Jeanne Calment


Jeanne Calment

Infobox Person
name= Jeanne Calment
birth_date= birth date|1875|2|21
birth_place= Arles, France
death_date= death date|1997|8|4 (aged age in years and days|1875|2|21|1997|8|4)
death_place= Arles, France
spouse= Fernand Calment (lived: 1868-1942, married: 1896-1942)

Jeanne Louise Calment (IPA2|ʒan lwiz kalˈmɑ̃; February 21, 1875August 4, 1997) was a Frenchwoman with the longest confirmed lifespan in history at 122 years and 164 days (44,724 days in total). [The Guinness Book of Records, 1999 edition, p.102, ISBN 0851120709.] She lived in Arles, France, for her entire life, and outlived both her daughter and grandson. Because her husband was wealthy, she never worked, instead living a comfortable lifestyle. She became well-known from the age of 113, when the centenary of Vincent van Gogh brought reporters to Arles, as she was the last person living to have met the artist. She entered the Guinness Book of Records in 1988, and in 1993 was declared the oldest person who had ever lived (while discounting the disputed case of Shigechiyo Izumi). Her lifespan has been thoroughly documented by scientific study, with more records having been produced to verify her age than for any other case.

Biography

Calment was born in Arles and lived there for all of her life.cite news |first=Craig R. |last=Whitney |title=Jeanne Calment, World's Elder, Dies at 122 |url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C01E7D7113DF936A3575BC0A961958260 |publisher=New York Times |date=1997-08-05 |accessdate=2008-08-04 ] Her father, Nicolas, was a shipbuilder, and her mother, Marguerite, was from a family of millers. Her close family members also lived to an advanced age: her older brother, François, lived to the age of 97, her father to 93, and her mother to 86. In 1896, she married her second cousin (grandson of her great-uncle) Fernand Calment,cite web |title=Validation of Exceptional Longevity — Jeanne Calment: Validation of the Duration of Her Life |url=http://www.demogr.mpg.de/books/odense/6/09.htm |publisher=Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research |accessdate=2008-08-04 ] a wealthy store owner. His wealth made it possible for Calment never to have to work; instead she led a relaxed lifestyle, pursuing hobbies like tennis, cycling, swimming, rollerskating, piano and opera. Her husband died in 1942 after eating a dessert prepared with spoiled cherries. [cite news |title=MILESTONES |url=http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,986874,00.html |publisher=Time |date=1997-08-18 |accessdate=2008-08-04 ]

She had one daughter, Yvonne, who was born in 1898, and a grandson, Frédéric, born in 1926. She outlived her daughter, who died at age 36 in 1934 from pneumonia. Frédéric became a doctor, and Calment outlived him as well after he died in 1963 due to a motorcycle accident.cite news |title=World's oldest person dies at 122 |url=http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/9708/04/obit.oldest/ |publisher=CNN |date=1997-08-04 |accessdate=2008-08-04 ]

In 1965, aged 90, with no living heirs, Jeanne Calment signed a deal to sell her former apartment to lawyer Andrei-François Raffray, on a contingency contract. Raffray, then aged 47, agreed to pay her a monthly sum of 2,500 francs until she died, an agreement sometimes called a "reverse mortgage". Raffray ended up paying Calment more than the equivalent of $180,000, which was more than double the apartment's value. His widow was still paying Calment until she died, after Raffray had died of cancer at the age of 77.

Recognition

In 1955, at the age of 80, Calment appeared in a behind-the-scenes short film "Vincent Van Gogh: Darkness Into Light", made by MGM, and narrated by producer Dore Schary, to promote "Lust for Life" (1956), based on the life of Vincent Van Gogh. In the film, she is introduced to star Kirk Douglas as someone who knew Van Gogh. [Turner Classic Movies screening of film July 2007, IMDB notes.]

In 1985, Calment moved into a nursing home, having lived on her own until age 110. Nevertheless, she did not gain international fame until 1988, when the centenary of Vincent van Gogh's visit to Arles provided an occasion to meet reporters. She said at the time that she had met Van Gogh 100 years before, i.e. in 1888, as a thirteen-year-old girl in her uncle's fabric shop, where he wanted to buy some canvas, later describing him as "dirty, badly dressed and disagreeable", and "very ugly, ungracious, impolite, sick".

