Why I Lie About My Age

I’m an actress and live in Hollywood, a town that suffers from honestaphobia. If you’re approaching 40, casting directors, producers, agents, and friends who want you to fail will add five years to whatever age you give them. If you’re approaching 50, they will add ten years. If you’re approaching 60, they will write RIP next to your name but probably still call, having erroneously thought only your career is dead, not you.

Steve Rossi was part of a successful comedy team from the 1960s, Martin and Rossi. They were very famous and very funny. Linkedin acknowledges his death with a sweet update, which I expect to receive every year until my own death. Don’t forget to congratulate me when you get my notice!

Recently, a female friend blurted out the age of a mutual acquaintance. I was shocked because A. She didn’t look it and B. Now all I can think about is how old she is because I’ve forgotten she doesn’t look it.

These men are in their 80s: Robert Redford, Clint Eastwood, Robert Duvall, James Earl Jones, Rip Torn, William Shatner, Woody Allen, and Alan Alda. These women are in their 80s: Debbie Reynolds, Shirley MacLaine, Angie Dickenson, Olympia Dukakis, Ellen Burstyn, Joan Collins, Carol Burnett, and Julie Andrews.

Notice any difference in the two lists? The first list works. The second list doesn’t. If you want to find women in their 80s who work in show business, you’ll have to cross the pond, to England, for mega-talents Maggie Smith and Judi Dench.

After I’d been in Hollywood for two years, a casting director called my agent and asked how old I was. He replied, “39”. After a long pause, the casting person said, “Still?”

Yes. Until you hear from Linkedin, consider me 39.

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