Jeanne Calment: Wikis


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Jeanne Louise Calment

Calment celebrating her 121st birthday in 1996
Born 21 February 1875(1875-02-21)
Arles, France
Died 4 August 1997
(aged &0000000000000122.000000122 years, &0000000000000164.000000164 days)
Arles, France
Known for Longest confirmed lifespan
Spouse(s) Fernand Calment (lived: 1868–1942,
married: 1896–1942)

Jeanne Louise Calment (French pronunciation: [ʒan lwiz kalmɑ̃]; 21 February 1875 – 4 August 1997, 10:45 CET)[1] had the longest confirmed human life span in history, living 122 years and 164 days (44,724 days total).[2] She lived in Arles, France, for her entire life, and outlived both her daughter and grandson. She became especially well known from the age of 113, when the centenary of Vincent van Gogh's visit brought reporters to Arles, for she was the last person living to have met the artist. She entered the Guinness Book of Records in 1988, and on 17 October 1995 was declared the oldest person who had ever lived, having surpassed (the now dubious case of) Shigechiyo Izumi of Japan. Her life span has been thoroughly documented by scientific study, with more records having been produced to verify her age than for any other case.[3]



Calment at age 20 in 1895

Calment was born in Arles and lived there for all of her life.[1] 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 1888, Calment met Vincent van Gogh, who had come to her uncle's shop to buy paint. Calment would remember him as "dirty, badly dressed, and disagreeable".[4][5] In 1896, at the age of 21, she married her second cousin (grandson of her great-uncle) Fernand Calment,[3] a wealthy store owner. His wealth made it possible for Jeanne to never have to work; instead she led a leisured lifestyle, pursuing hobbies like tennis, cycling, swimming, rollerskating, piano and opera.[1] Her husband died in 1942 at the age of around 73 or 74 after eating a dessert prepared with spoiled cherries.[6] She had one daughter, Yvonne, who was born in 1898, and a grandson, Frédéric, born in 1926.[3] 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 in a motorcycle accident also at the age of 36.[7] In 1965, aged 90 years and with no heirs, Calment signed a deal to sell her former apartment to lawyer André-François Raffray, on a contingency contract. Raffray, then aged 47 years, 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 the equivalent of more than $180,000, which was more than double the apartment's value. After Raffray's death from cancer at the age of 77, in 1995, his widow continued the payments until Calment's death.[1]

Jeanne Calment, aged 22 years in 1897


Jeanne Calment in 1935, aged 60 years

In 1985, Calment moved into a nursing home, having lived on her own until age 110.[1] Her international fame escalated in 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 (though this is contested), 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".[1][7] Calment recalled selling coloured pencils to Van Gogh, and seeing the Eiffel Tower being built.[8] 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 by Daiei in 1995.[9] In 1996, to celebrate her 121st birthday, Tokuma Japan Communications released Time's Mistress, a four-track CD of her speaking over a background of rap and hip hop.[10] After her 122nd birthday, it was decided she would not do any more public speaking, as her health had seriously deteriorated. She died five months later.[9]

Record breaking

Calment at age 40 in 1915

After her 1988 interview, at age 113, Calment was given the Guinness title "world's oldest living person". However, in 1989, 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.[11] On White's death on 14 February 1991, Calment, then a week shy of 116, became the oldest recognized living person.[12] On 17 October 1995 Calment reached 120 years and 238 days to become the "oldest person ever" according to Guinness, surpassing Shigechiyo Izumi of Japan, whose own claim (120 years 237 days old at the time of his death in 1986) has also been subject to considerable doubt.[9] If the dubious cases of Shigechiyo Izumi and Carrie White are discounted, Calment is the first person documented to reach 115 years of age. She is also the only person to have undisputedly lived for 120 years (and beyond). Following Calment's death on 4 August 1997, then 116-year-old Marie-Louise Meilleur of Canada became the oldest living recognized person.[12]

