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Cool Old Guy / Live-Action TV

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Cool Old Guys in live-action TV.


  • Dick Clark. He started hosting American Bandstand in 1956 and continued for 33 years until 1989. He also enjoys Bloopers and Practical Jokes, and held court every New Years' Eve on ABC almost until he died. He's known as "America's Oldest Teenager".
  • ESPN's football College GameDay has Lee Corso, whose tradition of announcing his pick for the winner of the day's featured (8:00 Eastern Time) game is done by donning the headgear of the piked team's mascot. This has led to some fairly ridiculous situations, like the time he dressed as a tree and danced around the set to pick Stanford over USC (October 29, 2011). It also usually gets a big response from the people around him: the show is transmitted from the campus of the home team for that day's game, and there is usually a crowd of students and other fans behind the set, so they see his pick, and cheer or boo accordingly.note  Less absurdly, but just as amusingly, he calls everyone "sweetheart".
  • Game Shows:
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    • The Price Is Right: Bob Barker, who remained an icon to many before his retirement at age 83. College kids who were young enough to be his grandchildren pined at the chance to meet him and play a pricing game with the TV legend.
    • Jeopardy!: Alex Trebek (b. 1940) fits the trope and is virtually synonymous with the show. (By comparison, original host Art Fleming was in his mid-50s when he hosted his final Jeopardy!) Trebek gets bonus points for chasing down a burglar and helping catch her.
    • Wheel of Fortune: Pat Sajak (b. 1946) is still going strong, and a majority of today's contestants weren't even born when he took over for Chuck Woolery (also pretty cool in his old age, as Lingo proved) in 1981.


  • As Time Goes By: Rocky, Lionel's octogenarian father, who likes to "boogie" at the Hard Rock Cafe, frequently travels the world on adventures with his new wife Madge, and is constantly encouraging the gang to "Rock on!"
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  • Battlestar Galactica (2003):
  • Evil/Frakken' Sinister Old Guys: John Cavil a wangsty teen with mommy issues in an old man's body, which happens to be modeled on "mommy's" old man, and also slept with "mommy"; Tom Zarek who was probably pretty bad before the Caprica-shattering-kaboom and dared to pull a mutiny on Galactica.
  • Blue Heelers: Tom Croydon has his moments, but special mention has to go to Superintendent Adamson. One episode has him on a raid to flush out a group of dangerous criminals. After the police hold their ground as their car speeds towards them as they are shot at with automatic handguns and rifles, one of the cops manages to disable the vehicle with a shotgun, before police officers from both stations swarm in. What makes this cool is one of them resists and break away from the officers only to run into Adamson (and Inspector Fawlkner, also aged in his sixties). They both flatten him, making them not only Cool Old Guys but the scene their Moment of Awesome.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
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    • Requisite Mutant Enemy reference: Rupert Giles. He wasn't actually old, being only in his mid-forties at the start of the series, but that's still more than twice the average age of the main characters (Dawson Casting notwithstanding). Plus, the fact that he started out as a geek and became progressively more badass over the course of the series means that he actually got cooler as he got older.
    • The vampires don't get to apply, even if Spike is cool. He doesn't look or operate old.
  • Castle: Captain Roy Montgomery, Beckett's boss. Driven home in "Kill the Messenger" when a big-name political family tries to interfere in their investigation and Montgomery very politely tells them to get stuffed. The guy threatens to get the police commissioner involved. Montgomery's response?
    Montgomery: Say hi to him for me. And tell him I could really use a raise. I think we're done here.
    (Blake Wellsley leaves)
    Castle: That was awesome!!
  • Criminal Minds:
    • Special Agent David Rossi starts out looking like a Grumpy Old Man, but his coolness becomes apparent pretty early on, and he just gets cooler from there.
    • Agent Gideon: he's a cool character, he's played by Mandy Patinkin and he's Inigo Montoya.
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm: Larry David wears sneakers, is regarded as cool by his younger black friend Leon, had an attractive wife who was at least 20 years younger. He's regarded as not having grown up properly by most of the characters.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Doctor is very, very old, even when he doesn't show it physically, so he's always this — but when his age does show his coolness counts for that much more.
      • His first incarnation was created precisely with this trope in mind. William Hartnell doesn't take lip from anyone, young man! Hmmm hmmm! Some of the best examples of this are in "The Space Museum": He pretends to be unconscious after three Xerons grab him and then knocks out one of his captors when the other two leave the room ("It was like a whirlwind hit me!") and then hides in a Dalek casing in the museum.
      • The Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee) has his many cool vehicles and frequent demonstrations of Venusian aikido.
      • The Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi), a revival-era Doctor created as a throwback to old school incarnations (particularly the First), is a Grumpy Old Man who evolves into (as his trope page puts it) "An acerbic, aging punk rocker-cum-street magician." His Iconic Items end up being his Crombie coat(s), his Cool Shades, and an electric guitar.
    • Roger Delgado's Master is an evil Cool Old Guy.
      • Speaking of the Master, we have his human persona of Professor Yana, a super-genius who manages to be the Master's Good Counterpart, building a rocket out of very substandard equipment to send the last humans to Utopia.
