George Clooney turns 60 years old in May. I doubt people will freak out about that fact, because it’s a running joke throughout George’s career that people have always thought that he’s older than he is. He looked 40-something in his 30s, and he looked 50-something in his 40s. Maybe it’s grey-white hair, maybe it’s just his “older man” aura. Anyway, George covers the latest issue of AARP Magazine to promote The Midnight Sky, but he’s also receiving the Career Achievement Award from AARP Movies for Grownups Awards (that airs in late March). So George sat down with the magazine for older peeps and he talked about his life, his career and his family – you can read the full piece here. Some highlights:
He doesn’t wear makeup: “I’ve never worn makeup in my life. If I have to have a black eye, I’ll put a black eye on, but I’ve never had paper around my collar. I did when I first started, ‘cause I did what everybody told me I had to do. By the time I started ER, never.”
He hasn’t seen his parents since the pandemic hit: “This is an important time for them, and it’s not fair. My friends will talk about their kids and how they couldn’t go to prom, and I go, ‘It’s awful that they missed that. They’ll be fine. It’ll be a blip on their radar.’ People in their 80s, they’re, like, ‘You know, come on, man.’ ”
He’s fine with his age, for now: “Seventy will be more of a shot to the throat. I’m telling you, 70 will f— me up.”
How he kept busy during the pandemic: He stained the entire interior and exterior of his house, and all the furniture inside. “It was getting dingy, and I had buckets of stain, and I was, like, ‘Well, what else am I going to do?’ It made me feel better. And I put chicken wire all around the dog yard.” (Because the family got a Saint Bernard, an adult upgrade from Clooney’s pig, which passed away decades ago.) He also rewired his assistant’s sewing machine. And did some sewing himself. “I do a lot of sewing the kids’ clothes. And my wife’s dress that tore a couple of times. I was a bachelor for a long time and didn’t have any money, and you have to learn how to repair things. If we were on an island and you had to pick somebody to help you survive, I would pick me. Ask all of my friends and they would pick me, too. I can make a waterspout out of this and a pitcher out of that…. But I’m intimidated by anything on the internet. Like, if I push a button and something goes wrong, I panic. I’m a Luddite when it comes to that.”
He writes letters. By hand. Lots of them. Every year he goes away with Amal for a weekend and they both write each kid a letter with the date on it, as a record of where they were at that moment. He and Amal write each other letters every couple of months. “Even in lockdown, I’ll write a letter and slip it on her desk, or she’ll write a letter and leave it under the pillow. I’m a big believer in letters. I have letters from Paul Newman, Walter Cronkite, Gregory Peck. I have them framed. I put them in the house. If it were a text, it would feel different. Maybe that’s a generational thing, and maybe it won’t be that way 20 years from now, but for me, somebody sat down and wrote it.”
Naming his kids Alexander and Ella: “I didn’t want, like, weird-ass names for our kids. They’re already going to have enough trouble. It’s hard being the son of somebody famous and successful. Paul Newman’s son killed himself. Gregory Peck’s son killed himself. Bing Crosby had two sons kill themselves. I have an advantage because I’m so much older that by the time my son would feel competitive, I’ll literally be gumming bread.”
What he does with his share of the $1 billion Casamigos sale: “Four years after we started the company, our return on investment was literally a billion dollars. For three guys. It was crazy. I think we eventually each put about 700 grand in,” though by that time, he had already profited by far more than that. He didn’t invest his windfall or any of the up to $100 million he might wind up making as a spokesperson for Nespresso. “It’s in a bank. I make 1 percent or less on the money. To me, the stock market is like Vegas without the glass of tequila sitting next to you. It’s none of the fun and all of the risks.”
Put down the phone: “People are getting killed because they’re taking a shot of a car crash coming toward them. We’re living in this world where everybody is trying to make themselves fascinating or important or something. When the reality is: Put that phone down.”
I enjoyed reading this interview, it was well-written by Joel Stein, who has interviewed Clooney several times before, and it’s clear they have a good rapport. The only part that made me cringe was when he named the celebrities whose sons who died by suicide… that was deeply crude and disrespectful, honestly. The rest of it… George doesn’t believe in investing money in the stock market, George hand-writes letters, George sews and repairs clothes, George loves to stay busy and do household chores. It’s not that he’s an old guy, it’s that he’s old-school about everything. He’s not even from his own generation, it’s like he thinks he’s in the WWII generation.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.