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April 20, 2014

Six Reality TV Stars Who've Gone the Distance

by Jane Boursaw, posted Apr 28th 2010 12:01AM
Cloris Leachman Think about reality TV, and what usually springs to mind is a bunch of youngsters living in homes together, performing on talent shows, or trying to get their careers rolling -- sometimes all at the same time.

But let's not forget the elder statespeople who already had a stunning career behind them, only to come back into the public eye by participating in a reality show. Perhaps these celebrity veterans helped to pave the way for 'Sunset Daze,' a new show premiering April 28 at 10PM ET on WE tv that follows a group of people at a retirement community in Arizona's Sun City.

Lest you think it's all pudding and painkillers, rest assured there will be sex! Guns! Skydiving! And motorcycles!Cloris Leachman Think about reality TV, and what usually springs to mind is a bunch of youngsters living in homes together, performing on talent shows, or trying to get their careers rolling -- sometimes all at the same time.

But let's not forget the elder statespeople who already had a stunning career behind them, only to come back into the public eye by participating in a reality show. Perhaps these celebrity veterans helped to pave the way for 'Sunset Daze,' a new show premiering April 28 at 10PM ET on WE tv that follows a group of people at a retirement community in Arizona's Sun City.

Lest you think it's all pudding and painkillers, rest assured there will be sex! Guns! Skydiving! And motorcycles! (Read more about it in Chris Harnick's preview here.)

And, of course, Betty White is everywhere right now, years after she starred in 'The Golden Girls' with Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty. Could all of this signal a new trend of spotlighting those who've gone the distance? I hope so! Not only do they have a lot to teach the rest of us, life has shown them that a sense of humor is an absolute necessity.

Here are a few stars who've gone the distance and come back for more:

1. Cloris Leachman, 'Dancing With the Stars.' She may not have had the most technically refined moves on the show, but 82-year-old Leachman proved that sometimes you don't need them. When you've got nine Emmys, a Golden Globe and an Oscar, it's not like you have to prove anything to anyone.

2. Joan Rivers, 'The Celebrity Apprentice.'
The brash comedian was crowned the winner of last year's show, edging out poker player Annie Duke. But in a boardroom finale smackdown, the 75-year-old Rivers had a few parting shots for Duke, calling her "a two-faced person." Rivers is anything but done with her career; the documentary 'Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work' was a hit at Sundance this year.

Buzz Aldrin, Dancing With the Stars3. Buzz Aldrin, 'Dancing With the Stars.'
The dancing show always includes someone who's been around the block, but this year, they included someone who'd walked on the moon. OK, so Aldrin's dancing was less than stellar, but even the judges were reluctant to criticize the American hero, who turned 80 in January.

4. Bruce Jenner, 'Keeping Up With the Kardashians.'
He may be an Olympic hero, but I'm guessing that living in a sea of estrogen and reigning in those Kardashians is just as much work. The 60-year-old Jenner certainly deserves a medal for that.

Gene Simmons, The Celebrity Apprentice5. Gene Simmons, 'The Celebrity Apprentice.'
Before going on this show, the 60-year-old Simmons was best known as the fire breathing, blood splitting co-founder of the rock group KISS. Maybe that's the sort of background it takes to face Donald Trump in the boardroom. And 'Gene Simmons: Family Jewels' has aired for five seasons. Not bad for a guy who's sported black and white face paint for most of his career.

6. Hugh Hefner, 'The Girls Next Door.'
I never would have imagined myself complimenting the 84-year-old Playboy founder, but after seeing how sweet he treats the women on this show, my attitude has changed. Not only that, he just seems like a really nice guy.

And let's not forget "Pants on the Ground" guy, General Larry Platt of 'American Idol' fame! Feel free to add your own favorite elder reality stars in the comments below.

Follow @jboursaw on Twitter.

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