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Broadway to Hollywood

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

In the present economy, if a rising tide lifts all boats, what does the opposite do? Does Hollywood have the right stuff for another installment of Star Wars (Episode 7), Indiana Jones(5)?Is a potential Oscar winner sitting in a dreary room eating take-out while writing his or her groundbreaking screenplay for Avatar(2)? As Netflix rakes it in with oldies, Hollywood’s best are tailored to teenage boys, and comic book special effects devoid of anything fresh in human drama or comedy. So, what’s an actor to do? Jobs are scarce in the entertainment business. When eating out in New York City chances are your waiter or waitress is a Julie Andrews wannabe, or Hugh Jackman hopeful-hopeful they won’t have to return to Boise, heartbroken. Ergo, when veterans like James Earl Jones and Elizabeth Ashley can’t find work, what’s an actor to do? They can take it with them-all the way to the Longacre on BROADWAY!

Some Boomer Demographics

By 2015, those aged 50 and older will represent 45% of the U.S. population (American Association of Retired Persons). By 2030, the 65-plus population will double to about 71.5 million, and by 2050 will grow to 86.7 million people (U.S. Census). Adults 50 and older now own 65% of the aggregate net worth of all U.S. households (U.S. Consumer Expenditure Survey). Entertainment cannot be exclusively geared to one genre-The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, or the highly successful PBS television series Downton Abbey. But there’s a vast audience to be counted among the living; and large number of unemployed talent. Do we need another Irving Berlin to tell us “there’s no business like show business?”

According to a Government Accountability Office study released last year, workers 55 and older experience consistently longer periods of unemployment than younger workers. Without cosmetic reconstruction, it’s especially difficult for older female performers, or network news anchors. If Barbara Walters looked like Sixty Minutes warhorse Morley Safer, would the octogenarian just retired broadcast journalist have withstood the rigors of her male-dominated profession? Former ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer was ‘the last woman standing.’

The Man From Malpaso

Riding into the sunset of history, 84-year-old Clint Eastwood is the atypical Hollywood mogul. With few duds in his resume, can he be “Forgiven” for, according to critics, his latest Jersey Boys? Spaghetti westerns and Dirty Harry made it possible for the multi-talented actor-director to make some of the most original films for adults in the history of cinema: the mystical Pale Rider, the inventive Letters From Iwo Jima, which isn’t even in English.

White Hunter Black Heart, the story of the making of The African Queen, is an underrated masterpiece, with the real life s.o.b. director Eastwood playing the role of the former larger than life s.o.b. director John Huston. From the romantic Bridges of Madison County to the racist curmudgeon in Gran Torino, Clint Eastwood is the epitome off “fresh.” The late Roger Ebert said it best. “The idiosyncratic director, the jazz-loving filmmaker and composer, the master of cinema and winner of two best picture Oscars. What is the thread that draws him through his life? I think there are two threads: Intelligence, and an instinct for the cinema that has compelled him toward ever more ambitious projects. He just gets better.”