Hollywood Stars and the Passing of Time

Hollywood Stars and the Passing of Time

Richard Hollerman

Many are under the mistaken impression that movie celebrities from Hollywood are the most attractive people in the world. They pursue bits of information, go to their movies at the mall, read of them in the tabloids, and see interviews of them on TV. There is something fascinating about these entertainers of the silver screen!

Think of the Hollywood stars of the past. Where are they now? What happened to them? Where is Marilyn Monroe? This popular, attractive, and lustful actress committed suicide. Where is Jane Mansfield? This is what we read online:

[She] was an American actress in film, theatre, and television. She was also a nightclub entertainer, a singer, and one of the early Playboy Playmates. She was a major Hollywood sex symbol of the 1950s and early 1960s and 20th Century Fox’s alternative to Marilyn Monroe who came to be known as the “Working Man’s Monroe”. She was also known for her well-publicized personal life and publicity stunts, such as wardrobe malfunctions. She was one of Hollywood’s original blonde bombshells. . . . (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Jayne_Mansfield)

But what ever happened to her?  She was the first to play the part in a movie in which she appeared nude. Then, in 1967, Mansfield died in a tragic car accident at the young age 34. The woman who tantalized the lusts of a generation was gone!

Let’s not forget Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Burt Lancaster, Gregory Peck, Bing Crosby, and a host of other men who exalted themselves and attracted millions of women followers. They are gone.  John Wayne starred in 142 movies and developed lung cancer after smoking six packs of cigarettes a day! Finally, he died of stomach cancer in 1979.  Shortly before his death, Wayne converted to Catholicism, apparently vainly hoping that this would assure his eternal salvation (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ John_Wayne#Death). But make no mistake—Wayne is dead.

Recently, I noticed an interesting piece on the MSN website entitled, “Actors of the ’70s: Then and Now.” These living stars of some 40 years ago (about 35 to 45 years), were pictured by means of online slides (msn.com/en-us/ movies/gallery/actors- of-the-70s-then-and- now/ss-BBjR w89). These individuals are still living, of course, but they are a shadow of their former selves. Once they were young and vibrant, attractive in physical appearance, with stylish hair and flawless skin, but today they are nothing special. If one saw them walking down the street or checking out at Walmart, they would probably not even attract attention! They are ordinary people, for the most part. And they are old! It is amazing what 40 or 45 years can do!

Included among these older stars were Clint Eastwood, Sean Connery, Burt Reynolds, Jane Fonda, Robert Duvall, Harrison Ford, Michael Douglas, Candice Bergen, Robert Redford, Raquel Welch, and many others. Remember that those stars of the 1930s and 1940s are all gone, and these more recent ones of the 1970s will soon be gone. We can’t halt the passing of time and its deleterious effects on the human body!

As I viewed the before and after photos of these Hollywood personalities, it was easy to see how they had aged. What they were 40 years ago are not what they are now, and what they are now is very different from what they were then. The physical affects of time are obvious. I couldn’t help but be saddened by the degeneration of the human body. Surely their faces would be coupled with degenerated bodies. How sad, how futile, and how real! Look for yourself a few of the photos:

Clint Eastwood at age 85

Burt Reynolds

Robert Redford

Sean Connery

Harrison Ford

Surely you have felt the passing of time yourself. Maybe you are somewhat young, perhaps age 30. Even you must feel the effects of aging. Most people of this age can’t do everything that they used to do at age 16 or 18. Time does that. I’ve heard of people crying when they reach age 30 and especially weeping at age 40! People see their life rapidly passing by and they no longer feel young.

Many teens look forward to age 21, thinking that this will finally bring them to maturity, adulthood, and freedom. But soon, instead of looking forward, they are looking back! Thus, the 40-year-old looks back and those 50-years-old look back to age 15 or 20.  Those who have reached age 60 or 70 conclude that they have attained “old age” but they hate the thought of this. If someone reaches age 80 or 90, they may feel a little satisfaction in having “made it” to old age, but in nearly everyone there is the longing for “the good old days” when they had energy, keenness of mind, a measure of beauty, and life smiled at them.

