Sir Anthony Hopkins
Sir Anthony Hopkins

Inspired by Anthony Hopkins’ Oscar win at 83? He’s not the only one to celebrate success later in life

Think you’re ‘passed it’ after a certain age? These lot prove otherwise, says Abi Jackson.

Abi Jackson
Monday 26 April 2021 11:01

Think success can only – or must only – happen when you’re young? Try telling that to Sir Anthony Hopkins who at 83 has just become the new oldest ever Oscar winner.

Hopkins was named best actor for his role in The Father. It’s his second Oscar; he’d previously won for The Silence Of The Lambs almost three decades ago.

And he’s not the only pension-age person to shun the idea of being ‘passed it’ with success in older age.

1. Jessica Tandy

In 1990, Jessica Tandy was 80 when she scooped the best actress gong for her role in Driving Miss Daisy. Tandy clocked up a few more movies, before her death in 1994 aged 85.

2. ‘Pinetop Perkins’

At the ripe age of 97, American blues artist Joe Willie ‘Pinetop’ Perkins scooped a Grammy in 2011 for best traditional blues album, becoming the oldest ever winner of the musical accolade. Perkins passed away the following month, at his home in Austin Texas.

3. Dr Edith Eger

Holocaust survivor Dr Edith Eger was 90 years old when she published her memoir The Choice – detailing her and her sister Magda’s incredible story of survival after being sent to Auschwitz, and how she’d used her experiences to help countless other people in healing from trauma through her work as a clinical psychologist. Now 93, Slovakia-born Eger is a globally known bestselling author, in-demand podcast interviewee, and one of the leading voices in the fields of healing and resilience.

4. ‘Grandma Moses’

Anna Mary Robertson Moses, known as Grandma Moses, was an American folk artist whose iconic works depicting rural life were in high demand. She always enjoyed art but farm work and raising a family filled her time – until a prolific painting career lifted off in her late-70s. At this point, Moses switched to painting when arthritis made her embroidery hobby too painful. She enjoyed much acclaim during her remaining years, until her death in 1961 aged 101. One of her paintings, Sugaring Off, later sold for 1.2 million US dollars in 2006.

5. Margaret Atwood

Renowned author Margaret Atwood’s success has continued throughout her life, with the writer becoming the oldest ever winner of the prestigious Booker Prize in 2019, at age 79, for The Testaments. Atwood was joint winner that year, sharing the prize with Bernardine Evaristo for Girl, Woman, Other, who became the first black woman to win a Booker. Now 81, we’re pretty sure Canadian Atwood has plenty of success still to come.

6. Professor John Goodenough

At the grand age of 97, Professor John Goodenough became the oldest person ever to win the Nobel Prize in 2019. Goodenough, who won the prize for chemistry, shared the accolade with colleagues M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino for their work creating rechargeable batteries.

7. Harry Bernstein

Harry Bernstein didn’t sit down to write his memoir until he was 93. Three years later in 2007, The Invisible Wall: A Love Story That Broke Barriers was published to great acclaim. Bernstein went on to write three more books, the fourth – What Happened To Rose – published after his death in 2011 aged 101.

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