Usually, when you hit your 80’s, you are looking to put your affairs in order and make peace with your God. You know, slip quietly into the dark, dark, night. These octogenarians, on the other hand, wanted to continue to…well, actively participate in the processes of “human reproduction.”
10. Tony Randall
Randall was best known as Felix Unger in the 1970’s hit TV show The Odd Couple. But his career didn’t begin, or end, there. He was in the movies, stage productions, tried his hand at writing, and, of course, was one of the staples of classic American television. Never one for tabloid fodder, he was married to Florence Gibbs for 50 years.
Randall stayed active professionally after her death, and it was here that he met his second wife, Heather Harlan. Problem is, Randall’s second marriage came when he was 75 and Heather was 25. Partly because Tony Randall at one time played a gay man on television, he was the subject of multiple vicious rumors about his personal life in relation to his second marriage. Randall became a father for the first time at age 77 and for a second time at age 79. Tony Randall passed away at age 84 but, due to the rumors, Heather felt the need to clear the air in the Huffington Post. The article titled “We Had Frequent Sex” is easy enough to find online, but contained way too much information.
9. Tony Bennett
The beloved Traditional Pop Standards singer married his third wife, then 41, at age 81 coming off of the critical success of his hit album Duets: An American Classic. At age 85, Bennett came out with his sequel album, Duets 2, giving him his 16th & 17th Grammys, respectively. Between the marriage, duets with female artists 60 years his junior, and the content of some of his jazz standards, we think it can be safely assumed that Tony Bennett is staying busy both day and night.
8. Thomas Jefferson
As one of the founding fathers of the United States of America, Thomas Jefferson is one of the pillars on which this country was built. The third President of the United States died in 1826, and has arguably found more controversy in death than anytime in his life. During the election campaigns of 1802 and 1804, there were whispers than Jefferson, whose wife Martha Jefferson had passed away in 1782, had a “shadow family” with one of his slaves, Sally Hemings. Jefferson denied these claims until his
death. Historians though, were split to whether these allegations were true or not.
Enter the 21st century, where DNA was able to link Jefferson to Sally’s son, Eston, with a 99% probability of fatherhood. Eston was born when Jefferson was 65 years old. Jefferson reportedly had 6 children with Sally Hemings and owned her until he passed away at age 83. Sally Hemings was freed by Jefferson’s daughter after his death. Again, due to dicey-at-best records, it can only be assumed that Jefferson was having relations with his servants until his death.
7. Pablo Picasso
One of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century, Picasso’s personal life was that of a scandalous European romance novel. Picasso’s youngest child Paloma was born out of wedlock when he was 68 years old. After numerous well publicized affairs throughout his lifetime, Picasso wed for a second time when he turned 80, to Jacqueline Roque, 46 years his junior. She was known as his muse, having over 400 portraits painted of her by Picasso during his lifetime. A decade after Picasso died, Roque committed suicide.
6. George Burns
Coming out of the Vaudeville performing tradition, comedian George Burns was married to Gracie Allen for 38 years before her death in 1962. During his lifetime, George was in movies, television series, radio series, wrote books; really, anything having to do with performance in media, he attempted. Most of his work could be considered in the G-to-PG range, but the most shocking job he ever had had to be in 1984 when, at the age of 88, he appeared on the cover of Penthouse Magazine with Vanessa
Williams. Granted he was wearing clothes, but inside, Ms. Williams was not. George Burns went on to live to the ripe old age of 100, working almost right up until the end, but being the oldest person ever on a Penthouse cover (as a dude, mind you) has to be the strangest thing on his list of accomplishments.
5. Abraham, Father of Isaac and Ishmael
Abraham is the eponym of the Abrahamic religions, including Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The Book of Genesis in the Bible records the stories of Abraham and his covenant with God. The Qur’an documents similar stories of Abraham and his descendants. Multiple sources document Abraham’s age at death as 175 years old. At the relatively youthful age of 75, God told Abraham “leave your country, your people, and your father’s household and go to the land and I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you.” It was Abraham’s seed that was needed, but his wife Sarah was having no children. At the age of 86, Abraham had a son Ishmael, by Hagar. At 99, Abraham fathered Isaac with Sarah (and the help of God.) After Sarah died at the age of 127, Abraham took to a concubine and fathered at least six more children before his death.
4. King Abdullah
King Abdullah, 87, has been the leader of Saudi Arabia since 2005. Due to the sensitive nature of international relations with Saudi Arabia, I will tread very lightly here. While researching this list, I came across this disturbing blurb: According to WikiLeaks, King Abdullah “regularly receives hormone injections and ‘uses Viagra excessively’.”
Doesn’t our government have better things to do with their time?
3. William Jasper Martin
In the year 2004, Alberta Martin died. She was the last widow of the CIVIL WAR. How can that be, you ask? Here’s the story: William Jasper Martin fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War. When Martin was 81, he struck up a friendship with a young Alberta Stuart who, at 21 was recently widowed and needed help raising her young son. Martin and Stuart were quickly married and, 10 months later, they had a son. William only lived a few more years before he passed, where Alberta then married
William’s grandson (yup). Alberta Martin went on to become a bit of a local celebrity, marching in parades and communicating with multiple Civil War historians. William Jasper Martin and his widow received a Confederate Veteran’s pension for almost 140 years!
2. J. Howard Marshall II
One of the first oil tycoons in America, Marshall left the world of academia early in his career, and chased the fortunes of energy. For a billionaire, most of the drama in his life was confined to the business pages of the Wall Street Journal. Once he hit his 80’s though, Marshall became a widower and, instead of concentrating on business, he splurged on the nightlife and had an affinity for exotic dancers. At 89, he married 26-year-old stripper Anna Nicole Smith after numerous attempts for her hand in marriage. The marriage only lasted 14 months and coincided with Smith being named the Playboy Playmate of the Year in 1993.
After Marshall’s death, the rest of the story plays out like a Greek tragedy. There was a $1.6 billion dollar estate in question left to E. Pierce Marshall, but Smith (and disinherited son J. Howard Marshall III) fought for a piece of it. As the case dragged all the way to the Supreme Court, Anna Nicole died, her son died, and E. Pierce Marshall died before the litigation was settled.
1. Hugh Hefner
The founder of Playboy Magazine, Hugh Hefner has been a lightning rod of controversy for 50 years now. Advocate of a promiscuous lifestyle, Hefner only slowed down a little bit in the late-1980’s due to a stroke. He became more dedicated to a healthy diet, but foraged on with multiple sexual partners continuously. In 2005, the E! Channel debuted the reality show “The Girls Next Door”, with a 79 year old Hef and his three twenty-something girlfriends: Holly Madison, Kendra Wilkinson, and Bridget Marquardt. The show lasted for 5 seasons, but ratings tanked when he dumped the three girls for a new set of girlfriends; the show was quickly cancelled. In 2011, Hef was again in the tabloids, this time for getting dumped by Crystal Harris five days before their marriage, which was to be his third.
Written By Fred Hunt, author of American Suicide, available now on iTunes