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luise rainer photoOn Jan. 12, 2010, Luise Rainer will turn 100. To most current movie fans, Rainer's name could be that of any centenarian Willard Scott might salute on 'The Today Show.' But Rainer, a German-born actress of delicate beauty and skill, is a screen legend -- one of the last of Hollywood's golden age.

Rainer won the 1936 Best Actress Oscar for 'The Great Ziegfeld.' Then, the next year, facing competition like Greta Garbo in 'Camille,' she won another Best Actress Oscar for 'The Good Earth.' In so doing, she became the first-ever back-to-back Oscar-winner -- a feat accomplished since then only by Spencer Tracy (1937 and 1938), Katharine Hepburn (1967 and 1968), Jason Robards (1976 and 1977) and Tom Hanks (1993 and 1994).

Unlike the other back-to-back winners, however, Rainer's career faded, partly due to conflicts with MGM studio boss Louis B. Mayer. Still, what a colorful life -- first marriage to legendary playwright Clifford Odets; second (and more successful) marriage and child; occasional stage and film projects; and a dramatic screen return for 'The Gambler' in 1997. Happy birthday, Ms. Rainer! Here are nine other Hollywood figures who lived to 100. luise rainer photoOn Jan. 12, 2010, Luise Rainer will turn 100. To most current movie fans, Rainer's name could be that of any centenarian Willard Scott might salute on 'The Today Show.' But Rainer, a German-born actress of delicate beauty and skill, is a screen legend -- one of the last of Hollywood's golden age.

Rainer won the 1936 Best Actress Oscar for 'The Great Ziegfeld.' Then, the next year, facing competition like Greta Garbo in 'Camille,' she won another Best Actress Oscar for 'The Good Earth.' In so doing, she became the first-ever back-to-back Oscar-winner -- a feat accomplished since then only by Spencer Tracy (1937 and 1938), Katharine Hepburn (1967 and 1968), Jason Robards (1976 and 1977) and Tom Hanks (1993 and 1994).

Unlike the other back-to-back winners, however, Rainer's career faded, partly due to conflicts with MGM studio boss Louis B. Mayer. Still, what a colorful life -- first marriage to legendary playwright Clifford Odets; second (and more successful) marriage and child; occasional stage and film projects; and a dramatic screen return for 'The Gambler' in 1997. Happy birthday, Ms. Rainer! Here are nine other Hollywood figures who lived to 100.

George Burns photoGeorge Burns (1896-1996)
From New York's impoverished Lower East Side to vaudeville to movies -- that was the initial career trajectory of the man born Nathan Birnbaum. Marriage to Gracie Allen sealed the deal for them personally and professionally -- first on the radio, where their ditzy-dame-harried-husband patter made them famous, then on TV, where they became hugely popular. After Allen's 1964 death, Burns plunged into projects; by 1974, comedy legend Jack Benny, ill with cancer, withdrew from filming 'The Sunshine Boys' and Burns replaced him, winning, at 80, the 1975 Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. He did lots of films thereafter (including 'Oh, God!'), umpteen TV specials and wrote 10 bestsellers. He's buried beside Gracie.


Hal Roach photoHal Roach (1892-1992)
Arriving in Hollywood in 1912, Roach worked an extra. Using a sum left to him by a relative, he co-founded a studio with Harold Lloyd, later a great silent-screen comedian. In this era of the Mack Sennett comedy, Roach was really his only rival, bringing the likes of Will Rogers and Laurel and Hardy to the screen. But it was Roach's production of short reels about rambunctious kids -- called 'Our Gang,' now 'The Little Rascals' -- for which he'll always be known. No moment was more perfect than when Roach appeared, at 100, at the 1992 Academy Awards. He went to speak and the sound system failed. Billy Crystal made a joke about Roach's origins in silent film and brought down the house.


Adolph Zukor photo3. Adolph Zukor (1873-1976)
Two words: Paramount Pictures. But let's go to the beginning. Born in Hungary, Zukor emigrated to the U.S. at 16. For years he was a furrier, growing wealthy at a young age. In 1903, he invested in a partnership to bring Thomas Edison's moving pictures -- via penny arcades -- to a wider public. Less than a decade later, Zukor founded the Famous Players Film Company, which both produced and distributed short films, and in 1912 presented the first feature-length film. He bought a Manhattan armory that today is called Chelsea Studios. Famous Players later morphed into Famous Players-Lasky and then Paramount Pictures in 1936. Zukor continued to call the shots for another 40 years.