Health and lifestyle

Calment's remarkable health presaged her later record. At age 85, she took up fencing, and at 100, she was still riding a bicycle. She was reportedly neither athletic, nor fanatical about her health.[8] Calment lived on her own until shortly before her 110th birthday, when it was decided that she needed to be moved to a nursing home after a cooking accident (she could barely see) started a small fire in her flat. However, Calment was still in good shape, and was able to walk until she fractured her femur during a fall at age 114 years and 11 months, which required surgery.[3][11] After her operation, Calment needed to use a wheelchair. She weighed 45 kilograms (99 lb) in 1994.[13] Calment became ill with influenza shortly before her 116th birthday.[14] She smoked until the age of 117, only five years before her death.[14][15][16] Calment smoked from the age of 21 (1896), though according to an unspecified source, Calment smoked no more than two cigarettes per day.[17] She ascribed 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 one kilo of chocolate eaten every week.[10]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f Whitney, Craig R. (5 August 1997). "Jeanne Calment, World's Elder, Dies at 122". New York Times. Retrieved 4 August 2008. 
  2. ^ The Guinness Book of Records, 1999 edition, p.102, ISBN 0-85112-070-9.
  3. ^ a b c d "Validation of Exceptional Longevity — Jeanne Calment: Validation of the Duration of Her Life". Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research. Retrieved 4 August 2008. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ http://www.wilsonsalmanac/book/fed21.html
  6. ^ "MILESTONES". Time. 18 August 1997.,9171,986874,00.html. Retrieved 4 August 2008. 
  7. ^ a b "World's oldest person dies at 122". CNN. 4 August 1997. Retrieved 4 August 2008. 
  8. ^ a b World's oldest person marks 120 beautiful, happy years
  9. ^ a b c "Tribute to Jeanne Calment, memorial — Lasting tribute". Lasting Tribute. Retrieved 5 August 2008. 
  10. ^ a b "Believed to be world's oldest, woman in France dies at 122". Houston Chronicle. 4 August 1997. Retrieved 5 August 2008. 
  11. ^ a b Addy, Ronda (25 May 2008). "Life expectancy". Sun Journal. Retrieved 6 August 2008. 
  12. ^ a b "The Oldest Human Beings". Retrieved 6 August 2008. 
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^ a b [2]
  15. ^ [3]
  16. ^ Whitney, Craig R. (5 August 1997). "Jeanne Calment, World's Elder, Dies at 122". New York Times. Retrieved 15 January 2009. 
  17. ^ [4]|An Exceptional Case of Human Longevity, Jeanne Calment, Gerontological Society of America, New Orleans, (23 Nov. 1993)|

Further reading

  • Allard, Michel; Lebre, Victor; Robine, Jean-Marie; Calment, Jeanne (1998). Jeanne Calment: From Van Gogh's Time to Ours : 122 Extraordinary Years. New York: W.H. Freeman. ISBN 0-7167-3251-3. 
  • Robine, Jean-Marie; Allard, Michel (1999). Jeune, Bernard; Vaupel, James W. (eds). ed. Jeanne Calment: Validation of the Duration of Her Life. Validation of Exceptional Longevity. Odense University Press. ISBN 87-7838-466-4. 

External links

Preceded by
Anna Eliza Williams
Oldest undisputedly recorded person ever
17 September 1989 – present
Preceded by
Shigechiyo Izumi
Oldest recorded person ever
17 October 1995 – present
Preceded by
Carrie C. White
Oldest recognized living person
14 February 1991 – 4 August 1997
Succeeded by
Marie-Louise Meilleur
Preceded by
Anna Eliza Williams
Oldest person in Europe
27 December 1987 – 4 August 1997
Succeeded by
Anitica Butariu

Simple English

[[File:|thumb|Jeanne Clament aged 22.]] Jeanne Louise Calment (February 21, 1875August 4, 1997) was a French supercentenarian who, at age 122 years 164 days, was the verified oldest person ever. She was active during her life, and lived on her own until she was almost 110, and talked a lot until months before her death. She became the undisputed oldest person ever in 1989.

Preceded by
Carrie C. White (disputed)
Oldest Recognized Living Person
February 14, 1991August 4, 1997
Succeeded by
Marie-Louise Meilleur


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