THE ART OF AGING: Marlo Thomas, Tovah Feldshuh, Carol Kane, and Cheryl Wills, NY1 weekend evening anchor, shared their perspectives on aging during a panel discussion Tuesday night at the Paley Center for Media moderated by Sheila Nevins, president of HBO Documentary Films and The New York Times bestselling author of “You Don’t Look Your Age and Other Fairy Tales.”
The panel, presented with AARP, was titled, “Better Than Ever: Women on Television Are Fighting Ageism – And Winning.”
Feldshuh, 63, who has acted in such series as “The Walking Dead,” “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” and “Salvation,” said she’s busier than ever working in television in New York. She was adamant that she would never get plastic surgery because she has to play different roles and if she chooses to be glamorous it will limit the roles she gets. Nevins, 78, who wrote about plastic surgery in her book, is a proponent. “But you’re not in front of the camera,” said Feldshuh.
Kane, 65, who is currently appearing on “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” said she wouldn’t do plastic surgery for one simple reason: “I am really chicken s–t,” she said.
Thomas, 79, who has been seen recently in “Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later,” and “Ballers,” said she was born in denial and lives in denial. When she turned 60, it was a shock because she said she never acknowledged turning 40 or 50. “I stopped at 30,” she joked. As for her strategy for passing the big 6-0, she said, “I got through it, and it just gets worse.” She said she never faces the facts. “If you face the facts, you’ll never want to get out of the bed in the morning,” she said.
As Feldshuh, an avid swimmer and bicycle rider has aged, she’s learned to have compassion for herself and other people. “For a branch to bear fruit, one must learn to bend,” she said. She said she’s learned to substitute laughter for anger. “Is it working?” someone called out in the audience? “Somewhat,” she said.
Wills, who is turning 51 and was the youngest in the group, had a different perspective. “I think beauty is solidly within. When people look at you, they look into your eyes. Your eyes show something that’s either beautiful or not so. I don’t like to use the ‘U’ word. I’ve met people who are 70 or 80 years old and are gorgeous,” she said.
Thomas believes that being grateful goes a long way in the aging process. “I think gratitude is looked over, it’s a piece of love that can give you some juice back. Age dries you up a little bit, you lose some of that fire and juice.” She said that for some people, their dream runs out and they haven’t figured out how to live another dream. Their kids grow up or they get knocked out of their job. Thomas said it’s important to create another dream.
The conversation turned to losing one’s parents and the impact that can have on one’s life. “The loss of a parent is the beginning of a realization that this is it,” said Nevins. Thomas spoke about losing her father, Danny Thomas. “I was so close to him. You never stop missing him. My dad is gone 26 years and I still talk to him.” She said she got a letter from Mike Nichols when her father died saying that the conversation goes on and you can still share all the news, thank them and they still talk to us.
“I talk to him a lot, he still makes me laugh,” said Thomas.
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