Charles Lane photoCharles Lane (1905-2007)
At his death in 2007, Lane was considered America's oldest working actor -- and one of the last founding members of the Screen Actors Guild. No one can count precisely how many films and TV shows he appeared on as a character actor, but the number tops 250. He was a favorite of director Frank Capra, playing a cold-hearted rent collector in 'It's a Wonderful Life.' Indeed, the sour-faced Lane was usually cast as a hard-edged wet blanket, essaying the type to perfection on 'I Love Lucy' several times. And Lane really did work into his second century: He declared his availability for work on the 2005 TV Land Awards and created several more roles in the two years that followed.


Bob Hope photoBob Hope (1903-2003)
It is impossible to condense the life of the English-born Hope into just a few sentences, but we'll try. First, he was a star of vaudeville and Broadway, then a film star, paired memorably with Bing Crosby for all those 'Road' pictures. He was also a towering, enduring figure on network TV for over 50 years. But perhaps Hope's greatest achievement was his devotion to the armed forces -- to the USO, for which he toured for decades. Considered one of the 20th century's master joke-tellers, Hope (like his friend Milton Berle) maintained a vault with some six million index cards with set-ups and punch-lines written on them.


Dolores Hope photoDolores Hope (1909-)
The widow of Bob Hope turned 100 on May 27, 2009. Born in New York, she grew up in the Bronx and began her singing career in Manhattan nightclubs in the early 1930s. Though perhaps best known as Bob Hope's wife, she was an integral part of Hope's USO tours, performing regularly for the troops around the world. Later, as Hope's advancing age limited his ability to perform, Dolores, in her 80s, intensified her singing career, taking gigs at New York's famous Rainbow and Stars, among other venues. She also released a series of CDs that sold well with the public. Dolores' work on behalf of charities is her signature accomplishment.


Irving Berlin photoIrving Berlin (1888-1989)
The only songwriter on this list, Berlin personified American popular, theater and film music for much of the 20th century. An immigrant to America from Russia at age 5, Berlin (given name: Israel Baline), the son of a Jewish cantor, grew up dirt poor on Manhattan's Lower East Side. He sold newspapers and worked as a singing waiter while still in his teens. But blessed with phenomenal melodic gifts, soon his 'Alexander's Ragtime Band' made him world-renowned -- and rich. He wrote the scores to over 1,000 songs, composed scores for nearly 20 Broadway shows, and nearly as many Hollywood films. Two of his best were 1954's 'White Christmas' and 1948's 'Easter Parade.'


Senor Wences photoSenor Wences (1896-1999)
Born Wenceslao Moreno in Spain, Wences was a ventriloquist who got lucky: by appearing on 'The Ed Sullivan Show,' he became famous and beloved. Amazingly, he didn't need many props. Instead, he could draw a face on the side of his hand, artfully plop a wig on top of it and have hilarious patter with, say, the character of Johnny, his voice bouncing back and forth between his own, which was deep, and the character's, which was high and squeaky. Wences accomplished this at warp speed no matter who the character was -- remember Pedro in the box? An unparalleled master of rim-shot patter, Wences lived on West 54th Street in Manhattan -- now called Senor Wences Way.


Leni Riefenstahl photoLeni Riefenstahl (1902-2003)
A modern dancer in the 1920s, a star of German silent "mountain" films; an actress-director during the Weimar Republic -- Riefenstahl could have stopped there and ensured her historical place. But she chose to act, unwittingly or not, as a kind of Third Reich documentarian, owing to friendships with Joseph Goebbels and Adolf Hitler. She always denied 'Triumph of the Will,' covering the 1934 Nazi Party congress in Nuremberg, was aimed as propaganda, but that's what it was, despite visionary images and technical prowess. 'Olympia,' too, is a tough one: A celebration of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, tracking shots and slow-motion gave the picture amazing sheen -- all to glorify the Aryan ideal. Riefenstahl's long, controversial postwar experience is explored in the 1993 documentary 'The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl.'