16 Geriatric Figures from History who Didn’t Let Age Stop Them
16 Geriatric Figures from History who Didn’t Let Age Stop Them

16 Geriatric Figures from History who Didn’t Let Age Stop Them

D.G. Hewitt - June 2, 2019

16 Geriatric Figures from History who Didn’t Let Age Stop Them
Sir Winston Churchill pictured here on his 80th birthday. Wikimedia Commons.

2. Winston Churchill was only forced to quit politics at the age of 89 and even served as Prime Minister in his ninth decade

Having led his country to victory in the Second World War, Sir Winston Churchill would surely have been entitled to take it easy and enjoy a comfortable retirement. However, ever the statesman and missing the action of front line politics, he decided to make a comeback in old age. Just one month shy of his 77th birthday, Churchill became Prime Minister for a second time. He had beaten his political rival, the Labour leader Clement Atlee, in a fiercely contested election and was eager to get back at him for his defeat in 1945.

Though he enjoyed the backing of the public, Churchill’s own wife, as well as his personal doctor, expressed their reservations about his comeback. Churchill was not only a 77-year-old Prime Minister, he also named himself Minister of Defense. The stress was simply too much. He suffered a mild stroke at the start of 1952. The following summer, he was hit by another, more serious stroke. Churchill soon accepted his time was up. At the age of 80, he finally resigned. Even then, however, he remained a Member of Parliament up until the age of 89, only stepping down one year before his death in 1965.

16 Geriatric Figures from History who Didn’t Let Age Stop Them
Ronald Reagan spent his 70s busy in the White House instead of in quiet retirement. Wikipedia.

1. Ronald Reagan wasn’t content with one successful career, so he became President just days before turning 70

Ronald Wilson Reagan continues to be hold up as the perfect example of that perfect second career. He’s also proof that you don’t need to start young to get to the top. Indeed, Reagan was in his 50s when he first started getting actively involved in American politics. And he was 69 years and 349 days old when he took the oath of office and started work as the 40th President of the United States of America. Thanks mainly to his economic policies as well as his tough foreign policies, Reagan won re-election.

At 73-years-old, he became the oldest person to date to take the Presidential Oath of Office. What makes Reagan’s life story even more remarkable is that fact that, prior to his stellar political career, he also enjoyed great success as a movie actor. After starring in several big-budget movies, he served as president of the Screen Actors Guild and then picked up some lucrative speaking gigs. He could have retired into a life of comfort and celebrity at the age of 60. However, he believed old age should be no barrier to ambition.


Where did we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

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“William IV (1765-1837).” BBC History.

“Who Was Laura Ingalls Wilder?” Patricia Brennan Demuth 2013.

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“6 surprising facts about Laura Ingalls Wilder.” Deseret News, February 2018.

“Great Figures: Peter Mark Roget (1779-1869).” BBC History.

“Before the Walk: Meet the 82-Year-Old Tightrope Walker.” Time.com.

“Many Founding Fathers Were Shockingly Young When the Declaration of Independence Was Signed In 1776.” Business Insider.

“Philippe Pétain (1856 – 1951).” BBC History.

“Has History Got Roman Emperor Tiberius All Wrong?” The Getty Museum Blog, October 2013.

“Enrico Dandolo and the way history overlooks disability.” BBC Magazine, November 2012.

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“Churchill Becomes Prime Minister Again.” History Today.