Living to be 100 years old is no small feat. Only a few people ever live to see an entire century pass them by. So, there must be a secret to get that elusive third digit in age, since it’s a milestone only a handful of people are able to reach, right?
Kirk Douglas credited his longevity to his loving marriage to his soulmate. But Run Run Shaw said that rotating his feet 64 times every night was his secret. Keep reading to see what some famous people believe are the secrets to their long lives.
Gloria Stuart: 100
Gloria Stuart was born in 1910 and had a steady acting career through the 1930s and ’40s. The thing is, she never had a major “breakthrough” job until the late ’90s. Stuart’s breakout role came at the ripe age of 87 when she was cast as “Old Rose” in Titanic. The role earned her an Oscar nomination.
Stuart had big dreams of Hollywood stardom her entire life. Psychological Science has published research stating that people with a strong purpose in life tend to outlive those who don’t. It can be argued that Stuart’s positive mindset kept her stress down, allowing her to live to the age of 101.
Albert Hofmann: 102
Albert Hoffmann was born in 1906 and grew up to be one of the leading Swiss chemists of his time. His biggest contribution to the field was synthesizing lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). Hoffmann is credited as the first person to ingest the substance. But, when asked, he doesn’t cite it as the reason he lived so long.
At an LSD Symposium in Switzerland in 2006, Hofmann revealed his secret to a long life. He said it had everything to do with the two raw eggs he ate each morning, “In an egg, there is everything a being needs to develop—vitamins, minerals, and hormones.”
Luise Rainer: 104
Luise Rainer was born in 1910 and is best known for making Oscar history. She’s credited as the first person in Hollywood ever to win two back-to-back Best Actress awards. Rainer is also said to be the first actress to succumb to the “Oscar Curse,” as her career started to lose momentum after her wins. But that didn’t stop her from living to be 104!
When asked by The Telegraph what her secret to life was, she said curiosity. Rainer said, “When you lose your curiosity, you’re dead. There is so much in the world that one should know, or it would be marvelous to know. And I know nothing!”
Grandma Moses: 101
Grandma Moses was born in 1860 and is known for her iconic paintings. Although she didn’t start the pastime until she was 78, her work quickly became popular. Some of her art can be found in the White House as well as in museums throughout the United States.
When asked what aided her in living so long, Moses’ answer was simple. “Painting’s not important. The important thing is to keep busy and keep laughing.” But ber best advice came during a newspaper interview in 1960, when she was 100. Moses said, “I have a lot of boyfriends. That’s what keeps me young.” Right on, Grandma Moses!
David Rockefeller: 101
David Rockefeller was born in 1915 to one of the wealthiest families in the world. He is known for his foreign travels and political connections that had him meeting with many foreign leaders. While his father and grandfather both lived to old age, David surpassed both, living to be 101.
Many people have pondered how a few members of the same family were able to live that long. Their conclusions chalk it up to money and health care. Because their net worth was in the billions, sources such as The New York Times believe the family had the best medical care and dietary plans money can buy.
Run Run Shaw: 106
In 1907, the legendary producer Run Run Shaw was born. The Hong Kong filmmaker is known for being the grandfather of kung-fu movies, producing over 300. Arguably one of the most popular was Blade Runner. Shaw lived to be a solid 106 years old. While most people who live that long credit exercise or a specific diet, Shaw credited something else altogether.
According to The People’s Daily, the secret to Shaw’s long life is simple: he would rotate his feet 64 times before heading to bed. Inquiring minds now need to know if it was a one-way rotation or if he switched it up!
Bob Hope: 100
Bob Hope was born in 1903 and took the entertainment world by storm, tackling all facets of the industry. In a career that lasted almost 80 years, he was a stand-up comedian, singer, actor, dancer, and even an athlete. Hope would joke about his secrets to staying young, saying things like, “I’ll tell ya how to stay young: hang around with older people.”
It wasn’t until 1981 in an interview with Weekly World News that he let it slip his actual secret, saying, “I walk two miles every night, no matter what city I’m in.” He credits his grandfather for the habit, stating that he also walked each evening.
Norman Lloyd: 105
Norman Lloyd was born in 1914 and has had a career in the entertainment industry dating back almost 100 years. His filmography spans over 60 titles in both film and television, including everything from Dead Poets Society to the series Alfred Hitchcock Presents. In a 2015 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Lloyd revealed the secrets behind his long life.
Lloyd said, “I don’t eat shellfish, I drink wine moderately and have one whiskey every evening before dinner. I eat meat, poultry, and fish in proper proportion, nothing to excess.” Although he has a set diet, Lloyd really chalks it up to attitude and positive thinking. Sound advice, all around.
Louise Currie: 100
Louise Currie was born in 1913 and was a very prominent actress in the ’40s and ’50s before retiring in 1956. Before her early retirement, Currie was known for her role as Betty Wallace in the serial The Adventures of Captain Marvel, and for being the last surviving cast member of the landmark film Citizen Kane.
Although Currie never gave an interview explaining the secret behind her longevity, we can make a few assumptions. Currie got out of Hollywood at a younger age than most, which probably helped her stress level. According to the Mayo Clinic, positive thinking accompanied by lower stress levels can increase one’s lifespan.
