Image - Mo Rocca plus detail from his book cover
Image - Mo Rocca plus detail from his book cover

Mo Rocca and the Roctogenarians

Eighty has been the new 60 for about 20 years now. In fact, there have always been late-in-life achievers, those who declined to go into decline just because they were eligible for Social Security. Journalist, humorist, and history buff Mo Rocca teamed up with Jonathan Greenberg to introduce us to the people past and present who peaked when they could have been puttering—breaking out as writers, selling out concert halls, attempting to set land-speed records—and in the case of one 90-year-old tortoise, becoming a first-time father. (Take that, Al Pacino!)

Popular “CBS Sunday Morning” correspondent and frequent “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” panelist Rocca, author of the bestselling Mobituaries, comes to Commonwealth Club World Affairs in San Francisco to share inspiring stories that celebrate the triumphs of people who made their biggest marks late in life.

His new book, Roctogenarians, is a collection of entertaining and unexpected profiles of these unretired titans—some long gone (a cancer-stricken Henri Matisse, who began work on his celebrated cut-outs when he could no longer paint), some very much still living (Rita Moreno, the EGOT who’s still got it). The amazing cast of characters also includes Mary Church Terrell, who at 86 helped lead sit-ins at segregated Washington, D.C., lunch counters in the 1950s, and Carol Channing, who married the love of her life at 82. Then there’s Peter Mark Roget, who began working on his thesaurus in his twenties and completed it at 73 (because sometimes finding the right word takes time.)

With all due respect to the Golden Girls, some people will never be content sitting out on the lanai. (P.S., actor Estelle Getty was 62 when she got her big break. And yes, she’s in the book.)

Don’t miss this inspiring and entertaining evening.

Image - Mo Rocca

Mo Rocca

Correspondent, "CBS Sunday Morning"; Host, "Mobituaries" Podcast; Author, Roctogenarians: Late in Life Debuts, Comebacks, and Triumphs

Image - Brian Watt

In conversation with Brian Watt

News Anchor, KQED; X @RadioBWatt