Retirement at 65 is ridiculous. When I was 65 I still had pimples
Comedian George Burns was as famous for the fat cigars he smoked, as he was for his one-liners.
“If I’d taken my doctor’s advice and quit smoking when he advised me to, I wouldn’t have lived to go to his funeral,” he famously quipped.
George probably outlived more than one of his doctors. When he reached his 90s, he announced he’d booked to play a gig at the London Palladium on his 100th birthday.
He’d already worked on his opening line: “It's nice to be here. When you're 100 years old, it's nice to be anywhere.”
“If you live to be one hundred, you've got it made,” he once joked.
“Very few people die past that age.”
After a fall at the age of 98 left him frail, George was unable to fulfill his commitments, although the comedy legend – whose showbusiness career spanned 93 years – did make it to 100.
Born Nathan Birnbaum in 1896, George began his comedy career as a child, on stage in vaudeville.
He was famed for his long running double act with his wife Grace Allen, a partnership renowned for their famous parting exchange: “Say goodnight, Gracie.”
George and Gracie had one of the most enduring marriages in showbusiness – tying the knot in 1926 and remaining devoted until her death in 1964.
In later life, almost all of Burn’s jokes focused on his old age: “You know you're getting old when you stoop to tie your shoelaces and wonder what else you could do while you're down there,” he quipped.
Burns’ positive attitude and humour were an inspiration to many.
“I don't believe in dying,” he said.
“It's been done. I'm working on a new exit.”