George Burns: 100
George Burns was born in 1896 and is considered to be one of the few entertainers in Hollywood to have effortlessly conquered various facets of the industry. He wasn’t one to sit down and retire, though. When he was 79, Burns appeared in a supporting role in the film The Sunshine Boys. The role earned him the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
According to The New York Times, when asked about his secret to living a long life, Burns said his career was his personal fountain of youth. That, and “avoiding worry, stress, and tension.”
Kirk Douglas: 102
Kirk Douglas was born in 1916 and crawled his way to Hollywood stardom. He is considered to be one of the box-office stars of the ’50s, known for his roles in Spartacus, Champion, and Paths of Glory. Before his passing in 2020, Douglas was one of the last surviving actors of the Hollywood Golden Age.
During an interview with the South China Morning Post, Douglas attributed his long life to his wife, Anne. “I was lucky enough to find my soulmate 63 years ago, and I believe our wonderful marriage and our nightly ‘golden hour’ chats have helped me survive all things.”
Brunhilde Pomsel: 106
Brunhilde Pomsel was born in 1911 in Berlin, Germany, and lived an incredibly interesting life. Now, she is known as the elderly lady who gave an in-depth interview regarding her role in Nazi Germany. But back during World War II, she was considered to be very close to someone in Hitler’s inner circle, Joseph Goebbels.
During the war, Pomsel worked as the personal secretary of Goebbels, the head minister of propaganda in Nazi Germany. Although she never explained her secret to living until 106, it can be argued that it’s because she wanted to wait until the right moment to tell her story.
Irving Berlin: 101
Irving Berlin was born in 1888, and by 1924 he was considered to be the most famous songwriters in America. Ironically, he had no formal music training or education, so he couldn’t read or write music. Berlin contributed many scores to the “Great American Songbook,” including “Cheek to Cheek,” “God Bless America,” and “White Christmas.”
Berlin never made a statement regarding his long life. But he is remembered for being “American music.” Jerome Kern, an American composer, said, “Irving Berlin has no place in American music—he is American music.”
Peggy-Jean Montgomery (Diana Serra Cary): 101
Diana Serra Cary, born Peggy-Jean, was born in 1918 and became one of three major child stars of the silent film era. By 1924, Baby Peggy was dubbed The Million Dollar Baby due to her annual salary of $1.5 million.
When asked about her secret to longevity, Cary said, “I follow a balanced diet and keep myself healthy. I have a house with a beautiful library. But most importantly, I have a loving family: a son and a granddaughter who I give my warmth. I think it has been a huge part of my longevity.”
Marsha Hunt: 102
Marsha Hunt was born in 1917 and had a career in entertainment spanning 70 years. She became a devout activist after being blacklisted in Hollywood during McCarthyism in the ’50s. Hunt is a huge supporter of same-sex marriage, climate change awareness, and promoting peace in third world countries.
During an interview at the 2018 TMC Classic Film Festival, Hunt shared her secret to living a long life. She said, “I’m a born optimist. I guess the bright side always appealed to me to look at rather than the dark. I’ve been blessed. I never figured out why. But I sure have and I want the fates to know I’m grateful!”
George Abbott: 107
George Abbott was born in 1887 and had a Broadway career that spanned over nine decades. He won multiple Tony Awards over his career, including back-to-back Best Musical Awards for The Pajama Game and Damn Yankees in 1955 and 1956, respectively.
Abbott was well respected in the theatre world. He even received a standing ovation while he walked down the aisle to watch one of his plays at the age of 106. His advice to living a long life is simple. “Have fun. And go home when you’re tired.”
Ellen Albertini Dow: 101
Ellen Albertini Dow was born in 1913 but didn’t start a professional acting career until she was in her 70s. Some of her more famous characters include the rapping granny in The Wedding Singer and well as the no-filter grandma in Wedding Crashers.
She never explained her secrets to living such a long life, but there is one thing that might have helped her keep a youthful mindset. Julie Green, Dow’s agent, said, “She was fiercely independent and hated when anyone tried to treat her like an old lady.”
Irwin Corey: 102
Irwin Corey was born in 1914 and is considered by some to be one of the “most brilliant comedians of all time.” Billed as “The World’s Foremost Authority” for more than 70 years, Corey’s on-stage persona was captivating and memorable for any of those lucky enough to see him live.
During an interview with the NY Press, Corey explains his secrets to living a long life. “Oh, I don’t plan anything,” Corey said. “I never planned anything. You can’t. Why do I keep going? Because there’s still air around, there’s still earth under our feet. I just go from show to show when I can.”
Mary Carlisle: 104
Mary Carlisle was born in 1914 and starred in more than 60 films throughout her career. She’s best known for her roles in musical-comedy films throughout the ’30s, with her first major role being in College Humor. Carlisle’s Hollywood career was short-lived, though, and she retired in 1942 after getting married to James Blakeley.
Carlisle was considered to be one of the last surviving actresses of Hollywood’s Golden Age. She never commented on her secrets to living a long life, but it could be due to a happy home life with her husband and child.
Herb Jeffries: 100
Herb Jeffries was born in 1913 and had a long career in entertainment. Aside from film and television, typically in the “black western genre,” Jeffries was into popular music and was a very talented jazz singer known for his baritone vocals.
Jeffries’ wife, Savannah, believes his secret to a long life was being youthful and multi-dimensional. She said, “At 100, he still amazes me with his in-depth, multi-faceted life and sage-like wisdom and intuition. Being 42 years younger was not an issue due to his youth and fun-loving ways.”