How to make the rest of your life the best of your life is the title of Art Linkletter's latest book, and he should know. He's 94 years old going on 95 and he's as busy as ever. After more than 60 years in radio and television, he serves on the boards of dozens of companies, foundations and Presidential commissions, and he travels all over the country telling anybody who'll listen how to have a long and healthy life like his.
"I'm going to be speaking there at a big meeting on the subject of living better, longer and living joyfully."
Linkletter has become a recognized expert on staying young. Among other things, he's President of the Center on Aging at UCLA, which is a leader in Geriatrics research. As for his own long life, he says it's no great mystery. He avoids bad habits and stays active physically.
"I've never smoked, never drank, plenty of rest, good nights sleep, 8 or 9 hours of sleep. I have a very active physical life, I do swimming and up until this year I was a skiier."
Linkletter was a star basketball player at San Diego State in the early 1930s and he says that's where he learned the value of physical exercise in staying healthy.
"And furthermore I was a very active at the beaches in San Diego where I grew up. I was a lifegaurd and I saved many beautiful girls from drowning. A lot of them didn't even know they were in trouble."
Linkletter's lively sense of humor and positive outlook have made him one of the most popular people in the entertainment business for more than 60 years. He created his People are Funny and House Party shows on radio in the 40s and took them to television in the 50s. People who don't know anything else about Linkletter know he wrote a bunch of books about kids who say the darndest things. In fact he's written more than 20 books on kids, living life and his marriage of 73 years and counting. He says the key to staying healthy in old age is to keep busy doing something that's meaningful.
"So when you wake up in the morning and say, oh boy here comes another day, I could do this or that, and you keep growing and changing and risking and taking on new projects. And also watching your health and your diet so you don't get fat or do things that are bad for your brain."
And focus on the trip, not the destination. Words to live by, from Art Linkletter, who has come a long way for a guy who was born in poverty in Moosejaw Saskatchewan, abandoned by his birth parents at the age of two, and adopted by a minister who gave him his family name of Linkletter. He'll tell that story tomorrow at the Buckingham Retirement Community on Woodway. There's more information on our website KUHF dot org. Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio News.