Although the common belief is that an aging woman can’t get work in Hollywood, this list of incredible actresses belies that assumption. Betty White, for instance, was still stealing hearts at 99, and British radio drama actress June Rosalind Spencer is 103 and continues to perform. This article covers the oldest female actors by age.
Not only are these seniors singers, dancers, actresses, and comedians, but these award-winning women are activists, writers, producers, and filmmakers. Read on to see some of the notable highlights of their fascinating careers to date. Their roles are not limited to movies about seniors!
12 Female Actors in Their 90s
June Lockhart – 97
June Lockhard began her film career in the 1938 movie A Christmas Carol with her parents. Through the 1950s and 1960s, she appeared on various television programs ranging from the sci-fi comedy Lost in Space to the western sitcom Petticoat Junction. In 2019, she voiced the role of Mindy the Owl in the film Bongee Bear and the Kingdom of Rhythm. Then in 2021, she was the voice of June, Alpha Control, in the Netflix series Lost in Space, a reboot of the original series.
She has been given two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for film and one for television. She has also received the Exceptional Public Achievement Medal from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for inspiring the public about space exploration. She has received two Emmy Award nominations and won the Tony Award during her 80-year acting career.
Rosemary Harris – 95
Rosemary Ann Harris has received a Primetime Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Away, and Tony Award over her long career. She began her acting career at the theater in 1948 and starred with Peter O’Toole in Hamlet in 1963. Her first movie role was in the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer historical film Beau Brummell with Elizabeth Taylor.
She played the part of Aunt May Parker in the Spider-Man movies in 2002, 2004, and 2007. At the age of 91, she took on the role of Mrs. Higgins in My Fair Lady on Broadway. In 2020 she appeared in the mystery psychological thriller television miniseries The Undoing, and in 2022 she appeared in two episodes of Search Party, a dark comedy television sitcom.
Estelle Margaret Parsons – 94
Estelle Margaret Parsons was born in 1927 and has been an actress, singer, and stage director. She starred on Broadway in the 1960s before moving to film acting. She received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1967 for her role in Bonnie and Clyde and has directed several Broadway and Off-Broadway productions over the years. Her most recent role is that of Beverly Harris on the sitcoms Roseanne and The Conners.
June Louise Squibb – 93
June Squibb started her acting career in 1985 with the role of Sylvia the Landlady on a CBS Schoolbreak Special. In 1990, she played the part of Hilda in Woody Allen’s romantic comedy Alice. She received five nominations for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her character Katie Grant in the 2013 film Nebraska. She assumed the role of Mrs. Esther Finch in the 2020 romantic comedy-drama television series Little Voice and the character Vivian in Palmer, a 2021 Apple TV film.
Demonstrating that she hasn’t let age slow her down, she’s been the voice of Ruth in the adult animated sitcom Solar Opposites in 2020, the voice of Granny Tullabett Grancie in the animated comedy series The Fungies!, and the voice of Gramsy in the preschool animated television series Little Ellen in 2022.
Tippi Hedren – 92
Nathalie Kay Hedren (Tippi Hedren) entered the acting world when Alfred Hitchcock saw her in a commercial. She starred in Hitchock’s The Birds and Marnie. Over the years, she has appeared in over 80 television programs and movies. She’s received the Jules Verne Award and is a Hollywood Walk of Fame star.
At the age of 88, she modeled for Gucci’s jewelry and watches, demonstrating that beauty has no age limit. She founded The Roar Foundation and Shambala Preserve, located in the Mojave Desert, dedicated to preserving lions and tigers. She lives on the preserve and still conducts monthly tours. She is also the president of the American Sanctuary Association.
Lois Arlene Smith – 92
Lois Smith has been acting for more than eight decades. Her first film was the 1955 drama East of Eden. She was nominated for an Independent Spirit, Gotham, and Saturn Awards and won a Satellite Awards for her performance in the sci-fi drama Marjorie Prime. She is the oldest performer to receive a Tony Award for acting in 2020 for her role in The Inheritance. In 2013, she was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Obie award for her performances Off-Broadway.
Still going strong, most recently, she has starred in the 2020 movies Uncle Frank and Tesla, The French Dispatch in 2021, and Mack & Rita in 2022.
