Inspiring and Influential Seniors

January 3, 2024

It’s that time of year again! A time when we look back over the past 12 months – the highs & lows, the good & bad, and start to envision what we want to see in the new year ahead. 

As we set our goals, we are highlighting some of the most inspiring and influential seniors from the year past and exploring what makes them tick. What works for them might just work for us, or at least inspire us to go after our own dreams. 

Let’s take a look at some of the more seasoned creators out there – age is truly just a number for these noteworthy seniors – and see if we can get inspired to take on the new year! 


At the age of 93, Hollywood icon Clint Eastwood is still going strong both in front of, and behind, the camera. With movie credits too lengthy to mention, including 1966’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, the 80’s Dirty Harry movies, 2008’s Gran Torino all the way up to 2021’s Cry Macho, Eastwood has remained remarkably influential. 

Arguably, his most relevant work has been behind the camera, where he has proved himself to be not only the most powerful conservative filmmaker in Hollywood but a blockbuster presence at the box office, as well. His massive hit American Sniper was one of the highest-grossing non-franchise movies in decades. Not a bad resume enhancer for someone who started his career in the early 1950s! 

The takeaway: Don’t stop believing – in yourself! Keep creating and sharing your worthwhile perspective. 


“Stealing Your Man Since 1928,” Helen Van Winkle, aka Baddiewinkle, is an American Internet sensation who became an Internet darling at the age of 85. Winkle is an activist and influencer whose self-expression is a statement of disapproval of the beauty industry and the false limitations it imposes on individuals, especially on women. 

Baddiewinkle, now 95, has millions of followers and views on social media, where she posts photos and videos of herself, often with suggestive clothing with peculiar prints, or little clothing to encourage body positivity and the celebration of the physiques of older adults. Winkle shot to social media fame in 2015 when her great-granddaughter posted a photo of Winkle in the then-teen’s cut-off jean shorts and a tie-dyed shirt on Instagram. Nearly 3 million Instagram followers later, she’s attracted fans from around the world, including Rihanna and Miley Cyrus. 

Her vibrant and, at times, controversial style has garnered the attention of fashion designers, who send her their most out-there duds for her to model. Currently working on a range of colorful canes with her great-granddaughter Kennedy, Baddiewinkle is a hero to millions.  

The takeaway: No old dogs here – you CAN learn new tricks and technology! You still have lots to share, and people want to hear (and see) what you have to say. 


In a career that has spanned seven decades, John Williams, 91, has composed some of the most popular, recognizable, and critically acclaimed film scores in cinema history. Out of the most memorable movie themes in the history of movies, Williams has written at least half of them, including Star Wars, Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T. Jurassic Park, and many more. 

Having garnered 52 Oscar nominations, Williams has the most of any living person, and the second most of any person living or dead, behind only Walt Disney. Widely known as “America’s Composer,” Williams is one of the few living creators whose work continues to define its genre. 

Soon after completing his work on 2023’s Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny movie, Williams told Entertainment Weekly, “I’ll stick around for a while. I can’t retire from music.” 

The takeaway: If your work never feels like “work,” you never have to retire (unless, of course, you want to.) 


Billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch, 92, and his family are controlling shareholders of 21st Century Fox and News Corp. The two conglomerates control dozens of television, film, and production companies operating in the United States and around the world. Fox, the New York Post, National Geographic, the Wall Street Journal, and Market Watch are all operated under Murdoch’s leadership. Murdoch is regarded as a successful media investor who built News Corp. through a series of strategic global acquisitions and innovations. As co-chairman of the Fox Corporation and the executive chairman of News Corp., Murdoch has controlled a journalism empire. 

On Sept. 21, 2023, Murdoch announced his plans to “transition” from his current positions at Fox and News Corp. and take on the role of chairman emeritus, which was effective in November 2023. He also announced that his son Lachlan, whom he called a “passionate, principled leader,” would become the sole chairman of both companies. 

But it seems unlikely the ambitious, trail-blazing nonagenarian will be able to release the reins entirely. He reportedly told news sources he would remain involved as chairman emeritus, noting he hoped to continue an “active role” at the company upon retirement. 

The takeaway: Seasons change and sometimes so do our roles and goals. Evolution is a healthy – and exciting – part of life. 


Everybody’s favorite television cook and author, Ina Garten started her career as a staff member in the White House Office of Management and Budget. Feeling utterly unfulfilled in this role, she purchased the 400-foot specialty store called The Barefoot Contessa in Westhampton Beach, N.Y., in 1978 and the rest is history. 

Twenty years later, Barefoot Contessa grew to a 3,000-square-foot food emporium where 20 cooks and bakers prepared the food. Twenty-five more employees worked in the store helping thousands of customers to choose breads, salads, dinners, and baked goods to take home. In 1996, Ina sold the store to her employees. 

In 1999, she wrote her first book, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, which was one of the best-selling cookbooks of the year. The book invites her readers into her specialty food store and shares the recipes that made it such a success. In 2001, Ina followed with the best-selling Barefoot Contessa Parties! in which she invites readers into her home and shares her ideas and recipes for having parties that are fun for all — including the host. Ina has been a columnist for Martha Stewart Living magazine, O, the Oprah magazine, and House Beautiful magazine. The “Barefoot Contessa” star has become beloved for her foolproof dishes that are accessible to home chefs at any skill level. 

Garten credits this with the fact that she always tests out her dishes with an inexperienced cook. One of her favorite quotes: “You can be miserable before you have a cookie and you can be miserable after you eat a cookie but you can’t be miserable while you are eating a cookie. Food is about nurturing: not only physical but also emotional nurturing.” 

The takeaway: Cookies are good. (Ha!) Also, there’s never a better time than NOW to try something new. 

None of us know what this new year holds in store. But we do know that we can seize the day! These influential seniors have shown us that there’s always time to try something new, learn another skill, or share the knowledge and experience you have. All we need is a healthy dose of courage. Cheers to an exciting new year!