If you’re an actress, you already know you face a discriminatory dead zone between the ages of 30-60 years old in the movies and on television.  Some actresses, who truly care about their craft, turn to the live stage to help fill that 30-year career void.

The Hollywood discrimination against actresses goes something like this, “Nobody wants to see a regular woman.  Audiences want to watch teenagers and old women.  Anything in-between is too ordinary.”

That attitude means thousands of young actresses are tossed away as soon as they enter their late 20s.  If they’re lucky and well-trained, they might be able to make a comeback when they’re 60 to play crazy aunts and grandmothers — but that sort of decades-on-hold of a career kills many more actresses than it salvages.

There are always exceptions — Meryl Streep is now 60 and she’s worked a much over the last 30 years as she wished to — but few actresses have Streep’s staying power.

The lucky and the prescient actresses turn to the theatre as a refuge during their 30-year ostracism, but the pay is never as good as the movies, and your audiences dwindle the farther you move away from Los Angeles and New York.

Men between the ages of 30-60 have no trouble finding acting jobs.  The industry appears to believe actors “age better” on screen than women do
— and that makes for some strange romantic relationships where a 50-year-old star is shooting make out scenes with an actress entering her twenties — and that imbalance of perception versus reality is one way how Hollywood, and its inbred prejudices, ruin American social mores and values.

9 Comments

  1. It’s sad that things are like that in America. Watching British soaps and Indian films informs me that the situation is quite different there! Women of all ages getting all sorts of parts.

  2. I’m afraid it’s the same in Indian movie industry…it’s actually even bizarre…if/ once an actress is married and takes a break for couple of years – she is gone…finished. The audience just can’t accept her back.
    Two glaring examples:
    The following link is a dance clip from a Madhuri come-back movie. She got married, took a break for couple of years and then tried coming back. The audience just rejected the once heart-throb.


    We lost Kajol, one of the most powerful actresses of our time after she got married. She reappeared in a couple of movies but not in the lead-role. I am eagerly waiting for the following movie just because of her – though the story line sounds extremely predictable…


    There is no chance to get another DDLJ from this actress which would break all the records all over…


    Seeing the aged actresses in a lead role is a far cry here…no one will take a chance to focus on her…on the contrary, aged men would never find it difficult to get lead roles…in fact, a script might only be written keeping a particular aged male actor in mind.


    This movie wouldn’t have made without Amitabh Bachchan…by the way — though I liked the movie – at least the first half…but I know this script was written keeping Amitabh Bachchan in mind.

  3. I beg to differ Gordon, Indian audience is even more merciless…you won’t be able to find a Angelina Jolie or Meryl Streep….at the most we will put her on a pedestal…remember Dimple Kapadia in Dil Chahta Hai? We just lost her after that.

  4. It’s too bad — it seems like in India once a woman is married — she is tainted for screen audiences. You can have pregnant and married actresses remain screen icons in the USA… until, that is… they hit the magic age of 30.

  5. I know David, it’s strange…when Madhuri left she was 35+ and her so-called last movie was one of her biggest hits, she tried for a come-back after 7 years…but no luck… where as when Kajol left she was at the most 25/26…
    Strangely enough, Dimple Kapadia got married at 16, after her first block-buster, had a successful comeback after 14 years for say 5+ years but she was divorced then. Indian cinema couldn’t handle her elegance after a certain period. Sad.