A Wrinkle in Time
White: I love that age has its privileges. You've seen enough to be interested in many different things and make time for them. You can't do that as a youngster because you're so into yourself.
Curtis: I'm blessed with good health and have more energy than a 14-year-old. But I'm just now starting to feel my age and the beginning of limitations. I play tennis with someone 10 years younger, and I'm noticing it. It's not a big deal, but it's an adjustment.
Bell: I'm in a peculiar position because I believe I'm the only woman in Hollywood trying to age up. I've always been small, and I have a high-pitched voice and youthful face. Personally, I feel that life is like cheese: It just gets better with age. Some of the greatest women I know, two of whom are present, have aged so gracefully and have the smartest things to say.
White: The less you worry about it, the less you think about it. There was a period when you were considered over the hill if you were older than 14. Everybody says to me, "We're so glad you're back." But I've been working for 63 years! Many of the fans grew up with me, and their moms and dads — and in some cases their grandmothers and grandfathers — grew up with me, so I'm sort of a fixture.
Good Genes and Bad Plastic Surgery
Curtis: There's a reason why there is only one Betty White. [Speaking to Betty] You've navigated this magnificently and had good health and fantastic opportunities, and you've knocked them out of the ballpark. There are people who, when you see them on the screen, there's an audible gasp of "Oh my God." They look terrible — or they've done something to themselves and now look like freaks. Then there are people who age beautifully. There is one Meryl Streep and one Sigourney Weaver. But I could name 30 other actresses in their [age] groups who aren't working today. Me, I'm getting my ass out of this business in a few years because genetically it's not going to work for me. And I'm not saying this so you guys say, "Oh, you're so pretty." I'm talking about aging and genetics.
White: I wish you would take your shirt off. This one [ pointing to Curtis] has arms.
Bell: You have a hot body and everybody knows it.
Curtis: [Pointing to White] She's 88 and hotter in Hollywood than anyone I know except maybe Justin Bieber!
Bell: Why are we all playing this gigantic game trying to be who we were five years ago?
Curtis: Because everybody is saying that to get jobs you have to dye your hair and get injectables. It's a conspiracy, a complete catastrophe, a surgical-industrial complex. Somehow we are being fed this belief that to continue on we have to do this. Yet people are being disfigured. It's shocking what people are doing to their faces.
Matches Made in Heaven
White: Allen [Ludden, the famous game-show host, who died of cancer in 1981] and I missed our 18th anniversary by three days. We were doing summer stock together, and every morning he would ask me to marry him. I'd been divorced twice and didn't want to marry again. He bought me a beautiful ring, and I threw it back at him, so he wore it on a chain around his neck. Damn wedding ring! He said, "I'm going to wear it till you put in it on your finger." He was a good salesman. The secret to our marriage was enthusiasm. His intelligence and sense of humor got to me. It sounds like a cliché, but my advice to Kristen [engaged to actor Dax Shepard, who stars in the television comedy Parenthood] is never take each other for granted. When I knew Allen was coming home, I would freshen my makeup, put on a new blouse. He would call from where he was and ask me out on a date. Sometimes that meant pick up a chicken, and we'd put some records on and dance. That was our date — silly, but it kept the freshness in the relationship.
Bell: It's interesting that a sense of humor appealed to all of us in our mates.
Curtis: The secret is evolution. If you're lucky, you evolve simultaneously. Chris and I are in different jobs now than when we got married. He wasn't a director; he was an actor. I wasn't a writer; I was an actor. We supported each other when we made changes, even when there weren't financial rewards. There were times I led, and times Chris led, but the disparity never felt like one of us had moved beyond the other. My husband and I are very different and have always been. Now with our 14-year-old son, Thomas [their daughter, Annie, is 23], getting some independence, we have free time. So what do we do? I play tennis. He golfs and sails. We need to find something to do together!