Is there a shortage of black male actors over 70?
Last week I blogged about the slim job opportunities for black actresses (or maybe I should be P.C. and say "female actors").
I'm watching Law & Order SVU, and there was a middle-aged black man playing a Catholic priest. The storyline establishes that he was an Episcopal minister before change denominations and was able to stay married. But in the next scene when they showed his wife, she looked like - well, his mother. I don't know the actor's name who played the priest, but I'd put his age at somewhere in his 50s. His wife is played by Cicely Tyson, who clearly appears to be in her mid 70s.
Come on, people. Is this supposed to fly? It is very rare for a woman to be that much older than her husband (and there's usually money involved). Just because the actor playing the husband has gray in his beard - certainly not uncommon for any man over 45 - doesn't make him look like a senior citizen.
In a similar vein, I enjoy watching the CBS drama Cold Case, and when they do a storyline featuring a crime from the World War II years or before and the present-day characters look much too young I overlook it, because, let's face it, there's not a lot of 90-ish actors around (maybe they should give Ernest Borgnine a call - he's 92, and I just saw him on an episode of ER). But this is ridiculous. I don't believe for one minute they they couldn't find one actor closer to Cicely Tyson's age. Thank God they didn't have any love scenes; I think that would make me lose my dinner.
It occurs to me that I might be on the wrong track, that the producers may have felt that Ms. Tyson could pass for a woman in her 50s, kind of a reverse Miss Jane Pittman. Or maybe they just wanted her; getting an actress of Ms. Tyson's stature is a coup for any network show. Well, let this woman in her 50s be the first to say that I don't buy it. I'm glad to see Ms. Tyson still active. But next time, give her a part that calls for a character who's at least 65.