Not bad for a 197-year old blind
"What we have here, [Moist] told himself, is a Mk1 Feisty Old Lady: Turkey neck, embarrassing sense of humour, a gleeful pleasure in mild cruelty, direct ways of speaking that flirts with rudeness and, more importantly, also flirts with flirting. Likes to think she's no 'lady'. Game for anything that doesn't carry the risk of falling over and with a look in her eye that says 'I can do what I like, because I am old. And I have a soft spot for rascals.' Old ladies like that were hard to fool, but there was no need to.
Much like its Spear Counterpart
the Cool Old Guy
, the Cool Old Lady is a character, much older than the main cast, but for whatever reason they become deeply attached to her. She can be a "hip" grandma that rollerblades, bungee jumps, can speak the teenage slang without it coming across as Totally Radical
, an Apron Matron
who's gruff but caring, or a Cloudcuckoo Lander
who is a joy to have around. Or she could be a kindly old lady who obviously led a very rich life
(when she was younger, she bungee jumped, rode a motorcycle, knows the teenage slang of her era but doesn't dare try to incorporate it into her current speech) and regales the cast with saucy stories of her escapades. The fact that she's survived
doing all that and lived
to that age tells you that you should Never Mess with Granny
If the grandma did all the cool stuff in the past, expect her to be low on the Sorting Algorithm of Mortality
; on more dramatic shows, she will die by episode's/story arc's end. Often, she is helping all her new younger friends come to terms with their
grief rather while being rather at peace with it herself because she "led a good life."
See also My Grandma Can Do Better Than You
: For when Grandma is not so cool, and this fact is used to insult someone else by implying they are even worse.
Compare Mrs. Claus
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Anime & Manga
- Dola, from the Hayao Miyazaki movie Castle in the Sky, is both cool and incredibly badass... even though she has about 10 adult sons.
- On the subject of Miyazaki, there's Sophie (while under the Witch of the Waste's curse) from Howl's Moving Castle.
- Pinako Rockbell, Winry's grandmother from Fullmetal Alchemist.
- Sumire Ryuzaki, the Seigaku coach from The Prince of Tennis.
- Megabaa from Dennou Coil. Hacks the local equivalent of the web, deals in banned software, and can shoot digital beams from her forehead.
- Torogai from Seirei no Moribito
- Genkai from YuYu Hakusho.
- Granny Chiyo and Tsunade (although Tsunade makes herself look young) from Naruto; one is a counsellor revered in her village, while the other is the Hokage, leader of Konoha. Both have fought Akatsuki to a standstill.
- Maico Kato, one of the Card Professors from Yu-Gi-Oh! R (not to mention one with the skill and nerve to give even Yugi a challenge). Also counts as a Handicapped Badass, seeing as she's wheelchair-bound, her Duel Disk being built into her chair.
- One Piece has a few:
- Doctor Kureha
- Vice-Admiral Tsuru
- Amazon Lily's Elder Nyon
- Shakky, who is older than she looks.
- Sakae Jinnouchi from Summer Wars.
- Moto Asagi from Brigadoon: Marin and Melan is very wise and very generous. She adopted a foundling to replace her own lost child, and she cares for an alien robot like he was a member of the family.
- Kaoruko Hanasaki from HeartCatch Pretty Cure!, who used to be Cure Flower and is usually there to explain Pretty Cure things to her granddaughter and the other Cures.
- Armed Librarians: The Book of Bantorra has Ireia Kitty, a heavy-set old lady who can kick some serious ass.
- Rui in Free Soul.
- Grandma Hina from Love Hina. She spends most of the series traveling around the world on vacation, but the few times that she does show up, all the tenants stand at attention, absolutely amazed by how cunning and on the ball she is when it comes to making sure things get done. She even sets up a plan to get Keitaro into a bit of trouble.. The other girls were reluctant to do it. There's a reason (unexplained as it may be) why she's known as "The Demon of Hinata".
- Gangsta: Big Mama Georgiana, Madame of the brothel Pussy as well as a major member of the Corsica family. She's even kind to Nic.
- Otoyomegatari: The male lead's grandmother, Balkirsh, is capable of driving off hostile visitors with a bow and riding a mountain goat up a nearly-vertical cliff to rescue a child.
