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If you feel like you’ve seen a wave of 50+ actors, athletes and even models dominating the media in 2017, you’re not imagining it.
For instance, 52-year-old Viola Davis won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Top stars Jamie Foxx, Julia Roberts and Vin Diesel all joined the 50-plus club this year. Still going strong is Harrison Ford, 75, who starred in Blade Runner 2049. And turn on the TV and you’ll continue to see Jane Fonda, 79, and Lily Tomlin, 78, in the Netflix hit Grace and Frankie.
There were changes in attitudes about people over 50 as well. For example, Allure magazine and AARP enterprise are both disrupting how we view aging by officially phasing out the use of the term “anti-aging.” Let’s give recognition also to People magazine, which rolled out an “Over 50 and Fabulous” red carpet feature for the Emmys in September.
What’s happening? Perhaps the business world has realized that more than 50% of the public is now over 50 and that this group controls up to 60% of disposable income. Plus, more than 51% of consumer spending has been from adults 50+.
While we still have some time left in 2017, it’s safe to say this has been a breakthrough year for people over 50. Here’s a look back at just some milestones worth celebrating in the spheres of fashion, film, stage, art, the workplace and athletics:
- Best 69-Year-Old CoverGirl. CoverGirl’s latest model is the silver-maned Maye Musk. Her name might sound familiar because her son is billionaire tech wunderkind Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX. But Maye is renowned in in her own right, appearing in Vogue and various catalogs over the past five decades.
- Most Fashionable Runway Return. Cindy Crawford, 51, is no stranger to the catwalk, though retired for the last few years. However, she recently made a comeback by walking the runway for Versace. As quoted in Vogue this past September, “With countless models used this month under the age of 20, the presence of stars with real-world gravitas to back up their good looks was a welcome change of pace—one that other brands ought to take note of.”
- Best Return from Termination. We haven’t heard from The Terminator’s Sarah Connor in 26 years. However, it was recently announced that we’ll see what she’s been up to as 61-year-old Linda Hamilton reprises her role in the yet-untitled next installment of The Terminator saga, due out in 2019. Of course, Arnold Schwarzenegger, 70, is also onboard.
- Biggest Movie Star in the World That You’d Never Guess. Quick: Which actor’s films have grossed more than any other’s? If you’re thinking Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson or Tom Cruise, you’re way off. Instead, think of the guy who has been in blockbusters like Pulp Fiction, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Iron Man 2 and Die Hard with a Vengeance, among others. Altogether, the 68 year-old Samuel L. Jackson’s movies have grossed a total of $5.1 billion.
- Best Reunion. Hard to believe, but the movie 9 to 5 came out 37 years ago. Stars Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin put in some overtime though at this year’s Emmys. Fonda, in particular, won raves for her fuchsia dress and long ponytail, which redefined the look for 79-year-olds.
- Best Boss Move. Bruce Springsteen, 67, has been wowing fans in arenas for decades, so why not try something new? In this case, he launched Springsteen on Broadway, an acoustical trip down memory lane at the Walter Kerr Theatre. The Boss was a hit on Broadway too and extended his original six-week run until February 2018.
- Best Broadway Divas. Final curtain call? Not this year. In 2017, we saw Patti LuPone, 68, and Christine Ebersole, 64, team up for War Paint. Glenn Close, 70, returned to her role as Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard and Bette Midler, 71, won a Tony for Best Lead Actress in a Musical for Hello, Dolly!
- Best Art Gallery. Marlena Vaccaro’s art gallery in New York City looks much like any other except for one thing: All the featured artists are over 60. When younger artists apply, Vaccaro tells them to wait.
- Most Loyal Employee. This year, American Airlines dedicated a 777 in honor of Azriel Blackman. Blackman, 91, has been working as a mechanic for the company (in its various forms) for 75 years. Blackman still works at Kennedy International Airport five days a week.
- Best 50+ Athletes. At 73, swimmer Daniela Barnea trains 90 minutes a day, seven days a week. She also regularly breaks records in her age category. At 85, Jim Arrington is also competing -- in bodybuilding competitions. Arrington often wins by default because he’s the only one in his age category competing.
What does 2018 hold for us? Many more great milestones and accomplishments, for sure, and more people than ever embracing the 50+ party.