    • Ahem. Wilfred Mott, anyone? Among many other feats of badassery, he took on a Dalek with a paintball gun. Sure, it only worked temporarily, but mad points for style and cojones. Also doesn't hurt that Bernard Cribbins is an amazing actor whose apparent mission in life is to break our hearts.
      • When we meet Wilf for the first time, having no idea who he is (he's Donna's grandad, but she didn't mention him last Christmas, and won't return until the next episode), it's as the only person in town. We think the plot is about to revolve around what made London a ghost town at Christmas, but we learn from Wilf that everyone else has fled (the Christmas Special is always blockbuster, so by season three, everyone clears out of London around the time, as history has proven that the shit is really going to hit the fan on the 25th.) However, Wilf refused to leave and stood his ground, never leaving the newsstand he runs. Plus, he is a very cool-tempered Brit.
  • The Dukes of Hazzard: Jesse Duke, the Duke family patriarch, is a very no-nonsense old man, and everyone gives him proper respect. He was one of the best moonshine runners in his heyday, and he's no slouch when it comes to helping his kin get out of trouble. He's also one of the only people who can keep his nephews under control.
  • The Equalizer: Robert McCall maybe ~50 years old, but he knows kung fu (or something) and can handle any gun.
  • Farscape:
    • John Crichton becomes one of these in the alternate timeline featured in the episode "The Locket". According to Ben Browder on the DVD commentary for this episode, the Cool Old Guy effect carried over into real life when he found he could get away with a lot of things while dressed in the rather convincing aging makeup.
    • Crichton's dad, Jack Crichton, played by Kent Mc Cord of Adam-12 fame, definitely fits the trope, even when he's being impersonated by an alien.
  • Firefly:
    • Shepherd Book. He's religious so he practices Thou Shalt Not Kill, but acknowledges that The Bible is "a mite fuzzier on kneecaps." He regularly relied upon for advice by the younger crew, is Jayne's only real friend among the crew and is seen as dependable in battle.
    • Then Serenity happens, in which he's forced to shoot down the Alliance ship destroying his colony before he dies from his injuries.
      • That wasn't very Christian of him. But undeniably badass.
    • Also Murphy from the Firefly episode "Shindig." He expertly puts a Rich Bitch who's tormenting Kaylee in her place, then spends the entire evening talking about engines with the latter.
      • Speaking of Shindig, Sir Warwick Harrow.
    • The film Serenity implies that Mal is actually 50.
  • Martin from Frasier. He is really a wise person to look up to.
  • Game of Thrones: There's quite a few.
    • Rodrik Cassel, a loyal and affable Old Retainer to the Starks, who doesn't fear death.
    • Lord Umber, boisterous Modest Royalty and fiercely loyal to the Starks.
    • Qyburn, something of a morally dubious Mad Doctor who's nonetheless effective, respectful, and intent on wiping out diseases. Even Cersei, who hates most other characters, admits to being fond of him.
    • Barristan Selmy is a chivalrous man, wise counselor, and just generally a pleasant and decent person in a Crapsack World. He's acknowledged as a Paragon by nearly every character who speaks of him. Just watch men half his age simply cower when he quits the Kingsguard.
    • Maester Aemon. Quite likely the oldest man in the Seven Kingdoms, he is a kindly and learned man who advises younger men like Jon and Sam on emotional as well as practical matters.
    • Luwin is a mildly snarky Papa Wolf with a vast knowledge of the world around him.
  • The Great British Bake Off: Norman, the Scottish ex-Merchant Navy officer of series 5. Kicked out relatively and inevitably early due to his resolute lack of sophistication (freely admitting he didn't even know how to spell 'tiramisu' was a highlight), but ended up becoming universally beloved by the viewership for exactly that reason... well, that and showing Sue how to spell B-A-K-E in semaphore.
  • Highlander: The Series: Methos through his age and general coolness factor. In fact, general fandom often refers to him as the Really Old Guy. A Subverted Trope exists in the fact that, as an immortal, he looks really young. Joe Dawson also qualifies.
  • While not having been so originally, Takeshi Hongo, the original Kamen Rider, is still an active participant in the battle against evil to this day, 45 years later. Bonus points for his actor, Hiroshi Fujioka, also still being active in his original role as the man onscreen.
  • Knight Rider: Devon Miles from the original show. Among his more awesome moments are escaping two prison camps in WWII and Mac Gayvering a bomb, kicking down a steel door and getting into a fist fight with a psychopath.
  • Law & Order: Lennie Briscoe. When a 60-something-year-old man is the most popular character in a cast full of Fair Cops and Hello Attorneys, you know he's doing something right.
  • Lost: John Locke. Subverted Trope when we discover just how pathetic and needy the guy is, though he's definitely starting to work back up to a traditional Cool Old Guy. Double Subverted. Turns out he is just a pathetic and needy loser.
  • Merlin (1998):
    • In the 1998 series, the title wizard gradually becomes one of these as the film progresses, and can be seen telling his story to the younger generations in the present.