- Spiderman: Aunt May, during the Civil War when everyone knew who Peter Parker was and was out to get him, became a downright Bad Ass old lady, even going so far as to appear clueless when the Chameleon impersonated Peter while simultaneously tricking him into thinking he'd been poisoned with cookies full of sleeping pills and knitting a sweater with the word "GOTCHA" in big letters the whole time.
- When Wolverine complains about letting Jarvis have the morning off (with May picking up the slack making breakfast), May grabs his cigar from his hand and extinguishes it in his beer. Wolverine just stares at her for a couple of seconds, then announces he's just going to get doughnuts.
- Ultimate Aunt May is quite the proverbial badass as well, so much so that not even J. Jonah Jameson will cross her.
- Don't forget the time she beat Galactus. Yes, really.◊
- Grandma "Rose" Ben, from Bone.
- Safa, the gruff, one-eyed old lioness from Pride of Baghdad.
- Of course, Blind Al from Deadpool. A witty disabled octogenarian who scares Girl Scouts for a hobby and can hold her own with one of the most dangerous people on the planet? I wanna be her when I grow up.
- Mrs. Anne-Marie Hoag, founder and first director of Damage Control. She hobnobs with Tony Stark, stands up to The Kingpin, beats the living hell out of muggers, has survived multiple hostile takeovers and is best friends with Nick Fury.
- Edith Manning, one of The Invisibles.
- Dennis The Menace's granny from The Beano.
- If villains count, Granny Goodness should be mentioned here. She may be Darkseid's sadistic Torture Technician, but she's cool as hell.
Film - Animation
Film - Live Action
- Dame Judi Dench, the third M after Bernard Lee and Robert Brown in the James Bond series.
- Napoleon's Grandmother from Napoleon Dynamite, she sneaks off from "baby-sitting" her grown (late-teens/late twenties or early thirties) grand-children to ride sand dunes on a quad-bike with her friends. Interesting because her grandsons have no idea and are shy and reclusive by nature.
- This gets carried over into the animated series where she's keenly aware that being an old lady grants her permission to say any offensive thing she likes and people will just think she's being a "character".
- Ruriko, aka Bloody Benton, from Sukiyaki Western Django.
- Maude in Harold and Maude.
- The medium in Insidious.
- Maggie's grandma from The Last Starfighter
- Lady Fingers, the female (in the 1930s, no less) poker ace in The Cincinnati Kid.
- The Debt: Although younger than many of the other examples, Rachel (played by Helen Mirren in the American version), in her fifties, is very old for the sort of spy work she's doing.
- Mrs. Henderson in Norbit becomes this towards the end in taking part in the town's revolt against the Latimores, even if she proves to be no match as well.
Live Action TV
- "The Little Old Lady from Pasadena" by Jan And Dean. Why is she cool? Because, "parked in her rickety old garage is a brand new shiny red Super Stock Dodge."
- Meet Ruth Flowers, aka "Mammy Rock, world's oldest DJ.
- The old lady in the audio samples of Oasis's "Fuckin' in the Bushes." The song contains several samples from Message to Love of contemporary reactions to the Isle of Wight music festival, Britain's version of Woodstock. The old lady enthusiastically supports the festival, saying, "I love it! Room for everybody here. Yes, all are welcome. Yes, indeed. I love them! Fun! Nice! Life! Youth! Beautiful! I'm all for it!"
- Jon's grandma rarely makes an appearance - but when she does, it's usually by driving through the wall on her motorcycle.
- Jon's elderly Aunt Gussie, who was discharged from the Navy for unnecessary roughness.
- Pansy Yokum from Li'l Abner, who can fell a cougar with one punch, smokes a corn pipe, and dispenses sage advice to the rest of the village.
- Mary Worth is apparently meant to be portrayed as one, but she usually just comes off as a naggy moral guardian.
- The Middletons has "Gunny Granny", a retired Marine Corps gunnery sergeant with a black belt in martial arts and a love of tackle football (which she coaches).
