Choosing the sexiest men on the planet over 50 is no easy task. Just ask the 17 editors and writers (both female and male) who took on the task for AARP The Magazine. After more than 1,000 email exchanges and five conference calls, we came up with our list of 21.
All candidates had to have already turned 50 — and be proud to both admit their age and to have been selected by us. Yes, they needed to simmer sex appeal. But we went beyond the physical and judged for brainpower, sense of humor, individuality, artistic ability, generosity and goodness of heart. Our choices, in no particular order, appear on these seven pages. Alas, we had to leave out many good men, including our 15 runners-up.
Actor and Activist, 51
The guy who jokingly calls himself "The Sexiest Man Still Alive" may well be Hollywood's top human rights activist: In March he was arrested protesting at D.C.'s Sudanese Embassy. Five years ago he testified to Congress about atrocities he'd seen in Darfur. And on an even higher level, Clooney created and bankrolls the Satellite Sentinel Project, which, from space, monitors military movements against civilians. Through it all, Clooney opens doors by brokering his inherent charm, dimpled good looks and sharp humor (when arrested in D.C., he identified himself as Brad Pitt). "George is the real deal," says Tom Andrews of United to End Genocide. "A lot of celebrities have big hearts, but they're limited when it comes to thinking strategically. George is one of the best."
Q: What hunk would you put on our hot list?
A: Javier Bardem. He's got tremendous power of communication.
Q: Do you feel pressure to look younger?
A: No. Well, yes, I'm a little bald, but I don't think the pressure is just a Hollywood thing. It's a social thing.
Q: How do you stay in shape?
A: I work out every morning, and when I'm finished, the first thing I put in my body is white tea. Everything is about balance.
"Denzel's mystique is that he projects self-confidence," says Don Cheadle, Washington's co-star in Flight, to be released this year. "You see his performances and know you're looking at a grounded person." That commitment extends to Washington's personal life (he's been married nearly 29 years) and work as spokesman for Boys & Girls Clubs of America (he joined a Boys Club at age 6). He recently donated $50,000 to a New Mexico BGCA club after learning it might close. In 2010 he refused to do a TV interview about the clubs unless it included the organization's National Youth of the Year. Says BGCA's Frank Sanchez Jr.: "He defers the attention to what's most important, which is the kids."