We have nothing but respect for actors who choose to continue in their profession into their 70s and beyond, and there are many who have graced science fiction and supernatural television with their proven talents. In many cases, these actors have long and illustrious careers in film and on stage as well, but we always appreciate when they show up as wise mentors or grizzled villains or other similar roles in the genre shows that we love. The latest Sci Fi Fidelity discussion topic podcast entitled “Elder Elite” covers six of our favorite examples and shares listener contributions as well.
The criteria we used for qualification was that the actor in question must be 70 or older in 2019 and must have worked on a science fiction, fantasy, horror, or supernatural television series in the recent past or be currently working on or about to work on a show. For example, Sir Patrick Stewart, although he hasn’t worked in TV in awhile, is set to reprise his role as Jean-Luc Picard, former captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise, in Star Trek: Picard on CBS All Access at the age of 79 — likely 80 by the time the show airs.
Another knighted actor mentioned in the podcast is 81-year-old Sir Anthony Hopkins, who made a surprising return as Robert Ford in the second season of Westworld considering his character died in season one. Other octogenarians on the list are Diana Rigg who, besides being known as Emma Peel on the original The Avengers (no, not those Avengers), entertained us as Lady Tyrell in Game of Thrones, and William B. Davis who built on his legacy as Cigarette Smoking Man in The X-Files with his roles in Continuum and, more recently, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
John Noble of Fringe and Sleepy Hollow rounds out the list of six along with Ian McShane of American Gods, but it’s really the listener contributions that complete the discussion. The lack of women working at an advanced age on our list speaks more about the industry than it does about their willingness to keep acting, and thankfully our listeners found a few more emeritus actresses — and more men, too — in the 70-plus age range that deserve recognition.
To participate in our discussion topics, be sure to join the Sci Fi Fidelity Facebook group where the listener participation aspect of the podcast unfolds the week before the episode releases. Be sure to subscribe to Sci Fi Fidelity so that you never miss an episode! Each week we review a currently airing show, discuss a topic of interest to genre television, or interview someone from behind the scenes of our favorite series. Find us in your podcast app of choice or simply listen below!
Michael Ahr is a writer, reviewer, and podcaster here at Den of Geek; you can check out his work here or follow him on Twitter (@mikescifi). Dave Vitagliano has been writing and podcasting about science fiction television since 2012. You can read more of his work here.