Over 60s life: this couple conquered acting careers in retirement
Angie and Edson Chace raised a few eyebrows when they pursued a new acting career aged 68 and 76. But they've proved age is no barrier to success!
“We’ve always been very shy individuals” - Angie Chace.
“For most of our working lives, like many people, we would blend into the background, never really putting ourselves forward and staying quite reserved. Then, when we retired, we thought what does it matter? Why shouldn’t we have a go?”
Angie and Edson dived right into their pursuit of acting, trying many new opportunities that would cross their paths. From nude life modelling to starring in a Clint Eastwood film to being extras in EastEnders, the Southsea based couple have had a whirlwind retirement, starting with their first role, starring in a music video for the Asian Dub Foundation which they filmed at London’s Brick Lane.
“I saw an ad pop up on the internet which was calling for business people to star in a video on YouTube.”“My husband and I used to work in finance, so I thought why not? We travelled to London, and it was a real eye-opener. We had to act like we were in a “gang” – my husband wore his tie round his head, and we got covered in spray paint, it was a lot of fun.” - Angie
It was here that Angie and Edson got talking to some regular “extras” who encouraged them to sign to an agency. They then went on to star in numerous TV ads for the likes of Haagen Dazs; breakdown cover providers, The AA; Gordon’s Gin; and the Post Office.
The couple were also part of the hit cast of the coming-of-age drama film, “An Education”, which was nominated for three Academy Awards in 2010. On set, they spent four days as extras posing in 60s style clothing.
“Our first date was a trip to the cinema to watch the Sound Of Music in 1966.”
Married for over 50 years, Angie and Edson originally met at work, when they were both employed by a hydraulics manufacturing company.
“We had quite boring jobs really. When I first saw Edson, I thought he was really trendy. He had long hair, and I think he felt sorry for me because I was always the one that had to go and fetch the coffees. I would have to balance them all on a tray and he would come and help me.”
Now, they’re new homeowners at McCarthy Stone’s Tudor Rose Court Retirement Living Plus development. Having longed to retire to the sea, they left behind their large bungalow in Forestside in Hampshire and decided to embark on a new life together with nothing holding them back.
“We were quite isolated where we were, out in the countryside. It was lovely, but we were keen to try and move before we needed to. You never know what is round the corner, and while we’re both in good health, we wanted to live our retirement to the full. When we saw the development at Southsea we knew, instantly it was for us. We put our house on the market, and that was it because we knew we wouldn’t get another opportunity like this one to live in the location we’d dreamed of.”
Since retiring, they have opened their horizons by joining a talent agency which has placed them in over a dozen exciting roles.
“When our friends and family found out what we were doing they thought we were mad, but now they think it’s great. One lady even recognised me in the hairdressers – she said she’d seen the card in a garden centre!” - Angie
Throwing caution to the wind, one of the couple’s more adventurous endeavours has been posing nude for a photo-shoot, and the photograph now adorns humorous greetings cards up and down the country. Angie has also posed in a bikini for the likes of the Daily Mail and Daily Mirror, receiving a small fee for the photos.
“The [nude] shoot was a little out of our comfort zone, and it did take a lot of courage, but it was a real laugh – Edson was driving a car while I was sitting backwards with the wind in my hair and just the folded-down roof covering my breasts!”
Not ones to turn down an opportunity, they’ve taken part as audience members and participants on The Richard and Judy Show, BBC Watchdog, and even played the comedian Jack Whitehall’s parents in a sketch show, which saw them walk in and surprise Jack in bed with a girlfriend.
“Through our pictures, I wanted to show that age is no barrier and everyone can feel beautiful at any time in their life.” - Angie Chace.
Angie is confident that deciding to downsize and move from their three bedroom bungalow to a more manageable, low maintenance apartment with McCarthy Stone, gave them time back to do all the things that they enjoy. When they’re not acting or modelling, they spend much of their time fixing things around the house and tending to their large garden.
“I wish we’d both had the confidence we have now when we were at work”
“We were so focused on the day-to-day paying of bills, the worry of one of us losing our jobs, of paying the mortgage, and we didn’t allow ourselves to just let go and have fun! " - Angie
When we asked them what their most memorable shoot is, Angie said, “Spit Bank Fort” which coincidentally, they now live opposite.
“We had to fake a wedding; it was such good fun. And after Edson ‘married’ me he then took part in a gay wedding – the cutting of the cake, opening Champagne that sort of thing. I don’t think either of us have ever laughed so much; it was just brilliant.”
The facilities at Tudor Rose Court were a big selling point for the couple. Thanks to its restaurant serving freshly prepared meals daily, the couple are no strangers to inviting friends and family over to enjoy a slap-up meal.
"It’s like living in a hotel”, says Angie. “We get everyone over, we can wine and dine them, and I have none of the clearing up!”
Before lockdown it was also an ideal location for her 94-year-old mother to visit. She lives in a care home but used to take a taxi to Tudor Rose Court once a fortnight.
“It was perfect for Mum, as unlike our previous home there’s level access throughout for her wheelchair, and as we’re just a short walk from the beach, we enjoyed taking her to the promenade for some fresh air, which did her the world of good.”
The couple like to stay active themselves, they both do aerobics, lift weights, power walk and jog to keep fit. Angie also does the hula-hoop, while Edson has been playing cricket for many years and before restrictions was playing every week in a 20/20 friendly match.
When asked what their next modelling or acting role will be, Angie says nothing is out the question.
“For us, it’s about enjoying whatever comes our way – we hope to travel more (we’ve enjoyed many fantastic holidays including the Maldives), and just enjoy time together doing the things we love. We feel like newly-weds again, and it’s great!”