I’m fortunate that Doug is a member of the Television Academy because we receive numerous invitations to screenings and receptions to garner Emmy votes. In the last month, we’ve been to at least three screening/reception/panel discussions for television shows featuring fabulous older actresses in leading roles. They were Grace and Frankie, Veep and American Horror Story Freak Show.
Grace and Frankie
Grace and Frankie (Netflix) stars Jane Fonda (age 77) and Lily Tomlin. (age 75) Both of their husbands, played by Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston, are long time law partners who come to the realization that they’re gay. They leave their wives and move in together. Grace and Frankie also move in together and deal with suddenly being single in their later years. Anything with Lily Tomlin in it is bound to be hysterical and she doesn’t disappoint. Jane Fonda shows off her excellent comedy chops and together they’re a winning team.
We watched an episode where Grace (Fonda) is encouraged to try online dating and gets the hots for her doctor played by Corbin Bernson (LA Law). Frankie (Tomlin) freaks out during a small earthquake and hides under a table paralyzed with fear until her ex (Sam Waterston) shows up to calm her down. Just the act of crawling under a table is hard for most people 75 years old, but she crawls under there as if she were 30.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (age 54) knocks it out of the park in Veep (HBO). As President of the United States, Selina Meyer, she is irreverent, takes no prisoners, potty-mouthed, and divorced. She started out as Vice President and became President for 8 months before seeking re-election again. We saw the hush hush season finale so I can’t reveal any more. You’ll all have to wait for next season to find out what happens.
I can see why she won the Emmy for best actress in a comedy series for 3 years straight. My question is; How the hell does she still look 25? She and Sally Field must have a secret they aren’t sharing that we all need to find out.
American Horror Story Freak Show
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American Horror Story Freak Show (FX) stars Jessica Lange, (age 66) Kathy Bates, (age 66) and Angela Bassett. (age 56) They are all “past their prime” in Hollywood terms but that hasn’t stopped the show from becoming a hit.
Jessica Lange, who looked as perfect as any actress I’ve ever seen in King Kong (1976) isn’t afraid to swing her arm flaps and can still play a sexy, alluring, and ferocious character. She channels Marlena Dietrich as a psycho bitch who owns a carnival freak show in season 4. Each year the show unravels a new scenario with many of the same actors playing different characters. Last year I loved her as a New Orleans supreme witch who rules a coven.
Kathy Bates can do no wrong in my book. She’s an accomplished and fearless actress who’s been able to succeed in Hollywood, despite the fact that she looks like a REAL woman. She bravely took it all off in “About Schmidt,” when she went skinny dipping with Jack Nicholson. That took guts. I don’t think I could have ever done that.
Angela Bassett is exotic, sensual and intense. I haven’t seen her yet as a 3 breasted performer in “Freak Show” but she dug her heels in as Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau in “Coven.” I’ll have to watch my screeners from season 4 as soon as I have a chance.
Warning: American Horror Story Freak Show is gory. I’m not into blood and guts myself, but the show is beautifully photographed and the characters are fascinating. You may have to look away several times during an episode and it’s not recommended to watch at dinner time.
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It’s exciting to see older actresses rocking it on the big screen and I don’t mean in a rocking chair. Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep are not the only women over 50 who can carry a show and crush up and coming starlets in the same category.
Who is your favorite actress over 50 and why? Please leave a comment and let’s shout her out.