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Entertainers Turning 100 In 2022

1922 was quite a year — the Ottoman Empire came to an end, the Lincoln Memorial was dedicated, and the Soviets formed a socialist republic. Construction began on Yankee Stadium, and the BBC made its first broadcast. James Joyce's "Ulysses" was published, "Nosferatu" debuted in Germany, and a lot of amazing human beings were born, including Judy Garland, Kurt Vonnegut, and Stan Lee, just to name three.

Two more "Golden" 1922 baby girls were Bea Arthur and Betty White. 2022 marks their 100th birthdays, and Ms. White came very close to actually blowing out those 100 candles. Sadly, Betty left us too soon at 99, leaving fans heartbroken that she just missed her monumental milestone. Same with Arthur Miller's sister, actress Joan Copeland (she's Daniel Day-Lewis' aunt-in-law, and gave her one time sister-in-law Marylin Monroe a $10 check for her wedding). Many others have left us too soon, but there are several notable 1922ers still with us, aiming to become a centenarian in 2022.

Jackie Robinson's widow, Rachel Robinson will turn 100 on July 19. The 2nd oldest Major League Baseball player, Edwin Basinski, on November 4. The oldest living NHL player, Stephen Wochy on Christmas.

Who else?

Well, there's the creator of some of the most beloved sitcoms of all time, a bandleader still tooting his horn, a director who made things larger than life, one of the last actresses to work with Laurel and Hardy, and another who inspired a young François Truffaut. So, let's give them some love and early birthday wishes, as we celebrate celebs who will turn 100 in 2022. 

Ray Anthony (January 20)

Raymond Antonini's father taught him the trumpet at age 5, and by age 18, the anglicized Ray Anthony became a member of Glenn Miller's Orchestra. He is currently the only surviving member of that orchestra, but also made sweet music with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Fred Astaire, Jayne Mansfield, Jean Simmons, Mickey Rooney, Danny Kaye and Louis Armstrong.

In his extensive career, Anthony has released over 125 albums, having hits with recordings of "The Hokey Pokey," "The Bunny Hop," the "Peter Gunn Theme" and the title music from "Dragnet." While Etta James' may have produced the most memorable version of "At Last," Anthony's recording remains the highest charting one. He was the bandleader at the inaugural Governors Ball in 1958, and played at Ronald Reagan's Presidential Inauguration in 1985. Anthony said, "Music puts wings on the human soul. Nothing can touch people the way music can."

Anthony once tried to woo Marilyn Monroe by writing a song in her honor, and hosted a party for doing so at his home in 1952. His second wife was also one of his co-stars, the vivacious actress Mamie Van Doren (she turns 91 in 2022). He was a close friend of Hugh Hefner's, and once even graced the cover of "Playgirl" Magazine.

Dear friend Berry Gordy threw him a 90th birthday party, he played "As Time Goes By" for his 95th, and in 2021, he posted, "I'm 99 and you're not."

His secret for longevity? "Act the way you feel rather than the age you might be," adding, "I think laughing is a very important part of health of your life. Don't take anything too seriously."

Margia Dean (April 7)

Before she was Margia Dean, Queen B-movie star of Lippert Pictures, she was little Marguerite Louise Skliris, and knew by age 7 that she wanted to be an actress, even entertaining patients of the Shriners' Hospital. Within a decade she became Miss San Francisco, then Miss California, and then the runner-up in the Miss America contest of 1939. In an excellent wide-ranging interview with Mike Fitzgerald of Western Clippings, Dean regretted her talent presentation, as she was told, "spouting Shakespeare wasn't the type of thing a Miss America could go around the country doing."

While Miss America 1939, Patricia Donnelly, turned down the chance at Hollywood, Dean took her talents there, landing her first role in 1944's "Casanova in Burlesque." She would go on to lodge over 60 credits, including what is considered the first Hammer "horror" film, "The Quatermass Xperiment ," 1958's "Ambush at Cimarron Pass" (where she was billed above Clint Eastwood), 1961's "The Big Show" (co-starring Nehemiah Persoff, who turns 102 in 2022), and her final role in 1964's "Moro Witch Doctor." Dean is aware that some of the low-budget films she was in were "corny," but proudly boasted, "To be pretty good in something like that is more of an achievement than being good in a big picture where you do it over and over."

"After films gave me up, I was very lucky as a businesswoman," Dean said, as she branched out into real estate, fashion, and interior decorating. In her later years, she's been enjoying playing bridge and traveling. "I am very content."

