His Career Pre-60: Trejo has a very colorful past as a real-life gangbanger, a guy who everyone knew not to cross. A couple of prison stints got him into rehab, where he was offered a job as an extra, and later unofficial fight choreographer. A lifetime of blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameos followed, where he built his rep big enough to earn the attention of some of Hollywood’s biggest filmmakers, developing a frequent collaboration with Robert Rodriguez. Trejo’s considerable credits included “Heat,” “Anaconda,” “Con Air,” “Animal Factory,” “xXx,” “Reindeer Games” and a host of Rodriguez films.
At 60: Trejo’s earliest post-60 action role was as one of the
Unholy Two in Rob Zombie’s “The Devil’s Rejects.” It’s not a big role, but at
the age of 61, Trejo found himself joined with Diamond Dallas Page as the hired
muscle, six decades into a full life. In a movie filled with larger-than-life bit players, Trejo doesn't get to do much, but his presence alone conveys so much, and Zombie allowed him to portray mean and salt-of-the-earth.
After 60: Ironically, Trejo is one of the few actors to achieve his greatest success in his 60s. His friendship with Rodriguez resulted in both “Machete” and “Machete Kills,” where he’s the star in the middle of a universe of superstars, a James Bond of the barrio who brings justice to the world and suffering to the tyrannical. Trejo’s been more than busy in both theatrical and direct-to-DVD films, appearing in big studio movies like “Predators,” art action pictures like “Modus Operandi” and independent suspense movies like “Bad Ass.”
His Career Pre-60: Ford became one of the world’s biggest stars seemingly overnight, thanks to both “Star Wars” and “Raiders Of The Lost Ark.” From there, it was a quick jump to being one of the most versatile leading men in the industry. Through the '80s and '90s, Ford exhibited his talent and conviction in “Frantic,” “Witness,” “The Fugitive,” “Air Force One” and two Jack Ryan movies.
At 60: Ford was still considered a major box office attraction when he took on Kathryn Bigelow’s “K-19: The Widowmaker.” Alongside Liam Neeson, Ford played a Soviet submarine captain trying to keep the threat of war at a distance despite several malfunctions and tactical mistakes. Its failure was the beginning of the end for Ford as a major box office attraction, even if Ford looked physically imposing in the role. Looking back, it’s an able suspenser, but not something that stands out in Bigelow’s checkered career, and ultimately all parties involved rarely speak of it.
After 60: Ford continued to play leading roles in somewhat lesser films like “Hollywood Homicide” and “Firewall” before grabbing the whip and fedora again in “Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull” at the age of 66. By 69 he was on a horse in “Cowboys And Aliens” alongside Daniel Craig. And this year at the age of 72, Ford will be suiting up with the rest of the gang in “The Expendables 3,” suggesting perhaps that he’s the one actor who has no interest in actually aging in his seventies.
His Career Pre-60: Connery achieved immortality as James Bond in seven films, pictures that established him as the ideal action hero, both brutish and suave. Connery would go on to star in films like “Marnie,” “The Man Who Would Be King,” “Outland,” “Highlander” and “The Untouchables,” creating a career out of playing strong-accented hardasses that didn’t fool around when it came time to display real strength.
At 60: Connery was active as ever in 1990, starring in both “The
Hunt For Red October” and “The Russia House.” “Red October,” the start of the
Jack Ryan films, found Connery as a Russian submarine captain attempting to
defect to the United States during the Cold War, and he essentially devours
co-star Alec Baldwin in the part. “The Russia House” was a romantic spy
thriller, meanwhile, and Connery was in top form seducing Michelle Pfieffer,
with no one acknowledging that the man was old enough to be everyone’s father.
After 60: Connery did not at all slow down, taking on action-intensive parts in “Highlander II: The Quickening,” “Medicine Man” and “Rising Sun,” even suiting up at 67 for Michael Bay on “The Rock.” Connery had enough enthusiasm and energy at the age of 73 to even tackle a comic book adaptation, suiting up for “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,” though that would end up being the actor’s exit from the profession, retiring from screen work. He has kept that promise for almost twelve years now.
His Career Pre-60: Lee was one of the great legends of cinema, known for starring as Dracula in eight Hammer productions, and racking up 136 movie roles before his 60th birthday. There is almost nothing Lee hasn’t done, and that’s not including his many television credits over the years. He often showed up in bit roles, but is something of a Zelig in the film industry, building an empire all his own.
After 60: Age is no matter to Lee, who slowed down in his early '60s before picking right back up. Ultimately, he earned a legion of new fans in his eighties, taking action parts in “The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring” and “Star Wars Episode II: Attack Of The Clones,” and continuing to show up in “The Golden Compass,” “Sweeney Todd,” “Season Of The Witch” and several others. This year, he will show up again as Saruman in “The Hobbit: There And Back Again” at the badass age of 92 years old.
Any elderly ass-kickers that get your pulse going? Is this a trend you want to see continue? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below.