Centenarians are people who live to see 100 and as of 2012 there would have been a handful of notable people to hit the mark. There's a wide range of celebrities who grew to become some of the most well known performers in their respective fields, from gourmet chefs and folk singers, to television hosts and comedians. Here's a list of our favorite centenarians in 2012.
Woody Guthrie - Died in 1967
Famed folk singer Woody Guthrie's influence as a songwriter and folk musician has lived on for decades through the work of other artists. Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen have frequently cited Guthrie's down home blues influenced folk songs as a major influence on their style and body of work.
Gene Kelly - Died in 1996
The multi-talented actor, singer, director and choreographer Gene Kelly has left an indelible mark on show business and Hollywood itself. He's starred in some of the most renowned films of all time including the musical classic. Singin' in the Rain.
Chuck Jones - Died in 2002
Chuck Jones changed the landscape of animation forever through his work with classic Warner Brothers cartoons. The success of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck were both attributed to Jones' direction and animation style that early on became a landmark in the genre.
Dale Evans - Died in 2001
Writer, actress, singer-songwriter and all around good ol' cowgirl Dale Evans was synonymous with lighthearted western culture. Along with her husband Roy Rogers, Evans became a television and music star with her effortless comedic timing and songwriting skills that echoed her humble blue collar background.
Julia Child - Died in 2004
Probably the first celebrity chef before the term even existed, Julia Child was beamed directly into our living rooms daily to espouse on the simplicity and beautiful elegance of French cuisine. Her trademark sing song voice and refined cooking tips made any meal seem easy. Her legacy continues to inspire with the well received 2009 film Julie & Julia.
Minnie Pearl - Died in 1996
Minnie Pearl's roots as a born and bred Tennessean greatly contributed to her lifelong career as a comedienne that satirized the affection she had for her folksy upbringing. As a regular on Hee Haw, Pearl came to define the essence of country comedy.
Art Linkletter - Died in 2010
The modern game show format and it's warmly approachable host owes much to Linkletter's influence. Through his radio shows and syndicated series like Kids Say the Darndest Things, Linkletter effortlessly perfected what would eventually become the model and format for decades of game shows and variety shows to follow.
José Ferrar - Died in 1992
José Ferrar created a legacy in show business when he became the first Hispanic actor to win an Academy Award for his role in 1950's Cyrano de Bergerac. That was only the beginning of his lifelong film and television career that set a high standard for other Hispanic actors in Hollywood.
Michael Wilding - Died in 1979
Michael Wilding embodied the quintessential English actor and starred in a number of British films in the 1940s and '50s including period pieces and stately British dramas.
Sonja Henie - Died in 1969
Three-time Olympic champion Sonja Henie seamlessly translated her athletic figure skating prowess into a series of well received Hollywood roles. Her films and touring ice shows made her one of the highest paid entertainers in the 1930s and '40s.
Richard Brooks - Died in 1992
Richard Brooks was a renowned American screenwriter and director who took home an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for the 1960 film, Elmer Gantry. He was also nominated for gritty realistic dramas like the 1955 film Blackboard Jungle, which became known as an astute critique of 1950s inner city youth rebellion.
Les Brown - Died in 2001
Les Brown perfectly encapsulated the rollicking feel good Big Band music of the 1940s and '50s. He toured with his Band of Renown not only in the states, but also as a regular with Bob Hope, accompanying him overseas on 18 USO tours to inspire and pay homage to our American troops around the world.
Charles Addams - Died in 1988
Addams incorporated black humor and wry wit into his cartoons for The New Yorker which eventually became the inspiration for The Addams Family TV series. He always had a fascination with ghoulish characters that were softened with light satire. This style quickly led to the cult fandom of The Addams Family.
Clete Roberts - Died in 1984
Clete Roberts set the standard for the approachable and slyly comic news anchors that have become a staple in broadcast journalism with his trademark affable nature and an eventual role on the classic war time drama, M*A*S*H.
Perry Como - Died in 2001
Legendary musician and entertainer Perry Como had a storied career that ran for over fifty years while selling millions of records and hosting numerous TV shows with his flawless vocals and nonchalant charm in front of the camera.
Gordon Parks - Died in 2006
Gordon Parks was a Renaissance man of sorts who dabbled in everything from photography to film direction. He contributed some of the most stunning images to Life magazine's photographic essays, while also setting the standard for an entire film genre with the 1971 blaxploitation classic, Shaft.
Foster Brooks - Died in 2001
Foster Brooks perfected his comedic craft in numerous appearances on renowned variety and talk shows. His drunken persona regularly graced the set of The Dean Martin Show which earned him an Emmy Award nomination in 1974.
Jay Silverheels - Died in 1980
Jay Silverheels was well known for his role of Tonto, the Native American sidekick to the gritty Western hero, The Lone Ranger. Silverheels was one of the most celebrated Native American actors ever to grace the screen with a long film and television career that lasted far beyond the realm of his initial successful role.
Cornel Wilde - Died in 1989
American film director and actor Cornel Wilde had his start on Broadway but eventually took notable roles as a film director and actor. He was known for his wide range as an actor, starring in dramas like A Song to Remember, for which he earned an Academy Award nomination in 1946 and gritty film noir roles that personified the genre in the 1940s and '50s.
Karl Malden - Died in 2009
Karl Malden was a Serbian American actor known for his critically acclaimed film roles in a career that spanned over seventy years, including the film adaptation of the brash Tennessee Williams southern drama, A Streetcar Named Desire, which earned Malden an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Jackson Pollock - Died in 1956
Pollock's name has become synonymous with modern art with his splatter technique that wowed critics and confused the populace simultaneously. His trademark splatter pieces still fetch millions at art auctions and is displayed in some of the most prestigious museum collections around the world.