Tales of long life | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 12, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 12, 2016

Musings

Tales of long life

Everybody seeks a long life. But long life is not always a blessing. It can be a life of unmitigated woes. However long life indeed is a milestone!

The oldest recorded human age is 168 years! Shirali Farzali Muslimov of Azerbaijan was the blessed person. Muslimov according to Russian record was born on 26 March 1805 and died on 2 September 1973. He was survived by his 107 year old third wife and saw his fifth generation. Muslimov survived on a diet of whole meal bread, chicken broth, low-fat cheese and yoghurt. He never took wine nor did he smoke. It is known that herdsmen around that region live to have a long life.

According to the western world French lady Jeanne Calment lived to be 122! Calment was born on 21 February 1875 and passed away on 4 August 1997. She credited her longevity to a diet rich in olive oil which she also applied onto her body as well as a diet of port wine and 2.2 pounds of chocolate every day. It saw her through! Emma Morano - a 115 year old living Italian lady divorced long ago takes three raw eggs and a glass of home-made brandy every day. She shared the information that since divorce she stayed away from men! It helped her!

In general longevity is increasing, particularly in the western world and in Japan. For Japan aging of its population is a matter of concern! Happily for Bangladesh the longevity has increased to 69 years. It is encouraging since the elements in the country like weather and living conditions are not ideal.

Of late, long life is endowed with a halo of public profile; with the British monarchy, American Presidents and indeed with film stars of Hollywood living long. Prince Philip is 94 and the Queen is 89 and President George H. W. Bush is in his nineties. On his 90th birthday (12 June 1924) he went for sky diving from helicopter!

Among the living film stars Olivia de Havilland is 99! So is Kirk Douglas! In India the thespian Dilip Kumar is 93 (11 December 1922)! Much appreciated film director Mrinal Sen is 92!

Olivia de Havilland is into her 100th year being born on1July 1916. She won 2 academy awards for the films To Each His Own (1946) and The Heiress (1949). Olivia de Havilland is the only artiste still alive of Hollywood's first magnum opus Gone with the Wind (1939). She played the role of Melanie Hamilton. In 2008 President George W. Bush awarded her National Medal of Arts.

Kirk Douglas is in his 100th year being born on 9 December 1916. He is a celebrated star of The Vikings and Spartacus. He has been awarded Lifetime Achievement Oscar Award. His son Michael Douglas won academy award for Best Actor 1988 for the film Wall Street.
The thespian Dilip as Satyajit Ray said - is an ultimate method actor. In his 54 years career he received 8 Filmfare Awards. In 2015 he received Padmabibhusan award. Born on 14 May 1923 Mrinal Sen is widely acclaimed for movies Bhubon Sh0me, Kharij, Interview, Khondohor, Kolkata Ekattur etal.

Once Hindi films iconic villain and later to become a celebrated character actor Pran was 93 years old (born 12 February 1920) when he passed away on 6 November 2013. He received Dadasaheb Phalke Award.

Hollywood's highly regarded leading lady Katherine Hepburn was a nonagenarian. Born on 12 May 1907, the only Hollywood film artiste to win 4 Oscars Hepburn was 94 years old when she passed away on 29 June 2003. The four academy awards she won for Best Actress are - Morning Glory (1933), Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967), The Lion in Winter(1968) and On Golden Pond (1980). On life she observed; "Life is hard. After all, it kills you."

Olivia de Havilland's equally gifted younger sister leading lady Joan Fontaine was 96 years old when she passed away on 15 December 2013; being born on 22 October 1917. She received academy award for best actress for 1941 for Alfred Hitchcock's film Suspicion.
To borrow from Katherine Hepburn; even long life is hard. For after all, it too kills you!

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