody’s Fool

4. Jack Lemmon, Shelley Levine (67 Years Old) — Glengarry Glen Ross

3. Jessica Tandy, Mrs. Daisy (80 Years Old) — Driving Miss Daisy

2. Henry Fonda, Norman Thayer, Jr. (76 Years Old) — On Golden Pond

1. Ruth Gordon, Maude (76 Years Old) — Harold and Maude

(H/T Twig)

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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