Biggest age difference between an actor and the character that they portray

I remember, by the way, that when Harrison reprised his role in the 1980s, the tricky part was finding an actress who could plausibly play Higgins’ mother. Fortunately Cathleen Nesbitt was still alive (she had played his mother the first time, too).

Just watched the first episode. It is completely believable and completely hilarious.

Fred Astaire was 54,
Nanette Fabray was 33,
Jack Buchanan was 62,

… when they played babies in the “Triplets” number in The Band Wagon.

any movie version of Romeo and Juliet, until DeCaprio

Ian McKellen is going to play Hamlet in an upcoming “age blind” production in London.

Lionel Jeffries played the father of Dick Van Dyke’s character in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, despite being about six months younger than Van Dyke. Jeffries was 42 at the time, playing a character primarily identified as “Grandpa.”

Jeffries was prematurely bald, so he often played characters much older than he actually was. He also played King Pellinore, supposed to be bumbling old man, in Camelot, at the age of 41.

Andy Clyde went the opposite way: he started playing old men in his twenties and slowly started using less makeup as he aged.

Victor Buono played “King Tut” on Batman in 1966 - a character who was an esteemed professor who thought he was a reincarnated pharaoh. Buono was 28, a decade younger than Adam West - but the character certainly seemed to be in his 50s.

In March of the Wooden Soldiers the bad guy Barnaby does not state his age but he looks and acts quite old. Henry Brandon (Henry Kleinbach as he was billed in that movie) was 22 when it was filmed. That was the age difference that shocked me the most when I found out.

The one that always comes to my mind isn’t as big a difference as some mentioned but I feel it’s one of the biggest miscasts in Hollywood history. John Wayne was 55 when he was in The Longest Day played LTC Benjamin Vandervoort. Vandervoort was 27 on D-Day. Not only did Wayne look much too old for the part, it dismisses the remarkable fact that Vandervoort was only 27 when he led a battalion behind enemy lines.

I didn’t know that it was even possible to be an LTC at 27.

It’s certainly not possible now and it was rare then but it was possible in WWII. He was commissioned in 1938 as a lieutenant so as a regular army officer when the war started he had an advantage when it came to promotions.

Jessie Landis played Cary Grant’s mother in North by Northwest despite being only 8 year older than him.

Natalie Schafer was born in Nov, 1900. She played Mrs Howell 1964-67. I read Natalie was secretive about her age and her costars didn’t know.

IIRC The character’s age wasn’t revealed. I thought of the Howells as being middle aged, maybe 50?

Jim Backus was born Feb, 1913. He was 51 when Gilligan’s Island began.

Franco Zeffirelli’s 1968 version starred Leonard Whiting, who was 17, and Olivia Hussey, who was 15.

Wendy O. Williams was around 37 when she played Charlie in Reform School Girls, presumably a minor.

There were only 12 years between Sean Connery and Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.