Just as Solomon reminds us in Ecclesiastes 12:1-8, with age come an abundance of physical limitations and afflictions.  The writer concludes, “Vanity of vanities!” He goes on to lament, “All is vanity!” (v. 8). He also gives wise counsel to young people: “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, ‘I have no delight in them'” (v. 1). He says that the elderly years are “evil days” in which one finds no “delight”! No wonder that King Lemuel said, “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain” (Proverbs 31:30). Maybe this describes you! Even with the great advancements of medical procedures and the eradication of certain communicable diseases, most people in the upper age bracket do have “aches and pains” and end up consuming five, ten, or even twenty medications every day!

Why should we admire the Hollywood star who is the epitome of beauty at age 20? We are aware that these celebrities know that this will not last very long. Soon they will be going to the plastic surgeon to help them retain a bit of their former glory. But this often fails—and it just can’t give them back the physical beauty of their earlier years.

Scripture speaks to all of this. For instance, Paul the apostle wrote, “We do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16). The term “outer man” refers to “a visible, physical being.” And the Greek verb, “is decaying,” is a progressive present, indicating “a steady and irreversible process,” “one already going on” (1, 2 Corinthians: The Randall House Bible Commentary,” p. 313).

In contrast to this outer physical part of our being, the apostle says that “our inner man is being renewed day by day.” In other words, our spiritual person may find daily renewal even though we know that our physical body continues to age and finally die.

If we are fixated on our present physical body that is in the process of degeneration, decay and eventual death, we are foolish indeed! Instead, Paul says that we should do something different. We should concentrate on the inner, spiritual person! He writes, “We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). The “things which are seen” are physical and subject to the ravages of time. In contrast, the things not seen are “eternal” for the inner person will last forever! Each person will go on into eternity! Shouldn’t we focus on this?

Peter reminds us of the frailty of our physical bodies in 1 Peter 1:24-25. He writes,

All flesh is like grass,

And all its glory like the flower of grass,

The grass withers,

And the flower falls off,

But the word of the LORD endures forever.

This should humble us.  Even the Hollywood star should recognize that he is like the frailty of grass. The “glory” of the movie star is “like the flower of grass.” And what happens to the grass and flower?  The grass will wither and the flower will fall off. This speaks to extreme frailty and that which is temporal. The Hollywood personality will not last.  The ones listed online to which I referred earlier are not the beautiful young woman and the handsome young man of yesteryear. Instead, they have seen their better years and their bodies show it! They may have their hand imprint on a Hollywood sidewalk, but still they age and will die!

In light of this, how foolish it is to concentrate our time, money, and attention on our physical body! Regardless of the plastic surgery, and in spite of the nutritional supplements, and regardless of the exercise, everyone will experience a lessening of stamina and a decrease in physical attractiveness. (Sadly, some older folds pile on the cosmetics in a vain attempt to retain their beauty. It simply will not work.) Instead, we should focus our attention on that which is lasting. The inner man or spirit will endure.  The inner person can be transformed into increasing likeness to Christ. We are being “transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

When you see a picture of a Hollywood star on the cover of a popular magazine at the checkout counter in the grocery store or in the daily newspaper, remember that they are merely human beings. They are in the process of aging and soon they will be gone.  As we pointed out, these beautiful bodies will last a mere decade and then they will progressively age and deteriorate. Soon they will be gone!

Let’s focus on the eternal–that which will not pass away and that which will not decay.  Determine now that you won’t be influenced by the vain display of physical beauty. These men and women may be attractive on the inside, but their inner person may be filled with pride, hypocrisy, greed, lust, and worldly achievement. Remember what it is that interests God. Yahweh said to Samuel: “God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). In other words, don’t focus your attention on the external, but on the internal.

Don’t become enraptured by Hollywood personalities. Unless they repent, they will perish! (Luke 3:3). Unless they turn their lives around and renounce their sinful perspectives and lifestyle, they will pass away (1 John 2:15-17). Thanks be to God, we can dwell with our God in transformed bodies and will be like Christ (Philippians 3:21; 1 John 3:1-3). This is the real purpose of life!


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