A Young Person’s Guide to Slate’s Culturally-Relevant Octogenarians

Earlier this week Slate released their list of most influential octogenarians in America for 2010, highlighting men and women who are still culturally relevant in their 80s, 90s, and beyond (rock on, Wesley E. Brown). As with every year, there are plenty of “fresh old faces” (i.e. newly-qualified icons) as well as some veterans of the list. Assuming that most of you weren’t around for World War II, we’ve pulled together a cheat-sheet to Slate’s cultural relics in the arts — because while you might know who Maurice Sendak is, you probably didn’t realize that he was 4 months old when the stock market crashed in 1929.

Clint Eastwood – 80

Glory Days: Playing the badass anti-hero in classic Westerns (The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Dirty Harry) and action flicks (In the Line of Fire) that you saw half of on AMC that one time.

These Days: Since 2003’s Mystic River, Eastwood’s become known for his work as a director, including Million Dollar Baby, Gran Torino and Invictus. Eastwood doesn’t show any signs of slowing down either. His newest film, Hereafter, starring Matt Damon, doesn’t look like a winner. But we’re excited to see how he treats J. Edgar Hoover is an upcoming biopic starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

Historical Signpost: Eastwood was drafted for the Korean War in 1950 after high school.