Via Media

Well, not really. But I can’t think of what else to call it.
Does anyone else have celebrities who are about your own age, who have functioned as a sort of benchmark for you through the years?
You know, someone who you’ve looked at and thought, “Well, I’m getting old, but at least I’m looking better than her/him?” Or whose career and personal trajectory you just sort of idly follow and resonate with because you’re more or less contemporaries? And think, “There but or the grace of God…” (either negativey or postively)?”
I do. And they’re an interesting pair – Valerie Bertinelli and Madonna.
Bertinelli’s only a couple of months older than I, and of course, came to fame as a teenager on One Day at a Time, which I watched, not with any great devotion….
(I should be embarrassed to say it, but my devotion – hardcore devotion – in television watching during those years was reserved mostly for Masterpiece Theater and such – The Pallisers, I, Claudius and Upstairs, Downstairs of course. Also on the list was the magnificent dramatization of the woman’s suffrage movement in England, focusing of course on the Pankhursts, Shoulder to Shoulder. I’ve searched high and low, far and wide, but it doesn’t seem to be out on DVD. Pity, because I’d really like Katie to see it.)
…but more out of curiosity about this girl my age playing a girl my age on television, a girl who sort of, if you squinted, I could be said to slightly resemble. Mostly in the dark hair and lack of visible cheekbones, but ah, well.
And ever since, when I saw something about her, I read it. Not as a “fan” (Touched by an Angel? Uh, no), but almost as a classmate, a friend, going through things sort of like me. But with a lot more money.
The Madonna thing is different, not just because she’s older by a couple of years but also because, well, it’s a lot harder to make connections between her life and mine. Thank goodness. But I’ve always kept my eye on Madonna, mostly to see how a woman my age chooses to deal with her age – or not. And honestly, just watching her now…I’m feeling a-okay.
I was reminded of this because of Drudge’s pic of Madge on his page this evening – which follows many other photos of her over the past few years which show, in rather startling ways, her trying so very hard to fight the years and be who she’s been to her fans, mostly through strenuous physical regimes which have rendered her, at last, as Scary Lady in Charge of Sinews. It’s just not helping. Nor do the cheek implants. And besides all of that, no matter what you do, you can’t have a hand-lift. What I mean is that if you really want to get sense of how old someone is, look past the dyed hair conveniently arranged so that, as the years go by, less and less of the actual face can be seen, past the lifts and tucks…and take a gander at the hands. Hands never lie.

(okay…I stand corrected, per the comments. You’re right. Let’s say…The hands of skinny women trying to hide their true age never lie? Maybe?)

I was wondering tonight to Michael how some of these celebrity women who came to fame as lithe young things thirty or twenty years ago, and who are now in their 50’s and 60’s would look if they looked like your average 50 or 60 year old who’s aging without surgery or maybe even without hair color. Goldie Hawn is 62. Cher is, too. What would they look like if they looked like the averag 62-year old you’ll sit near in church tomorrow morning? I’m not judging anyone for fighting age – we all do it – but I’d just be fascinated to see it.
There is no way a middle-aged woman is “supposed” to look. Me, I’m aiming for the Emmylou Harris approach myself. Or Jamie Lee Curtis. She’s aging gracefully, per Activa commercials, at least. (By the way, here’s a list of celebs turning 50 this year. They seem to have left one out, though. Go figure.) And I can imagine that if you came to fame at and were surrounded at every turn by images of yourself at 20, it would be hard to let go of that. But ultimately…

…you might just start to define ‘unintended consequences.” As in – all the other near-50 year olds who’ve ever-so-distantly following you for a quarter-century are thinking…hmmm. Time really is a a weird is.
But actually, the question I’m curious about is the first one I asked – do you have a Celebrity Life Traveling Companion?
Update: I’m really enjoying the answers so far – Mia Farrow, Bob Dylan, the Brat Pack, Matthew Broderick, WInona Ryder, Debbie Gibson..keep ’em coming if you can!

Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus