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About The Book

From beloved CBS Sunday Morning correspondent Mo Rocca, author of New York Times bestseller Mobituaries, comes an inspiring collection of stories that celebrates the triumphs of people who made their biggest marks late in life.

Eighty has been the new sixty for about twenty 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 and coauthor Jonathan Greenberg 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 ninety-year tortoise, becoming a first-time father. (Take that, Al Pacino!)

In the vein of Mobituaries, 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 (Mel Brooks, yukking it up at close to one hundred). The amazing cast of characters also includes Mary Church Terrell, who at eighty-six helped lead sit-ins at segregated Washington, DC, lunch counters in the 1950s, and Carol Channing, who married the love of her life at eighty-two. Then there’s Peter Mark Roget, who began working on his thesaurus in his twenties and completed it at seventy-three (because sometimes finding the right word takes time.)

With passion and wonder Rocca and Greenberg recount the stories of yesterday’s and today’s strongest finishers. Because with all due respect to the Golden Girls, some people will never be content sitting out on the lanai. (PS Actress Estelle Getty was sixty-two when she got her big break. And yes, she’s in the book.)

About The Authors

Photograph © John Paul Filo/CBS

Mo Rocca is a correspondent for CBS Sunday Morning, host of the hit Mobituaries podcast, and host of The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation. He’s also a frequent panelist on NPR’s hit weekly quiz show Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! and host and creator of Cooking Channel’s My Grandmother’s Ravioli. Rocca is coauthor of the New York Times bestselling Mobituaries: Great Lives Worth Reliving and author of All the Presidents’ Pets: The Story of One Reporter Who Refused to Roll Over.

Jonathan Greenberg is a professor of English at Montclair State University and the author of two books of literary criticism along with many articles and essays. He is also an Emmy Award–winning screenwriter who has written for children’s shows including Rugrats, Hey Arnold!, and Arthur. He is the coauthor of Mobituaries.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (July 18, 2024)
  • Length: 384 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781668052501

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Raves and Reviews

"This book is a hell of a ride. With Roctogenarians, Mo Rocca shows us how people breaking barriers later in life is nothing new. Take it from me, eighty is no time to take the foot off the gas." — Eighty-four-year-old race car legend Mario Andretti, Only Driver to win the Indy 500, The Daytona 500, and the Formula 1 World Championship

“Mo Rocca is a fabulous storyteller. I know firsthand how deeply appreciative he is of his subjects. And, in a time when people are so easily dismissed or ‘cancelled,’ this book celebrates the great wisdom, grace, determination, achievement, and value that comes with age. At 80 years old, I’m still rocking it. And I don’t mean in a porch chair!” — Leslie Uggams, Tony and Emmy Award-winning Star of Stage and Screen

"A fun collection of stories that give a heartening perspective on living life to the fullest..... Such is the charm of Rocca’s latest compilation, which demonstrates the importance of passion and resilience at all stages of life, even the latter years....readers of all ages and backgrounds can find inspiration in these pages." — Kirkus Reviews

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