40 Vintage Snaps That Reveal How Quickly People Used To Age

When you’re leafing through old family photo albums, have you ever noticed people used to age faster? Well, you’re not the only one to notice the phenomenon. Posting pictures of family members in their youth as proof has become a viral trend. And it appears not even celebrities are immune!

40. 1970s father (21)

Okay, the guy pictured wasn’t a father when the shot was taken. But the original poster (OP), Jarred the Entrepreneur, added this photo to a tweet about how fast people aged in the past. It’s his dad in the 1970s at age 21. He may look older than that, but the man knew how to dress.

39. R. Lee Ermey (17)

R. Lee Ermey is an actor famous for playing military characters, though there’s a reason for his credibility. He joined the United States Marine Corps in 1961 at just 17, though he could pass for a much older guy. Fun fact: Ermey only got promoted to his famous Gunnery Sergeant rank after retiring, which was a first for the Marines.

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38. Mrs. Dingers’s grandmother (22)

The photo that Mrs. Dingers tweeted in 2019 showed her grandmother at 22. The OP admits that her relative looks older though, as do other commenters. “I would have guessed 35,” one wrote. Mrs. Dingers added, “But I seriously wish I had that picture of my great grandparents. It’s astonishing.”

37. Arnold Schwarzenegger (19)

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Believe it or not, this is Arnold “The Terminator” Schwarzenegger at 19 years old. Long before he was an actor or the governor of California, Arnie was a bodybuilder. He started at 15, won Mr. Olympia seven times and Mr. Universe five times too. Arn also went hand-to-hand with the Predator.

36. Vintage parents

This Twitter user uploaded a photo of their parents to show how people used to age faster. The couple pictured are 20 and 22, but they certainly look older! That’s not to say they’re worse off for it, though. Another tweeter compared them to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

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35. Liz Taylor (13)

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Liz Taylor was always beautiful, but she was definitely ahead of her time age-wise. Take this picture of a 13-year-old Liz, for example. But did you know she had a mutation called distichiasis, which produces an extra set of eyelashes? It can be quite uncomfortable, but lucky Liz just got the benefits.

34. Florence Thompson (32)

Dorothea Lange’s photo of Florence Thompson ‒ a.k.a. Migrant Mother ‒ was quite famous in the 1930s. It shows a 32-year-old mother of seven looking for work to support her family during the Great Depression. Thompson’s daughter Katherine McIntosh told news network CNN in 2008 that her mother was a “very strong lady” and “the backbone of our family.”

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33. Marilyn Monroe (14)

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Although you know this famous starlet as Marilyn Monroe, her real name was actually Norma Jean Baker. It’s not polite to ask a woman her age, but can you guess it from this picture? Surprisingly, she’s just 14. And while we’re spilling secrets, she’s not a natural blonde either. Shh!

32. 1950s Family

Tweeter Andy uploaded this old picture of her family to argue a case of times-past premature aging. In 2019 she wrote, “My grandmother was only in her mid-50s in this pic. My dad was 26.” She added lightheartedly, “My mom said my grandma was old when she met her. She never changed from 30-92.”

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31. Ritchie Valens (17)

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Famous musician Ritchie Valens tragically died aged 17 in 1959. He did, however, leave behind a legacy still remembered today. For example, the song “American Pie” was inspired by the disaster “The Day the Music Died” that took Ritchie’s life. Ritchie was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, so his legend lives on.

30. Pat Morita (52)

Classic action movie Karate Kid got a fresh lease of life with the new Netflix show Cobra Kai. Returning cast members are now adults, such as Ralph Macchio, who plays Danny. He’s now older than his TV mentor Mr. Miyagi, portrayed by the late, great Pat Morita in 1984.

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29. 1954 Opa (21)

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A Redditor from the Netherlands called rosalie2222 shared this picture from 1954 of their Opa, or grandpa, when he was 21. Despite looking older than that, commenters have praised the man for his chiselled good looks. It just goes to show that looking older isn’t always a bad thing.

28. Ray Nitschke (30)

It’s hard to swallow that Ray Nitschke, legendary linebacker for the Greenbay Packers, was 30 in this picture. Though, to be fair, he did have a steel coaching tower fall on him in 1960. He was uninjured, but it’s a wonder he doesn’t look even older really.

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27. John Tenta (26)

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Those of you unfamiliar with the late John Tenta might have known him better as the World Wrestling Federation’s wrestling star, Earthquake. He’s 26 in this shot. Earthquake was also a sumo wrestler, but Japanese law required him to cover his tiger tattoo. In Japan, body art has connotations with organized crime such as the Yakuza.

26. Young farmer (15)

Reddit’s Woddels has a photo of their grandfather on his farm from 1954. The OP wrote, “He was around 15 years old and always wore his father’s hat to look older when he was driving.” One commenter replied, “Tell him from me that the hat is definitely working.”

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25. Concetta (18)

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This is a photo taken in 1945 of Reddit user pugattackisback’s 18-year-old grandmother Concetta. The poster says her grandma taught her to be sassy and classy. She was also apparently known for her winning smile, which the photographer certainly captured.

24. Steve Martin (33)

Actor Steve Martin is perhaps a famous example of the older look since he went prematurely gray at 32. Nevertheless, he’s been considered a silver fox in his time. Steve was a late bloomer to fatherhood though: he was 67 when his wife Anne Stringfield gave birth to a baby girl.

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23. Peter (16)

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Maybe it’s the suit or the glasses, but redditladepicgamer’s grandfather Peter looks more mature than his 16 years of age. “Apparently it is a photo taken the day he got his first job as a banker,” the OP wrote. To which someone jokingly replied, “So what bank did he pass down?”

22. May (16)

This impressive 1917 photo features a 16-year-old lady called May. Her grandchild, Reddit’s thrifterbynature, uploaded the pic. “She was a mature-looking woman,” the OP concurred. May was still single then, but married a few years later. In fact, Infoplease reveals that in 1920 the average age of marriage for women was 21.

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21. George Wendt (33) and John Ratzenberger (34)

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Remember the classic sitcom Cheers? Well here’s some food for thought. John Ratzenberger, who played Cliff Clavin, is 34 here while George Wendt ‒ a.k.a. Norm Peterson ‒ is 33. It’s pretty amazing how age comes to people differently. It also makes fans feel old. Sorry about that.

20. Canadian soldier (22)

This photo from 1940 shows IndifferentSkeptic’s grandfather, a tough-looking soldier who was just 22 at the time. The OP attributes his mature looks to a “uniquely hard life” forged partly in military service for Canada. He joined voluntarily, but many young men from 21 to 45 were drafted in those days.

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19. 1952 mother (16)

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Redditer Cjacksoncnm wrote, “My mother at just 16 years old had so much style. That was before she married my father and had eight children,” they said of the 1952 picture. “She is full of life and style even today at 83!” And isn’t she a dead ringer for Esmeralda from Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame?

18. Amsterdam parents

Advanced maturity is also something that happened in the more recent past. Take Dcornelissen’s parents for example, who are shown here in Amsterdam in 1979. They’re 18 and 20 years old, but the OP commented, “I never looked that mature when I was that age!”

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17. Christopher Lee (26)

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Christopher Lee played some Spook-tacular characters in his illustrious acting career, including Dracula. But his life was just as interesting off-screen. He spent a lot of time in the armed forces, from the Special Air Service to an espionage unit. He didn’t tell anyone details. If he did, he would have had to kill them.

16. Clark Gable (39)

Clark Gable’s a classic hollywood hunk perhaps most famous as Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind. In addition to his renowned acting, Clark flew in the Army Air Corps during WWII. He was also known for his distinguished ears. But frankly my dear, he didn’t give a damn.

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15. Chad grandpa (19)

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This Reddit user described their grandpa as a 1940’s “chad” – or popular lady’s man. In this pic, he’s only 19 years old, yet commenters couldn’t help pointing out his effortless style. One wrote, “At 19 I’d like to have known this gentleman in the vain hope that some of his cool might have transferred to me.”

