52 years old used to be what 80 is today. Seriously. In Barefoot In the Park (1967), Mildred Natwick is supposed to be 52 years old!!! But she seems near 90. Natwick plays Mrs. Ethel Banks–the timid, frail, dainty mother of Jane Fonda.
I mean, her voice trembles, she wears a pillbox hat, a girdle, old-lady gloves, and she is afraid to climb the stairs? She is afraid of spicy food and won’t look a man in the eye! Holy shitsky! So, 52 years old, then… was ancient. ANCIENT! (It’s a fun fact that Mildred Natwick actually lived to be 89, always innovating, debuting in a singing role on stage when she was 62!) But our perceptions of age–and the roles we’re meant to assume at certain ages–have changed so drastically in just decades.