Women over 45 in the movies

From the reader: “Could you explain why there are almost no women over 45 in movies or in magazines that cover the film industry? Has there been an epidemic of some kind that’s wiped out only women over 45 and only in the Greater Los Angeles area? Is this happening to men over 45? And if not, why not? And if you were a woman over 45, where would you live?”

I’ve addressed these issues previously here and here. The reader’s premise is no longer accurate. Female stars are no longer consigned to the movie-star boneyard when they enter their 40s.  Back in the day, female stars lived hard and by the time they were 40, many of them could pass for 60. Today, female stars in their 40s, 50s, and 60s still look great (and of course, can still act, if they could in the first place).

What is true is that strong female parts can be hard to find, and women are less likely to carry a film in Hollywood than are men. Such is not the case in, for example, France.

Some female stars over 40 (I contend that those in the list who are between 40 and 45 will continue to work when they hit 45; there are many in this list who won’t see 60 again; a Sophia Loren or Ursula Andress still has credits in the 2000s):

Helen Mirren, Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Geneviève Bujold, Charlotte Rampling, Nicole Kidman, Lucy Liu, Laura Linney, Demi Moore, Julia Roberts, Holly Hunter, Meg Ryan, Mary-Louise Parker, Elizabeth Perkins, Mary McConnell, Felicity Huffman, Teri Hatcher, Alfre Woodward, Geena Davis, Stockard Channing, Frances Conroy, Glenn Close, Bette Midler, Susan Sarandon, Goldie Hawn, Angelica Houston, Lily Tomlin, Sarah Palin, Debra Winger, Catherine Deneuve, Signorney Weaver, Isabella Rossallini, Juliette Binoche, Isabelle Adjani, Lili Taylor, Jane Curtain, Janeane Garofalo, Julie Delpy, Sharon Stone, la Streep, Renee Zellweger, Parker Posey, Maggie Cheung, Michelle Yeoh, Dianne Weist, Blythe Danner, Adrienne Barbeau, Ana Belen, Ann-Margaret, Blythe Danner, Cheryl Ladd, Cheryl Tiegs, Betty White, Ann Savage (sadly deceased, but she made it into My Winnepeg), Cristine Rose, Concha Velasco, Cybill Shepherd, Diane Keaton, Faye Dunaway, Fionnula Flanagan, Gemma Jones, Jaclyn Smith, Helena Rojo, Jacqueline Bisset, Jane Seymour, Jean Smart, Jane Badler, JoBeth Williams, Karen Allen, Kirstie Alley, Linda Gray, Lynda Carter, Mary Kay Place (sister wife!), Morgan Fairchild, Olivia Newton-John, Pam Grier, Peggy Lipton, Raquel Welch, Sally Field, Shelly Long, Sonia Braga, Sophia Loren, Vanessa Redgrave, Ursula Andress, Wendie Malick, Renee Russo, Lena Olin, Jane Fonda, Fanny Ardant, Julie Christie, Tina Turner, Tanya Roberts, Shirley MacLaine, Shannon Tweed, Nancy Sinatra, Sela Ann Ward, Rita Wilson, Phylicia Rashad, Mia Farrow, Madonna, Melody Thomas Scott, Melanie Griffith, Kim Cattrall, Julie Newmar, Katie Sagal, Kathy Bates, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jennifer Tilly, Jessica Phyllis Lange, Joan Allen, Gena Rowlands, Grace Jones, Cloris Leachman, Debbie Morgan, Debbie Harry, Diahann Carroll, Ellen Rona Barkin, Emma Thompson, Andie MacDowell, Angela Bassett, Annette Bening, Kristin Davis, Emmanuelle Beart, Jennifer Beals, Mariska Hargitay, Carrie-Anne Moss, Mädchen Amick, Marisa Tomei, Madeleine Stowe, Sela Ward, Linda Fiorentino, Tia Carrere, Kristian Alfonso,Teri Hatcher, Sandra Bullock, Julianna Margulies, Ashley Judd, Gina Gershon, Famke Janssen, Caitlin Keats, Phoebe Cates, Kate Walsh, Courteney Cox, Elizabeth Hurley, Sophie Marceau, Salma Hayek, Patricia Valasquez,
Kari Wuhrur, Ayelet Zurer, Maria Grazia Cucinotta, Julie Dreyfus, Sofia Vergara, Monica Bellucci, Brooke Langton, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Brooke Shields, Lauren Graham, Vanessa Marcil.

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2 Responses

  1. That’s some list. The thought of you typing it makes my wrists hurt. Do you think if somebody was writing strong film roles for American women of a certain age, those movies would get made and be successful and, thus, make me happy when i try to figure out what I’m going to watch when I go to the movies?

  2. Big Hollywood movies, with their worldwide distribution, aren’t likely to change any time soon. But at the other end of the spectrum, where anyone can make a movie, and in the Indie world in general, there is plenty of action (viz., “The Kids Are All Right,” “Tiny Furniture,” and “Wendy and Lucy”).

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