Whatever Happened to...Celebs Aging Naturally?

When the legendary actress Kim Novak exclaimed "Frozen!" during last night's Academy Awards, I couldn't tell if she was talking about the movie or her face. I know I wasn't the only viewer who was a bit taken aback by Novak's Joker-like appearance, yet another Hollywood plastic surgery casualty. 

There was a time when actors and actresses let themselves age naturally, and looked all the more better for it. Katharine Hepburn, as far as I could tell, never had work done and her pretty features are still intact in On Golden Pond, which was released when she was 74. Mae West also resisted plastic surgery, showing off her face and neck to whoever asked to prove she had no surgical marks. Instead, she shunned the sun, staying indoors during the midday hours and drawing the shades in her apartment. Eva Saint Marie is 89 and was interviewed on CBS Sunday Morning this week, claiming that she never had anything done to her face--and I believe her. She still looks stunning and completely natural. 

You would think that seeing the disastrous, deformed faces of those who went too far would deter other celebrities from going under the knife or getting Botox injections. Among those who look drastically different compared to their younger glory days are Kenny Rogers, Mickey Rourke, Joan Van Ark, Meg Ryan, Bruce Jenner, Daryl Hannah, Carrot Top, Melanie Griffith, Joan Rivers, Cher, Priscilla Presley, Lara Flynn Boyle, and Barry Manilow, just to name a few. 

Also, the girl who used to turn the world on with her smile, Mary Tyler Moore? I'm sorry, but she looks downright scary:

One cheek is bigger than the other. Why...why....why would you DO this to yourself??? To be honest, I lose respect for people who overload on cosmetic surgery and are under some delusion that they look good. 

Puffy duck lips, eyelids that refuse to shut completely, Michael Jackson-esque noses and facial implants that protrude have become the norm today among those who reach a certain age in American showbiz. It wasn't always this way...

It used to be that plastic surgery as a medical specialty served a very positive purpose. Medical procedures to improve one's appearance have existed since ancient times, but after WWI plastic surgery was elevated to a whole new level when it was used to treat soldiers who had suffered facial injuries in battle--giving hope to disfigured patients. In the 1960s, silicone was created which eventually became used for breast implants. The 1970s saw plastic surgery being applied to just about any area of the human body for superficial improvement. 

But when some celebs of yesteryear did have cosmetic surgery done, it was minor and barely perceptible. When Marilyn Monroe's medical records and x-rays became available for public auction last year, it was revealed that she had had a small chin implant done in 1950 to repair cartilage, and rhinoplasty to correct a small fracture to her nose. Hardly anything that qualifies as drastic. 

Hollywood, unfortunately, is still obsessed with youth and age, at least when it comes to actresses. Renée Zellweger is in her 40s, the decade when suitable roles seem to dwindle for women on the big screen. She hasn't made a film since 2010 and she looks noticeably different these days compared to the Bridget Jones' Diary movies--her squinty eyes have been opened up, erasing her trademark look and making her look more like any other actress. She recently admitted in an interview from last year that she is "terrified of aging." It could be that she has fallen victim to the same irony Jennifer Grey did when she had a nose job done after Dirty Dancing. The change made her look so different, it hindered her career since she no longer looked liked the recognizable Baby.

But getting a nose job is one thing; having repeat procedures until your face resembles a Halloween mask is another. I honestly can't think of a single celebrity who looks better after getting tons of cosmetic upgrades. It seems like it would be a lot easier to me to follow Mae West's lead and avoid the sun, exercise and eat right. 

And if you still get the age spots and jowls? So what? It sure beats looking like a clown and having your distorted kisser splashed across the tabloids and social media outlets. 


  1. Okay as someone who's been in love with Mary Tyler Moore since the age of 8, this downright shocked me. I feel like such a naïve fool, everytime Ive seen her on tv in the lsst 10-15 years I was surprised how bad she looked and assumed it had something to do with her diabetes. (But then again, shes probably been doing this most of her life--her bust size tripled from the first season of the MTM Show to the last.)

    Anyway--this is going to sound terrible, but a couple weeks ago I was watching this 'strsight to video' movie "Perfect Family" on Netflix, stsrring Kathleen Turner and I COULD NOT get over how bsd she looked. I know we all get old, but she was actually difficult to watch. Back in 1989, I met her at a charity dinner for Childrens Hospital of Pittsburgh (my girlfriends dad was a VP at Heinz and brought us along) and she was absolutely stunning, gorgeous. I am sorry to say that during this recent movie, I actually thought "maybe she could get a little something done..." Shame on me!

  2. LOL, Doug. I'm sorry if I burst your bubble re: MTM. I think the comparison photo I included was one of the more recent ones.

    Kathleen Turner has not aged well as some other actresses of her generation but in her defense, she was (I believe) on medication for an illness that made her bloated.

    One can never underestimate the power of healthy living and taking care of yourself. I've been watching Rich Man, Poor Man and looked up the latest photos of Nick Nolte and Peter Strauss. Nolte has been arrested for DUI a few times in recent years and the latest photos showed him with a long white beard, looking like Santa Claus. Strauss is 67 but still fit and a stone cold fox.

  3. Pam, shortly after I posted that (and I apologize for all my typos, that's what I get for typing on a damn virtual keyboard) I read up on Kathleen Turner and yes, it turns out that steroids (for medical issues) and alcohol did a number on her. I feel bad for my earlier comments.

    As for Nick Nolte (and others like him), yeah booze and drugs really do a number on people. I'll have to google Strauss to see if he's still the fox you claim he is :)

  4. Another one who COMPLETELY changed her looks with a nose job was Laraine Newman of "Saturday Night Live." It's not a good career move if no one can even recognize you anymore.


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