14. Greg Orden (17)

Greg Orden looks well in advance of his 17 years when this photo was taken. Some of it is probably because he’s a giant of a man at seven feet tall. Injuries blighted his short NBA career, but he’s since gotten a degree in the sports industry. Go Greg!

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13. Larry Bird (22)

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Basketball fans won’t need us to introduce Larry Bird. In his 13 years with the Celtics, Larry soared like his namesake. In addition to getting three successive NBA MVP awards, he’s been on the winning end of three NBA championships. It’s no wonder, then, that he earned the nickname “Larry Legend.”

12. Karen’s grandfather (58)

Karen on Twitter added a picture of grandfathers to the list of advanced maturity photos. “The one on the right is 58 in this photo,” she wrote. Of course, it’s all in the eye of the beholder. Some of us hope we look this good at 58 too.

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11. Dolly Parton (19)

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Beloved country singer and philanthropist Dolly Parton ‒ shown here at 19 ‒ is known for, among other things, her large personality. She’s been Ms. Magazine’s 1987 Woman of the Year and had a cloned sheep named after her. What a way to make a living.

10. Osinedges’s grandfather

Although it’s unclear how old osinedges’s grandfather is in this picture, he’s likely between 17 and 20. Either way, he looks mature for his age. “He came from a very wealthy family,” the OP wrote, “and left it all to marry the woman of his dreams (my grandmother). Absolute role model!”

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9. Dietmtndewgirl’s grandmother (16)

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“My grandma at 16,” Reddit’s dietmtndewgirl wrote in 2020. “She is turning 80 this year. She makes me laugh every day. I love this woman!” Commenters agreed that she definitely looks older than her age. Many compared her beauty to a classic Hollywood starlet, and who are we to disagree?

8. WWII grandfather

This is a WWII photo of C-O_O-L’s grandfather, who was originally aged at 18. However, a war-savvy Redditor pointed out that his medals indicate he was 21. Either way he’s a decorated serviceman, and in 2019 the OP described their grandfather as “Still alive and sharp as a tack at 96.”

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7. 1962 grandmother (16)

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Redditer unusually-so estimates their grandmother had this picture taken in 1962, making her 16 years old. The pic’s a great example of how people looked more mature back then. Maybe it’s the hair or the makeup, but she’s certainly a classy lady.

6. 1941 grandmother (14)

When frogrus’s grandmother undertook her Catholic Confirmation ceremony to affirm her beliefs in 1941, they took this photo. The amazing thing is, this 14-year-old girl had already learned how to make her own clothes. She even made the dress she wore in this very picture. How resourceful is that?

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5. Sparky Anderson (42)

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The gentleman in the Reds uniform is the late, great veteran baseball manager Sparky Anderson. Twitterers were surprised to find he’s 42 years old in this picture. Actually, most didn’t believe it, with one person stating “Holy crap. That’s some hard living.” Nevertheless, he got into the Hall of Fame for his impressive contributions to baseball.

4. Ron Karkovice (23)

Baseball fans need no introduction to Ron “Karko” Karkovice, famed catcher for the Chicago White Sox. “This man must have smoked three packs a day in kindergarten,” wrote Gingersnap on Twitter. It didn’t affect his career, though. Karko’s still the only White Sox player to catch a no-hitter and hit a homerun in one and the same game.

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3. Déjà Parker’s grandmother (13)

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It might look like a painting or a postcard, but this is actually a photo Déjà Parker uploaded to Facebook. It’s a picture of their 13-year-old grandmother taken in 1941. And if you’re getting Judy Garland vibes, you’re not the only one. Many commenters compared it to classic films such as Gone with the Wind.

2. Debbie White’s parents

Debbie White tweeted an old family photo of her parents for the scrutiny of the age debate in 2019. She wrote, “These are my parents when my mom was pregnant with me. They were like 23.” This news was met with scepticism though. Someone even replied, “Your dad was 23 x2 right?” We’ll let you be the judge.

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1. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (15)

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The Rock makes a compelling argument for our case. “When I moved from Hawaii to Nashville, I was already 6’4, 225 lbs with a pornstache at 15 years old,” he tweeted in 2019. “And the students in my new high school thought I was an undercover cop.”

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