Jessica Lange has seen it all in Hollywood. What she hasn’t seen are romantic lead roles for older actresses. Males can still land similar parts opposite much younger co-stars. Women face an age barrier, she says in a new interview.
Lange, who broke out in the 1976 film “King Kong,” has had a storied film and television career.
She’s won two Academy Awards, one Tony Award, three Emmy Awards and five Golden Globe Awards among other honors. But as a 68-year-old actress, she says she faces pervasive ageism.
“Ageism is pervasive in this industry. It’s not a level playing field,” she told AARP magazine.
I was just informed that at the age of 43, I am TOO OLD to play the wife of a 57 year old.
— Jamie Denbo (@jamiedenbo) May 4, 2017
“You don’t often see women in their 60s playing romantic leads, yet you will see men in their 60s playing romantic leads with costars who are decades younger.”
Lange won her first Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for the 1982 comedy “Tootsie,” starring Dustin Hoffman. She still has fond memories of the award ceremony.
“‘Tootsie’ turned out to be the best film I ever made. And to win my first Oscar for it was thrilling, not terrifying, the way it might be today,” she said.
“The awards were more casual then. You did your own hair, you did your own make-up. It wasn’t the fashion event of the season.”
Lange was nominated four more times for Oscars for such films as 1982’s “Francis,” “Country” the year after and “Crimes of the Heart,” the year after that.
She won her second Oscar, for Best Actress, for her role in “Blue Sky,” a 1994 drama about a nuclear coverup.
Although she’s toyed with the idea of retiring, Lange says she’s still looking to be “challenged.”
“It’s the desire to do something brave, to be challenged,” she explained.
Hollywood ageism is nothing new and appears unlikely to go away anytime soon.
Earlier this year, Jamie Denbo, who plays Ginsberg on the hit Netflix series “Orange Is the Black,” revealed how she was a victim of Hollywood discrimination.
“I was just informed that at the age of 43, I am TOO OLD to play the wife of a 57-year-old,” Denbo Tweeted.
“The real wife of the 57 year-old actor is EASILY AT LEAST 50. But this fucker wants to be tv married to a 38 year-old -TOPS. . .I am TOO OLD to be the mother of an 18 year-old,” she wrote.