It was recently announced that Mick Jagger was about to sire his eighth child. Provided that he and baby both survive, this will make the Rolling Stone a new dad at 73. This news got me searching for other famous elderly fathers, and I found many lists citing men over 50. Pshaw! Here is the definitive list of history's very oldest celebrity dads. If you can name any more examples (age 73 and up, please), drop me a line on my Contact page.
- Charlie Chaplin, 73. Chaplin was notorious for pursuing younger women – often teenagers. His fourth wife Oona, daughter of playwright Eugene O'Neill, had just turned 18 when they wed. (Chaplin was 54; your "eww" has been duly noted.) Their prolific marriage resulted in eight children: Christopher, their last, was born in 1962. Chaplin père died at 88.
- Strom Thurmond, 73. The South Carolina Senator, who once ran for office on openly racist policies even though he had secretly fathered a child with a black woman when he was 22, had four children with his second wife Nancy, whom he married when she was 22 and he 66. Their youngest, Paul, who would seek a career in South Carolina politics himself, was born in 1976. Thurmond the elder lived to be 100.
- Andrés Segovia, 77. Arguably the most influential classical guitarist of all time, Segovia was born in Spain in 1893 and sired a son, Carlos, in 1970. Carlos has since become an accomplished historian.
- Tony Randall, 78. The tidiest man in show business was faithfully married to his wife Florence from 1938 until her death in 1992. Yet they never had children. So perhaps a legacy was on Randall's mind when he married his second wife Heather in 1995. Legacy or maybe just lust: Heather was fifty years his junior. They had two children back to back; Jefferson, their second, was born six years before Randall's death.
- James Doohan, 80. Star Trek's original "Scotty" had daughter Sarah with Wende, his wife of 26 years, in 2000. (He died five years later.) If you're wondering how this woman could conceive a child after 26 years of marriage, it's because she and Doohan pulled a Charlie-and-Oona, marrying when she was 18 and he 54.
- Anthony Quinn, 81. The half-Mexican, half-Irish actor was known for his virility, which he proved to the world yet again when, less than five years before his death at 86, he fathered his twelfth(!) child, Ryan.
- Saul Bellow, 84. The Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-winning writer and his fifth wife Janis welcomed daughter Naomi into the world in late 1999. Bellow left that same world in 2005.
- Edwin Edwards, 85. The onetime Governor of Louisiana, who went to jail for bribery (not unusual for Louisiana politicians) after his fourth term, became the proud papa of son Eli in 2013. Edwards' wife (and former prison pen pal) Trina was 34 at the time.
- Ernest Lehman, 86. While there have been older fathers – Julio Iglesias' padre was dead at 90 when his fourth and final child was born – none are quite as famous as Ernest Lehman. Granted, Lehman himself is hardly a household name, but he was a successful Hollywood screenwriter who wrote North by Northwest and many other classics, including West Side Story, The Sound of Music, The King and I, Sabrina, and Sweet Smell of Success. Lehman's son Jonathan was born in 2002; Lehman died three years later at 89.