    • Also of note is the Mountain King, an ancient Time Abyss voiced by James Earl Jones who casually talks about the dawn of time. "If I can remember that, it means that I'm an old man!"
  • Merlin (2008):
    • The current (2008-2012) TV series also has one of these in the character of Gaius.
    • Uther has a claim, too, despite technically being kind of the villain. Gaius is pretty morally compromised himself.
    • Merlin himself in his disguise as the elderly sorcerer "Dragoon, The Great!". Later becomes on for real in the series epilogue, which reveals Merlin is still alive in the present day.
  • Our Miss Brooks: In "The Big Game", Gus "Snakehips" Geary, who's still admired as Madison High School's greatest football star decades after he graduated.
  • Revolution: Ken 'Hutch' Hutchinson in episode 5. He's the last surviving rebel of the group in his town. Subverted Trope, when he reveals that his rebel wife was killed by the Monroe militia and that he's so obsessed with Revenge Before Reason that he is willing to blow up a train with Danny Matheson in it, and stab Nora Clayton in the gut when she tried to stop him.
  • Samurai Gourmet: The thesis is that protagonist Kasumi is not a Cool Old Guy at the start. He's only just retired, and he has to come to grips with the privilege of age granting him more leeway than he's used to. Gradually, he becomes more assertive, with the help of a badass samurai from his daydreams. However, there was one thing that was always cool about him: His ability to get extreme pleasure out of simple things.
  • The Sarah Jane Adventures: The Brigadier himself. That's Sir Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart to you.
  • Scandal:
    • Cyrus starts out as one, but the trope is actually deconstructed as he proves himself to be Olivia's Arch-Enemy.
    • The madam in episode 2 is morally ambiguous but proves herself by the end.
  • Smallville: Jonathan Kent is pretty cool, as he's probably the Only Sane Man in the cast a lot of the time, as well as a Badass Normal Papa Wolf who goes out of his way to protect his son. And then there's a villainous example in Lionel Luthor. Already pretty darn cool as the Love to Hate Trope Codifier for Magnificent Bastard, Lionel's eventual Heel–Face Turn let him establish Intergenerational Friendships with the rest of the cast, mock his Big Bad son Lex, and go right on being cool.
  • Spellbinder: Regent Correon. The oldest and toughest of the Spellbinders, over the course of the series he manages to survive a trip through the Wasteland, takes command of the fanatically anti-Spellbinder Marauders, and trumps Ashka's plans for world domination with just a video camera and some very loyal decoys.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • General Hammond could've been the trope namer. Col. Jack O'Neill aged into this trope during the 10 years of the series.
    • Brought-out-of-retirement Jack in the Stargate movie started out as this trope, especially to the kids of Abydos. As well as the Death Seeker with some Knight Templar and 'that military guy who always follows his orders even if they're wrong'... they got a new actor and changed his character a lot for the show. Apparently, Daniel gave him an epiphany.
      • Yeah... just look at season one or two Jack and go, "there's a guy who tried to commit suicide by nuke a couple of years ago." Break your brain.
    • Bra'tac, who's even older than those two.
  • Star Trek:
    • Doctor McCoy had elements of this trope, even though he didn't really get to interact with many kids.
    • In many ways, he was Kirk's father-figure, with Spock as the competing "cool uncle". Thus, while Spock could shame Kirk, only McCoy could outright scold him to his face. In one or two episodes, for medical reasons, McCoy did the equivalent of sending Kirk to his room!
    • He's not exactly a domesticated red junglefowl of the growing season in most temperate climates in Encounter at Farpoint, but has lost none of his coolness.*
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Jean-Luc Picard showed enough combat and survival skill in his 60s that he could easily have been a one-man commando unit.
  • Supernatural:
    • Bobby manages to be the Only Sane Man (although not without his issues) and completely and utterly awesome at the same time.
    • Even if he did have only one scene in season three, the fandom reaction to Rufus was so overwhelmingly positive that they brought him back for appearances in seasons five through seven.
  • Teen Wolf: Dr Deaton. He doesn't even flinch when an Alpha Peter Hale comes after him.
  • V: Abraham Bernstein is a Holocaust survivor who figures out exactly what the Visitors' real agenda is and does everything he can to fight them, including teaching some kids the proper way to deface a Visitor propaganda poster.
  • Vintergatan: Peo Persson from this Swedish sci-fi children's comedy show. Began as a Grumpy Old Man, ended up a Cool Old Guy who could really rock a saxophone and smoked his pipe in big huffs.
  • The Walking Dead:
    • Hershel Greene. He's pushing seventy, but can still hold his own in a firefight. He just doesn't like to...
    • Reg Monroe. He's around sixty and he's a lovable and charismatic guy with everyone. Accepted to teach Noah about architecture and stood for Rick after the latter's fight with Pete.
  • Warehouse 13: Artie. "And that...is one of 23 ways that I could have escaped."
  • The Wire: Lester Freamon. One of the smartest characters in the entire show and probably the most effective cop. Cool Lester Smooth.
  • The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles: The group of old soldiers and hunters in Africa led by Frederick Selous (Paul Freeman) that Indy meets and help him blow up the "Phantom Train of Doom".


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