oprah winfrey
Tom Cooper/Getty

Legendary Boomer Celebrities Who Are More Popular Than Ever

View Slideshow
oprah winfrey
Tom Cooper/Getty

Staying Power

Some stars hit it big when they were in their supposed prime. But many baby boomers (officially, those born 1946-1964) continue to draw attention long after their initial rise to fame — or in some cases their later rise in popularity far exceeds their earlier successes. Read on for a sampling of those who only get better with age.


Related: The Best TV Shows Starring Boomers


Elton John
Phillip Faraone/Getty

Elton John

Born: 1947

Elton John is one of the world’s biggest pop stars, a singer, pianist, and composer known for his personality, his wardrobe, his lifestyle, his charitable efforts and his talent. He rose to fame in the 1970s, and his career has chugged along ever since. He’s been fresh in the spotlight again with a 2019 biopic (“Rocketman”), his autobiography (“Me: Elton John”), and collaborations with contemporary stars ranging from Lil Nas X (who also stars with him in wacky UberEats commercials) and Dua Lipa.


Related: 33 Things You Didn't Know About Elton John


Dolly Parton
Kevin Winter / Staff / Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images North America / Getty Images CC

Dolly Parton

Born: 1946

The beloved country singer famed for her infectious laugh and songs ranging from “Jolene,” “I Will Always Love You,” and “Here You Come Again” to “Islands in the Stream” would go on to act (“9 to 5,” “Steel Magnolias”) and also create the theme park known as Dollywood in Tennessee. Today, she collaborates with goddaughter Miley Cyrus in song (and TV commercials), has created a bestselling baking collection for Duncan Hines and has even written a thriller, “Run, Rose, Run,” with celebrated author James Patterson.


James Patterson
James Patterson/Getty

James Patterson

Born: 1947

The famed author has written more than 200 novels with more than half of them landing on The New York Times’ bestseller list. Readers devotedly follow the Alex Cross or Women’s Murder Club series, but of late, it’s Patterson’s collaborations with unexpected co-authors such as Dolly Parton (this year’s “Run, Rose, Run”) and former President Bill Clinton (“The President is Missing,” and “The President’s Daughter”) that have drawn renewed attention. 


oprah winfrey
Tom Cooper/Getty

Oprah Winfrey

Born: 1954

American talk show host Oprah Winfrey (her eponymous show was on for a quarter century) is also a TV producer, author, actress, and philanthropist. She has her own network with OWN and O, the Oprah Magazine (in which her “Favorite Things” cause immediate sell-outs) but her March 2021 exclusive interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle further burnished her image as an interviewer.


Related: Iconic Talk Shows You Used to be Obsessed With

Terry Bradshaw
Chris Graythen/Getty

Terry Bradshaw

Born: 1948

NFL star Terry Bradshaw, the Hall of Fame quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, went on to a post-playing career as a TV sports analyst – something he still does, with equal parts candor and humor. But it’s perhaps his turn as a reality star that’s brought him even wider recognition. Viewers tune in to see how the goofball tackles family life in E!’s “The Bradshaw Bunch,” and he even became the subject of an HBO documentary earlier this year. 


Related: 25 Best-Paid Athletes in the World

Stevie Nicks
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

Stevie Nicks

Born: 1948

Fleetwood Mac made its biggest splash in the late 1970s with the classic album “Rumors.” The band has been a mainstay in musical playlists ever since, its songs (think “Dreams,” “Rhiannon” and “Landslide” for starters) rivaling the in-band drama for attention. But through it all, singer Stevie Nicks (a two-time inductee into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame) has made her name known — and become one of music’s most enduring legends. Her singular style, her iconic voice — and even celebrity friendships with the likes of Harry Styles — have kept her ever relevant. And, she’s on the road again this year, kicking off a handful of appearances May 7 in New Orleans.


Samuel L. Jackson
Kevin Winter /Getty

Samuel L. Jackson

Born: 1948

The American producer and actor is no slouch – his acting credits top 100 movies, including “Ragtime,” “Coming to America,” and an Oscar-nominated turn in “Pulp Fiction” But it was just late last month when Jackson soared to another level, presented with an honorary Academy Award for lifetime achievement. His box-office total is over $27 billion worldwide, according to People magazine.


Christie Brinkley
Jamie McCarthy/Getty

Christie Brinkley

Born: 1954

The famed 1970s Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, actress, entrepreneur (and onetime “Uptown Girl” and wife of Billy Joel) has been in the spotlight lately with countless social-media shout-outs Her incredibly youthful looks at age 68 were on display (when she lost the disguise) after she was tapped for the current season of “The Masked Singer,” where she performed as the Lemur.