- Andy's mother in FoxTrot. She seems to excel at everything; among other things, she's such a great cook that Martha Stewart herself is trying to buy one of her recipes, she can match Jason in math skills, shares Paige's love for modern fashion, is just as knowledgeable in sports as Peter, and an article in The New York Times says she's "perfect". Unfortunately, Andy herself has "issues" with her due to feeling inadequate when she's around; her worst case of being a Lethal Chef came from trying to outdo her on Thanksgving. (And as fate would have it, her mother told her that she had gone through the same thing with her mother.)
- Many elder female exalts embody that trope in Tabletop Games/Exalted. A special mention goes to Mnemon. She is the eldest surviving child of the Empress and although she is in the late of her life, she remains one of the most powerful sorceress in Creation, arguably the most powerful individual Dragon-Blooded alive now that the Empress is gone, a skilled politician and manipulator, the head of a Great House, and an extremely clever and cunning person all around. It is hinted many times that there are not many things in the Realm she could not do if she wanted to, including seizing the scarlet throne, but that so many people hate her, oppose her or are shitless scared of her that it would likely drive the Realm to civil war if she did so.
- Madame Leonora Armfeldt from A Little Night Music has numbered kings among her lovers, takes no shit from her grown daughter, and has accumulated a great amount of wealth and snarky wit over the years, both of which she shares with her granddaughter Fredrika. She's the one character who seems to always know what she's doing.
- Berthe, the title character's grandmother in Pippin, gets a great song about enjoying life while you can. It's her only scene, but damn is it awesome.
- Mildred Z. Maxwell in Done To Death.
- EVA "Big Mama" of Metal Gear Solid 4: Even at age 78 she still rides her motorbike like hell and leads her own private army from the front. And she's the only known person who did Big Boss.
- Niime from Fire Emblem 6.
- Kreia, from Knights of the Old Republic II. Though a bit more evil and bitter than most on this list.
- Ravel Puzzlewell from Planescape: Torment is kind of like this too, although her "other faces", especially Mebbeth is more straight example.
- In the video game version of The Darkness, one of your main contacts is a your 'auntie', a dear old lady who became involved with the Mafia when she fell in love with a young 'Don'. Eventually, her resistance against the current Don, 'Uncle Paulie' becomes too obvious for him to ignore, and he sends a horde of gun-tooting mooks after her. While you are expected to do most of the killing, she's no slouch either, juggling a Hand Cannon with one hand while supporting herself on a cane with the other.
- Valkyria Chronicles has two. Eleanor Varrot the Militia captain that your squad reports to and Rosie who in her late twenties is significantly older than most of the militia members and is something of a role-model to the younger ones.
- Impa, from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Her incarnations in other games are this, as well.
- Wynne, resident Badass Grandma of Dragon Age: Origins, is a kindly old woman who appoints herself Team Mom... and is one of the most powerful mages in the land, who survived a disastrous battle and demon onslaught before joining the party.
- Especially true if you give her the Arcane Warrior specialization and develop her spell list in the areas of Fireball.
- And unfortunately subverted if your actions turn her against the party (you have to make some really evil choices for that to happen): Wynne becomes a laughably easy enemy to dispatch.
- From Mass Effect 2: Matriarch Aethyta, the bartender on Ilium, who is about a millennium old, extremely dirty, and just full of interesting stories. Usually matriarchs serve as honored advisors back on the Asari homeworld. Nobody listened to Aethyta's advice (apparently they "laughed the blue off her ass"), so she left. It's too bad, because the advice (like designing their own mass relays) was remarkably good in hindsight. It also turns out she's Liara's father.
- Also Dr. Chakwas, particularly after a little Serrice Ice Brandy.
- Samara, to some degree. Rather than settle down in her older years, she instead dedicates her life to bringing justice to the galaxy and hunting down her sociopathic murdering daughter. Despite this and her powerful biotics, she's a very peaceful person, never showing even the slightest hint of being angry or unsettled.
- Not a straight example, but Pokémon Colosseum has a trainer class called 'Fun Old Lady'.
- Any of the trainer classes depicted as old ladies are examples of this. Special mention goes to Agatha, Bertha and Drasna, who are all members of the Elite Four. (Drasna even uses Dragon types, to boot!)
- The Player Character Tiger Bai from Tradewinds Legends.
- Unei from Final Fantasy III qualifies.
