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How These Well Known Celebrities Lived so Long

Updated on August 29, 2012

Longevity Benefits Obtained Through Healthy Activity

Traveling on foot to see the world is a life connecting-positive motivator that makes me happy, passionate, excited about life and can be shared with others!
Traveling on foot to see the world is a life connecting-positive motivator that makes me happy, passionate, excited about life and can be shared with others! | Source


The following “beloved” 6 out of 7 celebrities are now deceased; had long successful careers and all had exceeded 90 years of age. Two of these long living celebrities suffered disease at a late stage of their life. But nevertheless had remarkable and productive careers, quality of life experiences, and for the most part, lived life to the fullest while aging gracefully.

I’ll first identify each of these celebrities through a short summary of their biographies. I can then share with you at the end of the article in more detail the likely reasons to their healthy longevity.

Jack LaLanne was born on the 26 Sep 14 and passed on 23 Jan 2011. Jack is best known to most as the guru and godfather of fitness and taught many of us the importance of how to incorporate good exercise habits to maintain good health. He first promoted his exercise and fitness philosophy through his well known fitness TV shows that ran from 1951 to 1985.

He has also made statements like; if something tastes good spit it out. Does that sound familiar? It should. This “coined” statement now serves as a reminder of the plethora of chemical infused and/or processed foods we see in our consumer markets. There are now a lot of health and diet research experts telling us our foods are loaded with addictive and dangerous food chemical additives and dyes. These additives are used to enhance color and flavor to make foods appear more flavorful and fresh. Between the combination of the dyes and chemical additives our bodies are operating in a high metabolic reaction mode to keep the toxins out. And because our bodies can only operate in a reactive filter mode for so long; many are suffering from diabetes, obesity and cancer.

Mr. LaLanne has also credited his vegetarian lifestyle to his good health. Although he ate some fish, he was a spirited advocate for the vegetarian lifestyle and in making his well known juicer and vegetable-fruit diet drinks a success. When asked what the secrets were to his long life, he’d say working out daily and eating nutritious food. Jack died at the age of 96 from reparatory failure caused by pneumonia.

Henry “Harry” Morgan (lived from 10 April 1915 to 7 December 2011). He was best known for his role in the popular TV series MASH that aired from 1972 – 1983). He played the role of Col Sherman T. Potter from 1975 to 1983 of the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital “M*A*S*H unit during the Korean War. And before his famous role in M*A*S*H he stared in another popular series; Dragnet ran from 1967-1970, where he played the role as Detective Bill Gannon and also appeared in more than 100 movies.

What were the positive life attributes that helped contribute to his long healthy life style? It is known that Harry didn’t do talk shows because he didn’t believe in talking about himself, but instead focused on an extensive “hard work ethics” acting career that was phenomenal. It is also apparent his love of family and career were the overall drivers of happiness and quality long living experiences. Prior to his death at age 96, he was being treated for pneumonia.

Nancy Davis Reagan (6 July 21 – Living, now age 91) Nancy happily gave up her acting career which began in the 50’s to marry another famous and well known actor Ronald Regan, whom she met in 1951 when he was president of the Screen Actors Guild. Nancy was billed as “Nancy Davis” through the 11 films she performed from 1949 to 1956. In her last production she played opposite her husband in Hellcats of the Navy.

And then what followed was the permanent role as the wife and mother to their children as her husband was the 33rd Governor of California, from 1967 to 1975. And then some years later she became the first lady to the 40th President of the United States of American (Jan 20, 1981 to Jan 19, 1989).

All the while she worked with many charitable organizations to fight against drug and alcohol abuse among the young. She also organized a 17 country conference and International youth focus to these global problems in 1985. To this date she continues her work and holds fast to her belief in love, honesty and selflessness. Ronald Regan also had a long life but sadly suffered Alzheimer’s before his death at age 93 (Feb 1911 – June 2004).

A not so well known fact, Edith Davis was the longest-living mother of a first lady (Living 99 years, July 1888 – October 1987).

Ronald, Nancy and Edith Davis all shared similar commonalities within their individual family lifestyles. They all were very productive and selfless individuals that had a love of fellow humans, family and country. This family holds a legacy unmatched in selfless sacrifice to humanity and is still considered the Mecca of political and social and ethical standards that are second-to-none of any other celebrity family and politicians to date.

Kirk Douglas was born on 9 December 1916 and passed away 16 August 2012. Born as Issur Danielovitch, Kirk is the son of a poor Russian Jewish immigrant.

Kirk served time in the Navy and ultimately worked his way into acting by studying his craft at the Academy of Dramatic Art. He became most popular during his cinematic leading men roles in the 50’s and 60s and starred in nearly 90 films. It was his characters from Vincent Van Gogh, in Lust for Life (1956), and Johathan Shields, in the Bad and the Beautiful (1952) that earned Douglas his greatest performances and an Academy Award nomination for each of the film.

