GRAY IN L.A.: The Boomers At 70 -- Are They Over At Last?


"Oh no, not the boomers!" I heard someone say with an annoyed voice. It was as if they were the people who are REALLY in the way, or up to nothing good -- or just unpopular. Well, calm down all you people born after 1964; curb your anger and your envy.

Like it or not, we are not just still here, we also are not yet ready to roll into the fading sunset in our fancy wheelchairs. No, the original boomers, the beloved babies born right after the war, in 1946, decorating the "Best Years" of our parents' lives, are still celebrating their 70th birthday all year.

When we came, it was a little bit like the Birth of a New Nation, wasn't it? The pampered darlings with an entitlement affliction were ruling the world for a short time. So what are we now? Bold Boomers or Tottering Seniors? Sexy Seventy and Gray and Proud, or invisible and dispensable?

It's quite a roster that is parading (or is it slouching?) before our eyes: favorite movie icons like whimsical Diane Keaton and goofy Goldie Hawn; show-horses like Cher and Dolly Parton; famous daughters like Liza Minelli -- some in their original, slightly wrinkled skin, some barely recognizable.

There's "You really like me" Sally Field, still friendly and approachable looking, but also prickly politico Susan Sarandon, clever Candice Bergen of TV-sitcom sensation "Murphy," and still stunning Peggy Lipton of "Mod Squad" fame and mother of Rashida Jones. There's also Naomi Judd, mother of super smart feminist and actress Ashley.

We have sensuous songstress Linda Ronstadt and radical troubadour Patti Smith, and there's still the great Ruth Pointer of the Pointer Sisters (remember them?). The fabulous Brits stand strong with still gap-toothed Jane Birkin, mesmerizing temptress Charlotte Rampling, raspy-voiced Marianne Faithful and chic Jacqueline Bisset.

It's not all glitter and glamour, of course. There are the famous news-ladies Judy Woodruff and Connie Chung, also provocative artist Marina Abramovic, the one that stares you in the face for very long -- and Laura Bush, the prim and proper ex-first lady.

Yes, there are some men who are and will be 70 this year -- like crazy Oliver Stone, enigmatic David Lynch, and funny Tim Curry. Oh, and Sylvester Stallone, too. Singer Donovan, gorgeous David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, and last but not least, the former presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush. And there's the one who hopefully never ever gets close to being one: Donald Trump is 70, too.

The importance of certain very enigmatic and in our case, colorful, generations is always debated by the ones that came before and after them. They are stared at, applauded, adored, but also condemned, torn apart and vilified.

When I was 21 I felt sorry for the "old" 39-year old editor-in-chief at the newspaper where I was a hotshot reporter. Poor guy, already with one foot in the grave, was my thought ... Then Paul sang, definitely tongue-in-cheek, "When I'm Sixty-Four" -- Jeez, a laugh-riot, who would ever become that old? Years later Bob Dylan sang "Forever Young" -- and yeah, that was the idea. We are and we always will be was the thought crossing our slightly arrogant minds. Some actually managed to stay close to forever young and as we all learned in the meantime, it has nothing to do with dyed hair and desperation.

Do we need to glorify the 60s generation that had all the fun, the clothes, the music, the rebellious plans -- but also carried the weight of being seen as the new hope and the messengers of fresh ideas and modern prosperity? Not at all.

So, dear non-boomers, here's the request. Glorification isn't necessary, no, because no generation is without its flaws and shortcomings. But how about being delighted and grateful to have such a bunch of interesting, talented, powerful, innovative, trail blazing, game-changing, radical, courageous, colorful and idiosyncratic people among you who actually made it to the ripe old age of 70 and who are still standing strong? There are role models galore for you.

Take a look and remember: You'll get there one day, too. And then you'll be the ones with a past full of milestones...

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