Kevin Costner
Karwai Tang /Getty

Kevin Costner

Born: 1955

No one can deny the runaway success of “Yellowstone,” the ranching drama which has brought Kevin Costner to a popularity he’s not experienced since his “Field of Dreams,” “Bull Durham,” “Dances With Wolves” and “The Bodyguard” days. The Academy Award-winner cemented his enduring appeal with an emotional speech when presenting at this year’s Academy Awards ceremony and is reportedly set to direct again.


Lionel Richie
Shannon Finney/Getty

Lionel Richie

Born: 1949

The onetime voice of The Commodores who would go on to worldwide solo success is a modern-day Renaissance man with a hand in everything from branded furniture to fragrance. He’s also a producer and philanthropist (as global ambassador of The Prince’s Trust) and to his newest fans, an “American Idol” judge who tells it like it is. He’s also got a calendar packed with tour dates.

Tom Cruise
Karwai Tang/Getty

Tom Cruise

Born: 1962

Mention Tom Cruise and many will either think of that trademark grin or a movie career that has included hits ranging from “Risky Business” to “Rain Man.” But like some of his co-stars (think Dustin Hoffman or Clint Eastwood), Cruise seems to be in it for the long haul. The hype has already begun for upcoming Cruise-led releases such as “Top Gun: Maverick,” a $152 million action/adventure sequel set to hit theaters this Memorial Day weekend, and “Mission: Impossible 7,” already slated for summer of 2023 (and No. 8 is due in 2024).


Related: The 25 Biggest Movie Franchises in America


Vivica A. Fox
Vivien Killilea/Getty

Vivica A. Fox

Born: 1964

Vivica A. Fox, who already had made her name as an actress in movies like “Independence Day,” “Soul Food,” “Pulp Fiction,” and more, is now executive producer and frequent star of the Lifetime franchise of “wrong movies” (the dozen titles include “The Wrong Mr. Right,” “The Wrong Teacher,” “The Wrong Housesitter,” and more) and host of Fox Soul’s “Screening Room,” which celebrates young Black filmmakers and their short films.


Jon Bon Jovi
Jamie McCarthy/Getty

Jon Bon Jovi

Born: 1962

The Jersey hair-band singer born Jon Bongiovi traveled the world playing hits ranging from “Livin’ on a Prayer” to “Wanted Dead or Alive” with his band, Bon Jovi. The rocker and sometime actor (who turned 60 last month) has come into his own as a philanthropist with the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, which provides affordable housing and combats hunger. He’s also appeared in a number of charity concerts in recent years. Right now, he’s got the band back out on the road, too.


Related: 36 Longest Celebrity Marriages


Valerie Bertinelli
John Lamparski/Getty

Valerie Bertinelli

Born: 1960

Little Barbara Cooper’s come a long way. Valerie Bertinelli starred as the younger daughter of single mother Bonnie Franklin on the 1975-84 sitcom “One Day at a Time.” Bertinelli later moved to grown-up fare like “Touched By An Angel” and “Hot in Cleveland.” Today, she’s on the Food Network, where she offers up “Valerie’s Home Cooking” and co-hosts “Kids Baking Championship.” She’s also an author (her books include the latest, “Enough Already: Learning to Love the Way I Am Today,”) and has been the subject of renewed interest since the passing of her former husband, Eddie Van Halen.



Ice-T
NDZ/Star Max/Getty

Ice-T

Born: 1958

Ice-T rose to initial fame as a rapper but would go on to appear in everything from “New Jack City” to “Law & Order” to voiceover work and reality TV (“Ice Loves Coco”). He’s also become quite the in-demand commercial spokesperson, appearing in spots for everything from Geico insurance to CarShield auto protection, Tide detergent to Honey Nut Cheerios, an ad in which he leads a team of speed walkers through their paces.

Steven Spielberg
Kevin Winter /Getty

Steven Spielberg

Born: 1946

Steven Spielberg made his name as a director in “E.T. the Extra Terrestrial,” “Jurassic Park,” “Jaws,” “Saving Private Ryan,” and “Schindler’s List,” to name a few of his 30-plus works. Most recently he was nominated for an Oscar in support of his latest, the 2021 remake of “West Side Story” — and has nearly a dozen projects that have been announced for the next few years.


Bill Murray
Arturo Holmes/Getty

Bill Murray

Born: 1950

Bill Murray left “SNL” for iconic roles in “Caddyshack,” “Meatballs,” “Ghostbusters,” “Stripes,” and“Groundhog Day.” He’s had a lengthy career as an actor, comedian, writer, producer and even lounge singer. He recently starred in longtime collaborator Wes Anderson’s most recent effort, “The French Dispatch” and his appearance, complete with beret, at the recent Academy Awards show to pay tribute to the late filmmaker Ivan Reitman was yet another showstopper.