Annette Warren (July 11)

Annette Warren is a classically-trained pianist and singer, whose dual talents helped her get discovered in the 1940s, which led to performing in clubs, on radio, and even recording amateur songs, knocking down "20 songs in an hour and they paid me $4 per song."

Warren's claim to fame utilized her singing talents, but for others' gain. She literally lent her voice as a ghost singer, dubbing songs that appear to have been sung on screen by the likes of Iris Adrian for the Bob Hope film "The Paleface," Lucille Ball for both "Sorrowful Jones" and "Fancy Pants," and Ava Gardner for "Show Boat."

She also lent her voice for the Oscar-nominated animated short, "Rooty Toot Toot," appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show," had a local CBS TV show called "Annette Warren Time," and was wooed by her future husband, jazz pianist Paul Smith, while starring in "The Threepenny Opera" alongside Jerry Orbach, Ed Asner and Bea Arthur.

While she did record an album with her husband, and taught music to others, Warren dedicated most of her time raising the couple's four children. She has no regrets about shelving her career, telling The Oklahoman, "I was the happiest woman in the world raising a family."

That still didn't stop her from singing — for her husband on his 90th birthday (he died a year later), in the 2013 documentary "Secret Voices of Hollywood," a 2016 double disc career retrospective "There's a Man in My Life," and at 94, her first New York City club engagement in over 60 years. At a "retirement" show in 2018, at age 96, Warren said "I don't want anybody in my universe to die with their song unsung."

Normal Lear (July 27)

"In my ninety-plus years I've lived a multitude of lives. In the course of all these lives, I had a front-row seat at the birth of television; wrote, produced, created or developed more than a hundred shows." This is how Norman Lear summarizes his incredible career, which gave the world such unforgettable sitcoms such as "All in the Family," "Maude," "Sanford and Son" (with fellow 1922er Red Foxx), "Good Times," "The Jeffersons," and "One Day at a Time."

The list goes on, literally, as Lear continues to work even at 99 years of age, with a dozen or so projects in the pipeline and a recent celebrity-packed "Diff'rent Strokes"/"Facts of Life" episode of "Live In Front of a Studio Audience" becoming yet another TV event. When interviewed by CBS early last year, he said "The soundtrack of my life has been laughter," adding, "I happen to believe it has everything to do with a long life." And when asked about death, he said, "Going, who knows what's out there? It can't be all bad. But leaving, I can't think of anything good about leaving."

Recently, Lear had a New Year's message to us all, as he approaches 100, an age that "nobody is more surprised than I am" to reach. The WWII vet and man who bought a copy of the Declaration of Independence and toured it around America said his beloved country "needs all the help in the world. We have to go back to talking about and thinking about the original promises of the founders ... freeness and opportunity for all." Lear wishes that they'd start teaching "ethics and civics in school because if there is any need at all in our world — it is our need for one another."

Micheline Presle (August 22)

Without the screen presence of French actress Micheline Presle, perhaps writer/director Francois Truffaut and fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier would never have followed their own incredible career paths. Truffaut saw her in 1939's "Paradis Perdu" and wrote that Presle's "beauty and gentleness were extraordinary," adding "never again was I to feel such an emotional unanimity in response to a film." Gaultier "found out what a fashion show was" when watching Presle in Jacques Becker's 1945 film "Falbalas" ("Paris Frills").

The bulk of Presle's cinematic resume was spoken in her native French tongue, but she made a go at Hollywood via 20th Century Fox in the 1950s, netting a temporary stage name (first Prell, then Prelle, to avoid confusion with the shampoo), a love of charcoal-broiled steaks, husband William Marshall for 5 years, and a daughter, Tonie, who later became the only woman to ever win the Best Director César award. Tonie died in 2020, at age 68.

In 7 decades, she has racked up over 180 credits, working with such talents as Fritz Lang, G.W. Pabst, Marcello Mastroianni, Vincent Price, Errol Flynn, Brigitte Bardot, Cesar Romero, Tyrone Power, Jean Seberg, Jean Gabin, Bobby Darin, Sandra Dee, Shirley Jones, Anna Karina, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Catherine Deneuve, Alain Delon, and Paul Newman. In 2004, she received an honorary César, and said, "The cinema is the most beautiful story of my life."