- Obaba from Golden Sun: The Lost Age takes time out from nagging her grandson and cooing over her great grandson to pick a fight with the player characters on behalf of her family... and then she finds out that our heroes were in the right, apologizes for the inconvenience (because she can tell her giant seemingly-invincible fire salamander only inconvenienced them), and helps them reforge a legendary artifact. She returns to help you more in Dark Dawn, this time waxing Genre Savvy to her great grandson and then taking over Item Crafting... in a darkened city menaced by superpowered monsters, which she refused to evacuate with everybody else. Forget Too Cool to Live, this lady's just too Crazy Awesome to die!
- In A Witchs Tale, Babayaga helps Liddell out, gives her advice, and sells potions and items.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has Granny Smith. While she doesn't get much screen time, and has definitely seen better days both mentally and physically, she still plays along with hyperactive foals well, and was apparently quite the Bad Ass in her youth; in "Family Appreciation Day", she relates how she ventured into the Everfree Forest to find Sweet Apple Acres' famous Zap Apples and how, thanks to those apples, the town of Ponyville grew around her family's farm.
- Kim Possible's Nana started as an overprotective granny, until she started kicking Kim's ass in Kung Fu.
- Arnold's Grandma Gertie in Hey Arnold!!.
- Madame Foster, founder of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends.
- Rock's mother on My Dad The Rock Star presents as a sweet little old lady but is really a hard-rockin' biker chick when she can get away with it.
- Samantha's grandmother on Danny Phantom thinks her parents are a little hard on her, so she lets the girl out when they've grounded her and is usually the first to defend her actions, having been a non-conformist herself during her youth.
- Nana Wu from Three Delivery.
- Suga Mama from The Proud Family, a sassy black version of this trope. She even wrestled professional wrestlers.
- Yan Lin in W.I.T.C.H., a former guardian who helps the girls get accustomed to their powers.
- Slappy Squirrel from Animaniacs alternates between this and a Grumpy Old Lady, depending on her mood.
- Torhu's ruff and ready mom from Jackie Chan Adventures.
- The eponymous Triplets of Belleville, ex-vaudeville stars still doing their thing on stage. Also Madame Souza, who is possibly the only Implacable Grandma.
- Miss Lilly from Millionaire Dogs. She often rides around on a motorcycle for fun.
- The Simpsons: Homer Simpson's mother, especially in contrast with Homer's father. She's a hippie, educated and cultured, and she bonds with her grandchildren, especially book-smart Lisa who finally feels she is a Simpson.
- Angela Anaconda's grandmother. She's so wild even Angela is unnerved by her...and it's implied that this is Angela's future.
- Rosey from The Jetsons can be seen as a robot version of this trope, especially in her debut episode where she plays football with Elroy and helps Judy do her homework. And clobbers Mr. Spacely with an Upside-down cake.
- Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers had a fondness for this trope, starting with village shaman Mistwalker, who used her knowledge of the local flora and fauna to make an invading gang of criminals very sorry. Second was Arizona McGee, a blowtorch-wielding sculptor who made statues of giant bugs and cold-cocked a crook half her age. Lastly, there was Ariel, Niko's mentor. A cheerful trickster, she turned the tables on Sealed Evil in a Can several times over, culminating in paraphrasing Sun Tzu and blasting it with all she had.
- Granny May from WordGirl. For one thing, she has a big robotic supersuit...
- Doug's grandmother may have odd taste in fashionable gifts, but she rides a motorcycle (and shows off family photos to a scary, leather-clad biker, who responds in kind), encourages Doug to try sushi, and gives him advice on how to talk to Patti when he's feeling shy. Doug starts out wishing she was more of a Granny Classic, but eventually comes to appreciate her for who she is.
- Miss Finster from Recess.
- Aunt Amy in Daria, a splitting older image of the titular character with a more laid back personality. Understandably, she is the most beloved of Daria's relatives and a fan favourite.
- Archer makes friends with one of these in Placebo Effect, while they're both under treatment for breast cancer.
- The True Master from the Teen Titans episode "The Quest". (In fact, she seems to have been based, at least partially, on Mr. Miagi from The Karate Kid movies, who clearly fit the Cool Old Guy Trope.)
Yes, the Queen makes fart gags.
- Jane Goodall.