Sandra Bullock
Dave J Hogan/Getty

Sandra Bullock

Born: 1964

“The Lost City” and “Bird Box” have continued to make Bullock a relevant name in Hollywood. Best known for hits ranging from “Speed” to “The Blind Side” (which earned her an Academy Award), she had another moment with “Ocean’s 8” in 2018. 

Liam Neeson
Lars Niki /Getty

Liam Neeson

Born: 1952

Winning an Academy Award for best actor in 1994 for “Schindler’s List” was a milestone in the enduring career of Liam Neeson, the actor from Northern Ireland who’s found success in everything from “Love, Actually” to “Darkman.” Neeson (the current cover story subject of AARP magazine) has found renewed success in a series of action films such as “Taken” and “The Commuter,” while still hitting the emotional heart of things with art-house efforts such as “Ordinary Love.”


Suzanne Somers
Jamie McCarthy/Getty

Suzanne Somers

Born: 1946

Forever associated with her portrayal of the pretty-but-dumb Chrissy Snow on “Three’s Company,” Suzanne Somers was a 1970s icon. She’d go on to other acting work such as “Step by Step” — as well as a Playboy photo shoot — but she also sings, promotes healthy eating and exercise (hello, ThighMaster) and writes. She’s lately been attracting attention for her social-media (twinning with her granddaughter in short shorts was a particularly popular post) and was featured on “Million Dollar Listings Los Angeles” showcasing her Palm Springs property.


Related: Celebrity Fitness Gurus We Can’t Forget

Kevin Winter
Kevin Winter /Getty

Martin Short

Born: 1950

The veteran Canadian-American comedian, actor, singer, and writer was part of “SCTV” and “Saturday Night Live,” movies such as “Father of the Bride” and “Three Amigos” and now, he’s starring in Hulu’s “Only Murders in the Building,” which returns in late June. And he’s been tapped for a TV commercial, explaining the benefits of SingleCare, a money-saving plan for prescriptions. That is success.


Marie Osmond
Donald Kravitz/Getty

Marie Osmond

Born: 1959

She’s still a little bit country, but Marie Osmond parlayed her popularity as a 1970s singer (“Paper Roses”) and the lone sister in the entertainment family The Osmonds into much more. She’s been an actress, talk show host and panelist, producer, diet spokesperson, author, philanthropist and more. Recently she was on “Good Morning America” talking about both her latest record release and her roles as actress and producer on a Lifetime holiday movie. She has concert dates coming up, too.

Sean Penn
Rodin Eckenroth/Getty

Sean Penn

Born: 1960

Sean Penn may be forever associated with his beloved surfer-dude character from “Fast Times At Ridgemont High,” but the actor, director, screenwriter, and producer has racked up decades of credits since then. Recently “Flag Day” paired him up with real-life daughter Dylan was followed by a role in the art-house hit “Licorice Pizza.” He’s also a longtime activist (he’s gone to Ukraine to film a documentary).


Ted Danson
Rodin Eckenroth /Getty

Ted Danson

Born: 1947

Ted Danson will forever be associated with Sam Malone, the character he memorably played on “Cheers” for a decade starting in 1982. He also starred in the “Three Men and a Baby” films and has continued to star in a number of TV shows, such as “The Good Place. He is currently starring in “Mr. Mayor.” A longtime activist, Danson is also involved in ocean conservation.


Billy Joel
Rick Kern/Getty

Billy Joel

Born: 1949

Billy Joel, the singer/songwriter/pianist known as the Piano Man, started releasing music in the early 1970s. Though his last studio LP was in 2001 (we’re not counting his recent Christmas effort), Joel continues to sell out shows — and play the hits. He is playing his 80th monthly show at Madison Square Garden in New York City, an unprecedented run.

Don Johnson
Frazer Harrison/Getty

Don Johnson

Born: 1949

Don Johnson’s come a long way from his days starring as Sonny Crockett on “Miami Vice.”. He’s appeared in roles as diverse as those in “Django Unchained” to “Knives Out.” Currently he has a role on the NBC series “Kenan.” Many younger viewers may also know him as the father of actress Dakota Johnson (“Fifty Shades of Grey”).  


Bobby Flay
Denise Truscello/Getty

Bobby Flay

Born: 1964

The famed celebrity chef, restaurateur and television personality was one of the fresh-faced chefs who became nationally known thanks to food-themed television, spearheaded by the 1993 launch of the Food Network. Flay has been a mainstay as the guy so many love to challenge (“Beat Bobby Flay”). But the master of the grill’s enduring importance to the genre was cemented this past fall when he re-signed with the Food Network for a lucrative three-year deal.