At 88, Presle said, "As long as we have curiosity, we are alive. Time passes, the people we love disappear, but if we are curious, we have the possibility of provoking meetings, and complicity."

Janis Paige (September 16)

Born Donna Mae Tjaden, Janis Paige took her stage name from a WWI entertainer, and her grandmother's maiden name. Paige wrote, "I didn't ask for Hollywood, it discovered me," at the famed Hollywood Canteen, entertaining WWII servicemen, where she earned her first movie contract, and later was a part of the star studded cast of the 1944 movie "Hollywood Canteen." She added, "This was the heady stuff of which dreams were made."

By the early 1950s, she had enough of Tinseltown (she recently recounted her own "Me Too" moment), and made a big splash on Broadway, playing Babe Williams in the Tony Award Winning musical from 1954, "The Pajama Game" (Doris Day was given her role in the movie version). She did return to the silver screen, going toe-to-toe with Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse in 1957's "Silk Stockings," and even had her own TV show, "It's Always Jan."

Paige also had a fruitful cabaret career (and still sings, even after losing her voice), and was one of the first victims of Don Rickles' comedy insults. She was tapped by Norman Lear to be Archie Bunker's "one and only kiss away from Edith" on "All in The Family," and had long stints on "Trapper John, M.D.," "General Hospital" and "Santa Barbara." Her last credit was on a 2001 episode of "Family Law."

Paige's third and final husband was Ray Gilbert, Oscar winning writer of the "Song of the South" tune "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah," and she earns $350 every time it is sung. She still runs his music company, Ipanema Music Co, and in 2020 released "Reading Between the Lines: A Memoir."

Bert I. Gordon (September 24)

"From the time I was a very young kid I didn't want to do anything but make movies the rest of my life," Bert I Gordon said in a 2011 interview. He worked in the advertising and the industrial film world, before embarking on his Hollywood dreams. 

Those dreams became B-movie nightmares for audiences, with creative special effects super sizing grasshoppers, spiders, ants, rats, ducks, and even delinquent teens, running amok (in the Hill Valley town square no less), with the likes of Basil Rathbone, Vincent Price, Robert Forster, Joan Collins, Ida Lupino, Don Ameche, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Ron Howard, Beau Bridges, The Beau Brummels, Peter Graves, Joe Turkel (who will turn 95 in 2022), and his own daughter, Susan Gordon, enlisted for the extreme fun. Born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, 7 years after Orson Welles was, Mr. B.I.G. (his fitting initialed nickname) cast Mr. Citizen Kane for his 1972 picture "Necromancy." Even at age 93, he was still in the game, directing 2015's "Secrets of a Psychopath."

His work is still beloved, and Gordon holds the "honorable" distinction of having the most films of any director featured on "Mystery Science Theater 3000" — including his first, 1955's "King Dinosaur," and others like "The Amazing Colossal Man" and "Attack of the Puppet People." He is not pleased with that particular honor, but told The Capital Times in 2010: "I'm pleased with how I've been treated. I haven't been making $50 million films, but I think I've been very fortunate with reviews and definitely the box office."

Jacqueline White (November 23)

Growing up in Beverly Hills, Jacqueline White (not to be confused with the "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" character) had stars in her eyes, literally. When she was 11, she was invited to Hal Roach Studios to watch Laurel and Hardy work on their 1933 film "Sons of The Desert." Flash-forward 9 years later, White signed a film contract with MGM, and in 1943, had fourth billing in the Laurel and Hardy picture "Air Raid Wardens." In an interview, possibly the last surviving actress to work with the comedy duo said "they were charming and a delight," and they "chatted between takes but there was no joking around off camera."

In one short decade, White worked for both MGM and RKO, including 1944's "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo," 1946's "The Harvey Girl" (starring fellow 1922er Judy Garland), and "The Show-Off" with Red Skelton. She had a part in the 1947 Robert Mitchum noir "Crossfire," which became the first B movie to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture.

When she married her oilman husband Bruce Anderson, he "didn't want me to work" but she nevertheless did a few more films, including her final one, 1952's "The Narrow Margin." White and her family left California, first for Wyoming, before settling in Houston, Texas. White Anderson has celebrated her past career highlights, appearing at the TCM Classic Film Festival in 2013, and returning to the North Carolina Azalea Festival in 2015, where, as the very first Azalea Queen in 1948, crowned that year's winner. However, said, "My life today is so different. The picture days I consider a wonderful experience I had. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but it was 'my other life'."