Barbara Eden – 91
Barbara Jean Morehead (Barbara Eden) is best known for her role as the blonde Jeannie in the television sitcom I Dream of Jeannie. She began her acting career, appearing regularly on The Johnny Carson Show in 1955. She’s also starred with Elvis Presley in the movie Flaming Star and as Stella Johson in Harper Valley PTA and again in a two-season TV series by the same name. At the Life Ball opening ceremony, she appeared in her pink genie costume in 2013. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She starred in the 2019 children’s movie My Adventures with Santa as Mrs. Claus and in the theater play Love Letters playing the role of Melissa Gardner.
She continues to make public appearances, most recently promoting her children’s book Barbara and the Djinn, published in 2021.
Leslie Caron – 91
Leslie Claire Margaret Caron began her career as a ballerina in France. Gene Kelly saw her and had her play opposite him in the musical An American in Paris. She received a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her appearance on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in 2007.
She became a hotel and restaurant owner in 1993 and continued to operate the business Auberge la Lucarne aux Chouettes (The Owls’ Nest), located outside of Paris, until 2009. Her most recent TV appearance was as Countess Mavrodaki in the British comedy-drama television series The Durrells. In 2020, she was the Ghost of Christmas Past in Jacqui Morris’ Christmas drama dance film.
Marla Gibbs – 91
Margaret Theresa Bradley (Maria Gibbs) has been an actress for over five decades. Her most famous role was as the maid Florence on the sitcom The Jeffersons. She received five nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for that character.
She has won seven NAACP Image Awards. She played supporting characters in various television shows, most recently Station 19 in 2018 and Grey’s Anatomy in 2022. In 2021, she took the role of Olivia Price on the daytime drama Days of Our Lives, on which she still appears regularly. She also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2021.
Barbara Bain – 91
Mildred Fogel (Barbara Bain) won three Primetime Emmy awards and a Golden Globe Award nomination for her portrayal of Cinnamon Carter on the TV series Mission: Impossible. She received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2016. She’s appeared in over 50 television series over her career, most recently as Aunt Simone in the sci-fi drama Space Command.
She’s also starred in over 20 films, last appearing in the 2020 comedy-drama On The Rocks. She has been a dancer and model for Vogue and Harper’s over the years.
Rita Moreno – 90
Rosa Dolores Alverío Marcano (Rita Moreno) has been acting, singing, and dancing for over seven decades. Most recently, she starred in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story 2021 version; she received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Anita in the original 1961 movie.
She has received a Golden Globe Award, Kennedy Center Honors Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award, and the Peabody Career Achievement Award. She was the Grand Marshal of the 2020 Rose Parade, and in 2021, she appeared in the Wicked in Concert PBS special.
Elaine May – 90
Elaine Iva Ma is a filmmaker, comedian, playwright, and actress. Her awards include an Academy Award, a BAFTA Award, a Tony Award, and a Grammy Award. She performed in her father’s theater company when she was three. She started performing in 1952 as an improv comedian and received the National Medal of Arts for her lifetime contribution to American comedy in 2013.
In 2016, she won the Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement; in 2021, she received an Honorary Academy Award from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Her most recent role was that of the legendary Ruth Bader Ginsberg in the legal drama TV series The Good Fight in 2021.
10 Female Actors in Their 80s
Carol Burnett – 89
Carol Creighton Burnett is a writer, singer, actress, and comedian. Her most famous contribution to television is The Carol Burnett Show. She has been awarded a Tony Award, A Grammy Awaver, six Primetime Emmy Awards, seven Golden Globe Awards, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award, and the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
She began doing stand-up comedy in New York City nightclubs before starring on Broadway. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and the Golden Globes named an award after her in 2019, the Carol Burnett Award, and she has written and recorded three memoirs. Most recently, in 2022, she appeared in an episode of Better Call Saul.
Joan Collins – 89
Joan Henrietta Collins began with minor roles in U.K. films at 17. She has supported dozens of charities over the years and received the honor of Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 2015 for her charity work.
Additionally, she has written 26 books which have sold over 50 million copies and been translated into 30 languages. In 2021 she appeared in the comedy short 2020:The Movie and Off-Broadway musical Tomorrow Morning.
Sophia Loren – 88
Sofia Costanza Brigida Villani Scicolone (Sophia Loren) has been named one of the greatest female stars of Classical Hollywood cinema by the American Film Institute. She also received the AARP Movies for Grownups Awards in 2021. Born in Italy, Sophia started her public as a beauty pageant contestant, followed by a film career at 16 in 1950.
She has recorded more than two dozen songs throughout her lifetime. In 2020 she played the part of Madame Rosa in The Life Ahead, and in 2021, she played herself in the documentary What Would Sophia Loren Do?