At the age of 114, she appeared briefly in the 1990 film "Vincent and Me" as herself, making her the oldest actress ever. A French documentary film about her life, entitled "Beyond 120 Years with Jeanne Calment", was released in 1995.cite web |title=Tribute to Jeanne Calment, memorial — Lasting tribute |url=http://www.lastingtribute.co.uk/tribute/calment/2603938 |publisher=Lasting Tribute |accessdate=2008-08-05 ] In 1996, to celebrate her 121st birthday, a record company released "Time's Mistress", a four-track CD of her speaking over a background of rap and hip hop.cite news |title=Believed to be world's oldest, woman in France dies at 122 |url=http://supercentenarian.com/oldest/jeanne-calment.html |date=1997-08-04 |publisher=Houston Chronicle |accessdate=2008-08-05 ] After her 122nd birthday, it was decided she should get no more publicity, as her health had seriously deteriorated, and she died five months later.

Record breaking

After her 1988 interview, at age 113, Calment was given the Guinness Records' "world's oldest living person" title. However, in 1990, the title was withdrawn and given to Carrie C. White of Florida, who was claimed to have been born in 1874, although this has been disputed by subsequent census research.cite news |first=Ronda |last=Addy |title=Life expectancy |url=http://www.sunjournal.com/index.php?t=8&storyid=267178&subpub=118 |publisher=Sun Journal |date=2008-05-25 |accessdate=2008-08-06 ]

On White's death on February 14, 1991, Calment, then a week shy of 116, became the oldest recognized living person.cite web |url=http://www.recordholders.org/en/list/oldest.html#3 |title=The Oldest Human Beings |publisher=Recordholders.org |accessdate=2008-08-06 ] In 1993, she entered the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest living person, whose birthdate could be reliably authenticated. On October 17, 1995 Calment reached 120 years and 238 days to become the Guinness Records' "oldest person ever", surpassing Shigechiyo Izumi of Japan, whose own claim (120 years, 237 days old at his death in 1986) has also been subject to some doubt. If the cases of Shigechiyo Izumi and Carrie White are discounted, Calment is the first person documented to reach 115, 116, 117, 118 and 119 years old. She is also the only person to have undisputedly lived at least 120 years.

Following Calment's death on August 4, 1997, then almost 117-year-old Marie-Louise Meilleur of Canada became the oldest living recognized person in the world.

Health status

Calment's remarkable health presaged her later record. At age 85, she took up fencing, and at 100, she was still riding a bicycle. Jeanne lived on her own until shortly before her 110th birthday, when it was decided that she needed to be moved to a nursing home. However, Jeanne was still in good shape, and was able to walk until a fall at age 114 years and 11 months, which required surgery. She reportedly attributed her longevity and relatively youthful appearance for her age to olive oil, which she said she poured on all her food and rubbed onto her skin, as well as a diet of port wine, and nearly 2 pounds of chocolate eaten every week. Jeanne Calment smoked until she was 117, and only quit when she could no longer see well enough to light the cigarettes.

ee also

* Aging
* Lifespan
* List of the oldest people
* Longevity claims (for information on competing, but unsuccessfully verified claims of longevity)
* Longevity myths (for information on far-fetched claims of longevity)
* Oldest people
* Senescence
* Supercentenarian

References

Further reading

*cite book | last=Allard | first=Michel | coauthors=Lebre, Victor; Robine, Jean-Marie; Calment, Jeanne | year=1998 | title=Jeanne Calment: From Van Gogh's Time to Ours : 122 Extraordinary Years | location=New York | publisher=W.H. Freeman | isbn=0-7167-3251-3
*cite book | last=Robine | first=Jean-Marie | coauthors=Allard, Michel | year=1999 | title=Jeanne Calment: Validation of the Duration of Her Life | series=Validation of Exceptional Longevity | editor=Jeune, Bernard; Vaupel, James W. (eds) | publisher=Odense University Press | isbn=87-7838-466-4

External links

*findagrave|1864
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Persondata
NAME= Calment, Jeanne Louise
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Super centenarian
DATE OF BIRTH= February 21, 1875
PLACE OF BIRTH= Arles, France
DATE OF DEATH=August 4, 1997
PLACE OF DEATH= Arles, France


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