Why won't they retire? 7 older celebrities who are doing their best work ever

3 min read

Many people slow down after 65 but these super seniors are refusing to act their age. From storming the stage to saving the world, here are seven celebrities proving the grass is greener over the hill.

Fauja Singh, 105

The ‘Turbaned Tornado’ only took up long distance running in his 80s, but was quickly signed by Adidas for their ‘Nothing is Impossible’ campaign. Singh participated in the Mumbai marathon this year, and is a world record-holder [5 hours, 42 minutes at age 93] for the marathon in his age bracket. He also champions healthy living, advising people to listen to their body and what it's telling them. Singh is a vegetarian, who eats very little, but that doesn't mean he's opposed to a McDonald's milkshake on cheat days...

Ban Ki-Moon, 72, previous UN Secretary-General

Growing up in Korea and seeing how the UN helped his homeland, Ki-Moon decided to devote himself to public service. As Secretary-General, a role he assumed at age 62, he has presided over the UN during intensely difficult global crises. His many achievements include organising climate change summits, providing aid to developing countries, peacekeeping, and creating a UN agency to empower women. In July 2016 alone, Ki-Moon visited Kashmir to denounce the violence, and Algeria to highlight the plight of Saharan refugees. Ki-Moon has called upon world leaders to honour a truce during the Rio Olympics, and found time to Skype the pilot of the Solar Impulse 2, a plane using only solar power. "It's a historic day for humanity," Ki-Moon said of the pilot's flight around the world.

Angela Lansbury, 90

This living legend got her break way back in 1944, as Ingrid Bergman's cockney maid in the thriller Gaslight, which saw her earn an Oscar nod, and a contract at MGM. She went on to play opposite other luminaries such as Hedy Lamarr and Elizabeth Taylor, as everything from a bad mother in The Manchurian Candidate (1962) to a lovable teapot in Beauty and the Beast, for which she sung the title song. Lansbury also scored big on the stage, and on TV, in the long-running hit, Murder, She Wrote. After 54 years of marriage, her husband Peter Shaw passed away in 2003, and the 77-year-old star managed her grief by throwing herself into work. She has been busier than ever on Broadway, and in 2014 toured Australia in Driving Miss Daisy, opposite James Earl Jones. In 2016, as Lansbury was out enjoying a night of theatre in Los Angeles, she received a three-minute standing ovation – just for being in the audience.

Olivia Newton, John, 67

It's hard to believe Grease's goodie two-shoes is all grown up, but senior Sandy looks fantastic with a figure that can still squeeze into skin-tight spandex. The former country singer has sold over 100 million records, survived cancer, and performed her 1980s’ hit Physical on the TV show Glee! Newton-John recently joined younger divas Celine Dion, Britney Spears and Jennifer Lopez with a residency on the Las Vegas strip. Her Summer Nights residency at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino was recently extended – and sees the Aussie performer take audiences on a musical journey through her hits. Liv is also hopelessly devoted to an important cause, and a portion of all proceeds benefit her Cancer and Wellness Centre back home in Melbourne.

Mick Jagger, 74

This Rolling Stone definitely gathers no moss. The indefatigable frontman is expecting his eighth child with a 29-year old girlfriend. The iconic front man is living proof that ageing does not have to be a downward spiral and toured the world with the Stones for their 50th anniversary in 2012. He’s currently working on a new album, and in March 2016, the band made history, playing -for free - to an audience of 1.2 million at their first-ever gig in Cuba.

Jane Goodall, 82

Goodall's name is synonymous with primatology. She first travelled to Tanzania at age 26, befriended the species, and upended everything previously known about chimpanzees, apes and gorillas and their various cousins. She showed primates are capable of social and family life, have unique personalities, thoughts, and also experience emotions. Goodall has earned dozens of honorary doctorates and, in 2011, became a patron of Australian animal protection group, Voiceless. Today, her eponymous institute works to protect chimps and other endangered species, advocate for conservation, and inspire the next generation to care about our environment. To this end, the irrepressible eco-warrior travels nearly 300 days each year.

Judi Dench, 81

The classically trained Dame is one of Britain's most acclaimed actors, once winning an Oscar for a six-minute performance as Queen Elizabeth 1 in Shakespeare in Love (1998). Thumbing her nose at Hollywood's infamous slighting of older women, all her seven Oscar nods were for roles she played over the age of 60.  Dench also broke ground as the first woman to play the formidable spy agency boss, M, in the James Bond franchise. Although slowly losing her sight to macular degeneration, Dench has zero plans to retire. "It's the rudest word in my dictionary: 'retire," she says. "And 'old' is another one. I don't allow that in my house. And being called ‘vintage'. I don't want any of those old words. I prefer 'enthusiastic'." As if to drive home the point, she got her first tattoo this year, inking her right wrist with her motto: "Carpe Diem"

Is investing part of hitting your stride in your golden years? Define your investment portfolio your way with BT Invest, offering easy access to a range of solutions and insights to help you plan for tomorrow. Find out more

Inspiration 30 Nov 2016
Reg Mombassa, Lynne McGranger and Barry Palmer are three high profile Australians proving that life doesn’t stop as you get older – it just gets more exciting – if you want it to.
2 min read
Learn 15 Aug 2016
We explain the rules about how much you can contribute into super each year – and when you can start to draw on your super, in line with your age and life stages.
Learn 14 Mar 2019
Learn about contributing to your superannuation and the caps that apply.

This information is current as at 07/11/2016.

This Information may contain material provided directly by third parties and is given in good faith and has been derived from sources believed to be accurate at its issue date. It should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter nor relied upon as such. While such material is published with necessary permission, no company in the Westpac Group accepts responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of, or endorses any such material. Except where contrary to law, we intend by this notice to exclude liability for this material.

BT Portfolio Services Ltd ABN 73 095 055 208 AFSL 233715 (BTPS) is the operator of BT Invest. BT Funds Management Limited ABN 63 002 916 458 AFSL 233724 (BTFM) is the issuer of BT Cash. Westpac Financial Services Ltd ABN 20 000 241 127 AFSL 233716 (WFSL) is the issuer of BT Managed Portfolios (together, the BT Invest Products). An Investor Guide is available for BT Invest and a PDS is available for BT Cash and BT Managed Portfolios and can be obtained by calling 132 135 or visiting www.bt.com.au. You should obtain and consider the relevant disclosure documents before deciding whether to acquire, continue to hold or dispose of interests in the BT Invest Products. BTPS, BTFM and WFSL are subsidiaries of Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 AFSL & Australian credit licence 233714 (Westpac). 

Apart from any interest investors may have in Westpac term deposits or Westpac securities acquired through BT Invest, an investment in, or acquired using BT Invest, is not an investment in, deposit with or any other liability of Westpac or any other company in the Westpac Group. These investments are subject to investment risk, including possible delays in repayment of withdrawal proceeds and loss of income and principal invested. Westpac and its related entities do not stand behind or otherwise guarantee the capital value or investment performance of any investments in, or acquired through, BT Invest. BT Advisers are representatives of Westpac.