Thursday, January 19, 2012

PREMORSE DESK:  In honor of Betty White's 90th birthday this week, The Daily Beast slideshows a bunch of nonagenarian actors just to remind you they, too, aren't dead yet, and Mental Floss has audio of a radio play White did back in 1930.


  1. Whatever's in the Fontaine/DeHaviland DNA should be studied by science.

    I remember when I saw Eli Wallach in The Ghost Writer how great it was to see him; I had no idea he was that old.

    And yay, Phyllis Diller.

  2. Meghan10:29 AM

    I love the whole Fontaine/deHaviland mystique.  The talent, the longevity, the feud.  Even though Melanie Wilkes was a mealy-mouthed fool, I still love Olivia de Haviland.

  3. Genevieve10:49 AM

    So cool that Dave Brubeck is releasing another album!  That's longevity and amazing productivity.

    Didn't know Celeste Holm was still around -- I love her.  Great anecdotes about her in Helene Hanff's "Underfoot in Show Business" (wonderful book about trying, and failing, to make it in Depression-era Broadway).

    I was trying to remember last night:  is it premorse when you didn't know the person was still alive, or only when you learn they died and you didn't know they were still alive?

  4. Benner11:16 AM

    Elliot Carter, 103 and still composing.

  5. Meghan11:44 AM

    I think it's the latter.

  6. Dan Suitor1:46 PM

    Ernest Borgnine is my absolute favorite nonagenarian. He deserved his Emmy nom for some guest work on later day ER, he stole a few scenes in R.E.D. (which was an incredibly fun movie, always worth a Netflix), and he looked like he was having a hell of a time when he was on What's Up With That?

  7. The Pathetic Earthling1:49 PM

    I think Adam has done some premorse aversion here.  The emotion of premorse is the fleeting regret you feel when you didn't know someone was alive in order to have only died now.  It's not your ignorance that you didn't know they were still alive, but your regret about only learning that someone's passing as mooted the earlier error.

    Alex wondered some time ago if we were surprised that Lindsay Lohan was still alive and my comment -- which I think gets us to what premorse is about -- was: "<span>Fair enough, Alex, although the emotion I have been seeking to define is about people you assume must be already dead. We're surprised Lohan hasn't died, yes, but we are all aware she is still alive.  So there's no revelation here of her putative now-deadness."</span>

  8. Watts2:55 PM

    I'm not sure it's genetics so much as spite for Fontaine/de Haviland. I'd place good money on the second one going within days of the first one.  Just long enough to savour, "Well, at least I outlived her."

  9. Fred App4:42 PM

    Plus, even if she had died, I'm not sure how many people would be feeling regret.

  10. Anonymous11:25 AM

    How very Jefferson/Adams. (But also how very likely true.)

  11. Marsha11:27 AM

    That was me. My computer seems to have gotten amnesia today.