- Beatrice Wood, an avant-garde artist at the heart of the Dada movement of the 1910s and 1920s (who also inspired Jeanne Moreau's character in Jules and Jim) continued her artistic career well into the 1990s, branching into new styles as the decades went by, and still created daring work past her 100th birthday.
- Patty Maloney once wrote that children are amazed at someone their size doing adult things: driving a car, wearing makeup and high-heeled shoes, etc.
- Old Grandma Hardcore.
- Helen Mirren is positively made of this trope.
- Judi Dench is also a classic example, as between takes during the filming of one of the Riddick movies, she asked Vin Diesel for some tips on GMing a D&D campaign for her grandchildren.
- Betty White. She's extremely nice in person and super sassy. She honestly doesn't care what people think, but she seems quite humble too. Seriously. She's really oh so damn freakin' incredibly hilarious!!!
- Mother Jones, a union organizer, described as the "grandmother of all agitators" and the "most dangerous woman in America."
- The Raging Grannies: A bunch of 60+ women who dress up outrageously and sing mildly ribald protest songs on street corners to protest government and corporate corruption and waste.
- Ruth Frith: She's 100-years-old and broke a fricking world shot put record! Also trains five days a week, bench-pressing 80lb weights and practising hammer-throw, javelin and shot put.
- Keiko Fukuda. Growing up at a time when women were expected to marry and become housewives, she dedicated her life to the study of judo and rose through the ranks despite the sexism of the judo establishment. She's now 98 years old, the highest-ranked female judoka in history, and still teaching (died 9 Feb 2013).
- Clarissa Dickson Wright and Jennifer Paterson from the 1990s cooking show Two Fat Ladies were Cool Old Gals, especially Jennifer, who was almost literally doing the show till the day she died. Clarissa's an interesting case, as back in the '60s and '70s she had been a rather attractive barrister—the youngest ever, in fact—as well as a depressed alcoholic who claimed to have had sex with an MP behind the Speaker's chair. That she turned out to be...well...Clarissa in middle age was, if surprising to some, hardly unpredictable.
- Tina Turner and Shirley Bassey — both Bad Ass singers, both looking damn good well into their 70s. And Shirley even covered a Pink song... and it worked. There's a reason why the Propellerheads wrote their song "History Repeating" specifically for her to sing.
- During WW2, the Dutch queen, Wilhelmina, was generally regarded as this among the general populace. To quote: "She was the only man amongst a whole bunch of old tarts." (Freely translated)
- Louise Smith, (born 1916), a pleasant South Carolina grandma. Who was also one of the first NASCAR racers...
- Louise "Spider Woman" Bourgeois, the first female artist to get a major retrospective at MOMA.
- The leader of Burma's pro-democracy movement Aung San Suu Kyi.
- Monica Masuda a.k.a. Krazee Grandma, 71 years old and one of Sweden's most famous breakdancers. Started breakdancing at age 61. See attached.
- Maggie Kuhn. Founded the Gray Panthers Movement (an organization that opposes ageism, as well as addressing other social issues that relate to the elderly) after she was forced to retire on her 65th birthday, was an activist for elder rights until her death at age 89, was extremely progressive about sexuality both in her youth in the 30s and 40s as well as in her old age, and lived in a house with a bunch of young people who got rent discounts for doing chores for her and hanging out with her. Now that's a Cool Old Lady.
- Mimi Rosenthal got her first tattoo at 99, and is celebrating each birthday hence with a new one.
- Millvina Dean. She stood up to BBC for "offending" Titanic victims. From her nursing home.
- Aretha Franklin. She ranked #1 on VH1's 100 Greatest Women of Rock and Roll, sang for President Obama... and those are two of the many awesome things she did!
- Stevie Nicks.
- Cesaria Evora, a.k.a the Barefoot Diva, was a very nice 69 year old lady and world-renowned Morna singer, and was not even known by the general public until she was 47.
- The late Maila Nurmi.
- Most of the women from the Dutch series Golden Oldies which is about a choir that consists of people over 70 (some of the eldest women even being in their 90s), singing modern day rock music.
- The also late Celia Cruz. AZÚCAR!!!!!
- Anne Timson, the little old biddy who beat up six sledgehammer-carrying robbers. With a HANDBAG!
- Roza Rymbaeva, a singer who has been active since the 1970s, looks very good for 53, and appreciates◊ a good Spot of Tea.