And in the 50’s - 60’s his supporting movie roles drew big box-office draws: Gunfight at the O K Corral (1957); The Devil’s Disciple (1959); and Seven Days in May (1964). And another very famous signature role and big screen film most are familiar, Spartacus (1960).

Although Douglas suffered a nearly fatal stroke in 1995, he did not allow that to set him back, even though this event had affected his speech. He continued to act and make appearances during the late 90’s and had co-starred next to son Michael Douglas in “It Runs in the Family (2003).

Kirk and wife Anne Buyden had the longest-lasting marriage in Hollywood (57 years). He credits his long lasting marriage to his steadfast, supportive wife. As a way of giving back to the community during his twilight years, Douglas and his wife opened scores of playgrounds for the disadvantaged children in Los Angeles.

Although I can find no specific information with regard to exercise and diet, it is apparent Kirk had a genetically lean and strong build. No mention of lifelong drinking and smoking habits… Other than a forced cigarette habit during his leading actor roles that got him hooked on a 2-3 pack per day habit from approximately 1946-1950. After reflecting on his father’s cancer caused by cigarettes and death at age 72, he relinquished the short-lived habit. Kirk Douglas died at the age of 95.

Ernest Borgnine was born on 24 January 1917 and passed on 8 July 2012. Mr. Borgnine used his GI bill obtained from a decade-long stint in the Navy to study acting. He had a fantastic acting career that spanned on TV and American films for more than six decades. He is best remembered in the Oscar-Winning performance in 1955 as “Marty.” Also he is well known for his successful television series that ran from 1962 – 66, “McHale’s Navy,” which earned him an Emmy nomination. Also he was a frequent guest during the early Hollywood Squares game show.

Prior to his death Ernest stayed active as the voice of Mermaid Man in the popular Nickelodeon’s children’s cartoon series, Sponge Bob Square Pants. Even at the age of 92 he was nominated in his Emmy guest performances during his ER shoots.

He had 3 previously divorced spouses and was currently married to Tova Borgnine from 24 February 1973 – till death.

In a famous quip during a 2008 interview, when asked to comment on his secret to living a long and fruitful life; he said his secret to longevity is to stay away from red meat (his preference of diet is vegetarian) and “I masturbate a lot” as famously stated on a FOX news interview.

It is unknown to this date if Mr. Borgnine was kidding around with that famous statement on national television, or if there was any truth to it. However, there is research that supports that masturbation for men and women improve boosting immune function. For men specifically, the act of masturbation may create a healthier prostate gland where one is less likely to develop prostate cancer. And for women, it appears to lessen the likelihood of yeast infections, chronic back pain and pre-menstrual complications that cause pelvic pain. But these claims are still challenged by many health and scientific researchers and for the most part are not scientifically proven.

From what I could find Mr. Borgnine appeared to have one bad habit and that revolved around cigar smoking. Ernest Borgnine died of renal failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in LA, at the age of 95.

I can deduce there are significant healthy longevity commonalities between these celebrities outside of diet and exercise. For the most part I didn’t see the “it’s all about me” mentality within any of these celebrities, but instead noted strong and highly-valued connectedness of social and family commitment. It was obvious hard work ethics, positive social intermingling and personal giving of self with a lot of laughter and happiness contributed greatly to their long lives. I also noted each one of these well known celebrities exuded positive and productive life energy throughout their lives. It was obvious each one of them were very comfortable in their own skin. These folks were like regular people with big celebrity status and big hearts.

It appeared that all of these celebrities ate mostly healthy and all didn’t practice exercise daily. Although there are other outliers that would provide further discussions on balanced diet and exercise contributions to longevity, it doesn’t appear these are the common denominators within this grouping.

Longevity Attributes Within this Grouping: What were they? A positive attitude toward life in general, selfless ego, a life partner they enjoyed sharing their life with, excited about daily life, comfortable in own skin, shared personal time and resources with family and significant others, contributed back to society, lead a decent, healthy and good lifestyle, etc. It is certain that these common and positive life attributes contributed to their long and fulfilling life experiences.

Scientist have well established through research a fit mind, like the body can be made to feel ill, sick and then become depressed. And to stay depressed for too long predisposes the immune and metabolic systems to become unhealthy. It would serve all to know that selfish tendencies and bad behaviors cause internal metabolic and external social stresses. It is at this point many look for vices to cope with reality through a dangerous drug habit for example. This negative domino effect from too much “negative” stress, bad behaviors and habits is the cause of much illness, disease and short life spans! And our celebrity longevity examples show that through “positive” and balanced life stress activities one would likely live a more fruitful, happy and satisfying long life mostly free of ill-health.

Since the mind and body (psychosomatic) connection is interlinked, if one becomes unhealthy, the other part can as well. External and internal stresses can cause much harm to our immune and metabolic systems. And if one can’t figure out how to change bad stress habits and behavior activities; more illness and disease will likely occur that would not otherwise. These celebrities show us priorities that focus on a positive stress activity, selfless outlook and love of life, balanced healthy diet, active lifestyle and family-social interaction will likely lead to more enjoyment and good health in life while we age.


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