National Centenarian Awareness Project

Founded in 1989 by Lynn Peters Adler, J.D. - Centenarian Expert and Older Adults Advocate


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Barbara Walters
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"Live to be 150"  Behind the scene



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Behind the Scene: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6        

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Barbara Walters Special
Click for Barbara Walters'
article on the ABC website

The ABC Barbara Walters Special on aging and longevity "Live to be 150" aired the first of April, 2008.  
      I was asked two years ago to participate in this project and it was both a wonderful and exhilarating experience.    
      It was an honor and a privilege to work with Ms. Walters and her talented and caring team of professionals. 
      We’ve put together a “behind the  scene”  feature  with  bios  of

Babara Walters & the "Fab Five" centenarians from the ABC Special: "Live to be 150...Can You Do It?"
The Barbara Walters Special featured five of our centenarians:
Pictured (l-r): Dorothy Young, "Rosie" Ross, Lillian Cox,
Barbara Walters, Dr. Karl Hartzell and Elsa Hoffmann.

Click to read an article on the ABC website about the
Special by producers Jennifer Joseph and Rob Wallace

each of the five centenarians who traveled to New York City last September for this history-making, first-ever event. When a “TV legend” is interested in longevity, it makes all the work I have devoted my career to over the past 23 years worthwhile – AGING IS IN!!   
       Ms. Walters is even more attractive in person; she was so gracious with the centenarians and her staff so very considerate and respectful. I have participated in a lot of media productions over  the  years and often  with centenarians. Some of the experiences have unfortunately been somewhere between upsetting and disappointing. But with Ms. Walters’ team, it was “top notch,” as one of my 100-year-old friends put it, and another summed it up as a “magical experience.”

Behind the Scene ...
"Live to be 150...
Can You Do It?"
an ABC
Barbara Walters Special

     What goes on behind the scene of a network televised event, such as “Live to be 150 … Can You Do It?”
    Because such a small portion of the extensive coverage is possible within the final production, I thought it would be of interest to get a “behind the scenes” look at this extraordinary event and the exceptional people who made it possible.


        I am very, very proud of my centenarian friends and honored to have been included in a Barbara Walters production! Thank you to all for your belief in me and my work with centenarians. 
        We have bios, photos and vintage photos of each of the centenarians who participated, as well as the “supporting cast” of Kit Abrahamson, (please see our April 2008 calendar), Dr. Frank Shearer (our March 2007 calendar) and John Donnelly (our June 2007 calendar) – all of whom would liked to have joined us in New York for the interviews, as was the original plan, but, regrettably, other life circumstances intervened.
        And please be assured that these centenarians are still on the go and living their lives to the fullest.  Watch them and learn.  They are wonderful role models; keep up with the events of their full lives by following their frequently updated features. I also invite you to go to ABC’s website (
for more about these outstanding individuals who have lived to over 100 years and who are still looking forward.

The Centenarian Cast:
"Casting Agent" - Lynn Peters Adler, centenarian expert and older adults advocate

Elsa Brehm Hoffmann

Exuberant Elsa bought a new car for her 100th Birthday – a sporty Lincoln, eggplant in color, “because it was a little different.” She planned and executed a gala celebration for nearly 200 friends and family, who came from all over the country to join in a weekend packed with activities in October, 2007.  And she booked a cruise to the Caribbean for January!  Elsa believes that her positive attitude is what has contributed to her long and happy life.  Elsa is always on the go and always beautifully dressed.  A renowned  hostess, Elsa has a wonderful sense of humor and fun, loves a party, and loves to contribute to the happiness of others. Click to read more about Elsa.
Leonard "Rosie" Ross

Jazz man Leonard "Rosie" Ross, 101, remains a popular attraction at the Pine Cone Inn, where he gigs every Friday night. In his nineties he survived a fire that severely burned his face and hands. With courage and determination, this lifelong musician underwent surgeries and months of physical therapy, eventually practicing with the mouthpiece of his trumpet as he lay in his hospital bed, so he could play again. “As long as people want to hear Clyde McCoy's ‘Sugar Blues,’” he says, “I’ll live to play it for them!”  Since reaching the century mark, Rosie is more popular than ever and he’s “having the time of my life!” Click to read more about Rosie.
Lillian Cox

Lovely Lillian Cox, a petite Southern Belle with an iron will, was a successful entrepreneur at a time when most women were stay-at-home moms.  Community involvement in women’s groups, such as the Garden Club, and a large circle of friends of all ages, have helped keep her active and socially involved in her later years, and maintaining the lush garden at her home has been her pride and joy. However, when her octogenarian daughter became gravely ill, Lillian, then nearing 100, traveled to Texas to “bring her daughter home.”  She has lovingly cared for her only child for two years. Four hundred community members gathered to honor her at her 100th. Click to read more about Lillian.

Dr. Karl Hartzell

A Renaissance man, Karl Drew Hartzell, Ph.D., former college professor and dean, among many other accomplishments, enjoys classical music, sings in a senior chorus, plays piano and also plays 18 holes of golf twice a week!  A prolific writer of clear, lucid, engaging prose, he is currently working on his fifth book; his last on Values in America, a lifelong interest, was published when he was 99. At 101, he enjoys traveling to visit his three sons and credits remaining involved in their lives as an essential element in his successful later years. He also is a computer whiz. Click to read more about Karl.

Dorothy Young

A love of life and enjoyment of the arts have been the hallmark of the long and successful career of centenarian Dorothy Young. For many years she was a well-known dancer; for one year at the age of 17 she performed all over the country as Houdini’s assistant and was famous for her “radio girl” act (see photo above), in which she sprang from an “empty” radio to dance the Charleston! Dorothy went on to become an actress, author, then noted painter – with seemingly a Midas touch for every artistic endeavor she pursued. In her mid-nineties, Dorothy contributed the largest gift ever received by Drew University, of which both her father and brother were alumni, and founded the Dorothy Young Center for the Arts to encourage young people to follow her passion. Dorothy also enjoys the companionship of a “gentleman friend,”  proving that we don’t outgrow our desire for love and relationships. They’ve been an “item” for ten years. Click to watch a video about Dorothy's life.

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