Shirley MacLaine – 88
Shirley MacLean Beaty is a dancer, activist, author, singer, and actress. She began her performance career on Broadway and her film debut in 1955 in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Trouble with Harry, for which she won the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year. In addition to her memoirs, she’s written several books on spirituality and reincarnation.
During her seven-decade career, she’s received an Emmy Award, an Academy Award, and six Golden Globe Awards. She starred as Astrid Fanelli in the 2022 dark comedy American Dream and the series Only Murders in the Building. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and won the AARP Life Time Achievement Award in 2019.
Julie Andrews – 87
Julia Elizabeth Wells (Julie Andrews) is the beloved star of numerous Disney films, including Mary Poppins and The Princess Diaries. She’s won an Academy Award, three Grammy Awards, and six Golden Globe Awards during her seven-decade career. She is also the author of 23 books (and counting). She’s been the voice of the queen in Shrek, Gru’s mother in Minions, and narrated the film The King’s Daughter in 2022.
Also, in 2022, she received the AFI Life Achievement Award. Queen Elizabeth II awarded her the honor of Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE).
Maggie Smith – 87
Margaret Natalie Smith began her stage career at the age of 17 at the Oxford Playhouse. She’s appeared in more than 70 plays and 60 films. She has been given two Academy Awards, a Tony Award, five BAFTA Awards, four Primetime Emmy Awards, three Golden Globe Awaves, and five Screen Actors Guild Awards. For her contributions to the Arts, she was made a Dame and a Companion of Honour for services to Drama by Queen Elizabeth II.
She played the role of Professor Minerva McGonagall in the Harry Potter movies and Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham, in the series Downton Abbey. She again took on the role of Violet Crawley in the 2019 movie Downton Abby and 2022 in Downton Abbey: A New Era. In 2021, she starred in the Netflix movie A Boy Called Christmas.
Judi Dench – 87
Judith Olivia Dench began her professional acting career with the Old Vic Company in 1957. She’s also worked for the National Theatre Company and the Royal Shakespeare Company. She’s starred in eight James Bond films. Her accolades include a Tony Award, an Academy Award, and two Gold Globe Awards. In 2020, she starred in three films, Artemis Fowl, Six Minutes to Midnight, and Blithe Spirit.
Then in 2021, she appeared in the comedy-drama Off the Railes and Belfast. In 2022 Louis Theroux Interviews: Dame Judi Dench featuring Judi’s lifetime achievements. She has long been a critic of movie industry prejudices against older actresses.
Vanessa Redgrave – 85
Vanessa Redgrave has been acting for over six decades. She began her theater career in 1958 in A Touch of Sun. Her first film was also in 1958, Behind the Mask, where she starred opposite her father. She has received an Academy Award, two Gold Globe Awards, two Primetime Emmy Awards, a Tony Award, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and two Cannes Film Festival Awards. She played My Fair Lady‘s Mrs. Higgins at the London Coliseum until August 2022. She was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2022.
She continues her work as a political activist, including public appearances, protest participation, donations to causes she believes in, and even directing documentaries about the European migrant crisis.
Jane Fonda – 84
Jane Seymour Fonda most recently starred with Lily Tomlin in the Netflix comedy series Grace and Frankie in 2022. She’s also appearing in the romantic comedy Book Club 2 – The Next Chapter, scheduled to be released in 2023. Her exercise video, Jane Fonda’s Workout, was the highest-selling VHS in the 20th century.
She has been an outspoken political activist her entire life. In 2005, she was one of the founders of the Women’s Media Center, which endeavors to ensure women and their perspectives are more accurately represented in the media.
Lily Tomlin – 83
Mary Jean Tomlin (Lily) is a producer, comedian, actress, and writer. She started her stage career as a stand-up comedian and then moved to off-Broadway performances in the 1960s. She appeared on the variety show Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-in until 1973. In 1975, she had her film debut in the movie Nashville. She received a Grammy Award for her comedy album This is a Recording.
Additionally, she won four Primetime Emmys, the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award, an Outer Critics Circle Award, and two Peabody Awards. She played the role of Frankie Bergstein on the Netflix series Grace and Frankie in 2022.
Today’s Oldest Female Actors
These hard-working women certainly agree with Betty White when she said, “Retirement is not in my vocabulary. They aren’t going to get rid of me that way.” We certainly look forward to seeing what’s next for these feisty dames!
You can read more about senior actors in the article 20 Oldest Male Actors Who Keep Going Strong.