- The entire Red Hat society. It's like a magnet.
- Diahann Carroll. Apparently a lot of the stories her character June on White Collar mentions were inspired by Carroll's real life.
- Ernestine Shepherd. In the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest female bodybuilder at 75 years old. She can bench press 150 pounds, runs ten miles every morning and didn't even start working out until she was 56.
- Pop singer and dancer Minzy of Korean group 2NE1 said she learned to dance from her grandmother.
- Kathryn Joosten by proxy as she played three of the cool old ladies in the Live Action TV section: Mrs. Landingham, Mrs. McCluskey, and the titular Old Lady in "My Old Lady."
- Madga Olivero, an Italian opera diva who made her Met debut at the age of 65 (in Tosca, mind you) and sang in public well up to her nineties.
- Phyllis Diller. She did voice work on both Family Guy and Robot Chicken in her late eighties.
- Jeanne Calment, who holds the record of the oldest person ever, should get into this from living to 122 alone, but that's only the beginning. She took up fencing at the age of 85, and when she was ninety, a lawyer made her an offer to pay her a small amount under the condition that he could move into her apartment when she died (assuming he could get the place for pennies on the dollar.) Not only did she live another thirty years, getting a small fortune out of him (twice the apartment's actual value,) she ended up outliving him.
- Meet Edith Wilma Connor, the world's oldest female bodybuilder: http://in.news.yahoo.com/oldest-female-bodybuilder-loves-pumping-iron-100458393--sector.html She started training for the first time when she was in her sixties in order to compensate for the vast amounts of time she had to spend sitting down because of the software company she ran with her husband (incidentally, the fact that she's a bodybuilder AND the owner of a software company makes Mrs. Connor a Badass Bookworm and Genius Bruiser). Today she's won several competitions and is in the Guinness Book of World Records. Mrs. Connor also wanted to make sure that her family picked up the habit of staying in shape, and she inspired them to join her. She used to train with her son, and now her grandson acts as her trainer. Her great-granddaughter trains alongside her usually, making them all a Badass Family. One day she was at the gym and a trainer was loading some weights onto the machine for her. The trainer's friend saw the heavy amount of weights and, assuming the trainer was loading them for himself, asked the trainer "Red, can you handle that?" The trainer replied "Oh, it's not for me. It's for her."
- Florence Green former waitress, supercentenarian, last known veteran of WW1.
- Similar to Edith above, Johanna Quaas at the age of 86, keeps herself busy in her retirement practicing and performing tumbling in gymnastics competitions.
- Olivia de Havilland, who played Melanie in Gone with the Wind. One can't get much cooler than being one of the last living leading ladies of The Golden Age of Hollywood. Listen to her talk about her favorite film here.
- Gloria Steinem: Feminist activist, founder of Ms. Magazine, Wonder Woman fan. She's still fighting as hard as she ever did for women's right now into her seventies, and if that isn't enough, thanks to her marriage to David Bale (father of Christian Bale), she is now stepmother to Batman.
- 38-year-old Oksana Chusovitina. Now, 38 isn't old... unless you're talking about women's gymnastics. She won her first world championship in 1991, won an Olympic silver for vault in 2008, and won a silver in worlds as recently as 2011, not to mention competing in six Olympic Games (she's currently going for number seven). For the record, in women's gymnastics, being a two-time Olympian is uncommon, and being a three-time Olympian is nearly unheard-of. Oksana Chusovitina had won her first World title before most of her London 2012 competition had even been born. She's not nicknamed "Mama Chuso" for nothing.
- Nina Hartley seems to be on her way to being one of these. She's 54 and still active as a porn star and sex educator.
- June Foray is often called the female Mel Blanc. She's 96 years old and still does the voice of Rocky.
- Annie Nightingale is a rather legendary presenter on BBC's Radio 1 and, as of this writing, is 73 years old. The genre she specializes in? Breakbeats. For example... Just to show how groundbreaking she is, she's been knighted.
- Leni Riefenstahl, the director behind famous Nazi propaganda films such as Triumph of the Will. Her Nazi past aside, she was an active scuba diver and underwater photographer well into her 90s and walked out of a helicopter crash alive at the age of 97.