Thirty years on, Pat Kenny looks like he hasn’t aged.
Kenny is 65 today, but it’s hard to believe the popular broadcaster has reached retirement age.
What is the secret to his youthful appearance and which other male celebrities are aging well (or not so well)? Pat hasn’t put on much weight — he cycles regularly (including a two-hour charity cycle in 2011) and often walks his dogs on south Dublin beaches.
His wife, Kathy, who turns 50 this year, is a positive influence. The two met at a tennis event and she’s still a keen player.
“I think the key thing with a lot of older men is not necessarily that they want to look younger, but they want to work on their health,” says John Belton, personal trainer and owner of No 17 PT gym in Dublin.
“Another really important thing with exercise is to find something that you enjoy doing, because it’s something you’ll maintain. Pat has obviously found exercises that suit him. He reminds me quite a lot of my own dad, who’s 65 and does duathlons and cycles a lot.
“One thing that I don’t think Pat does — or maybe he does and we just don’t know about it — is strength training. It’s not as common to do strength training in Ireland and it’s something that we don’t think about when we get older. As we get older, we do lose muscle tissue and that can cause problems, such as lack of bone density, increase of injury and sagging in the body.
“Even a couple of sessions of strength training a week — whether it’s on machines or doing things like squats and push-ups — can really help.”
Kenny has a healthy diet, which sets a good example for his two daughters, Kristina (20) and Nicole (18). Another factor is Pat’s sense of style.
“I think he looks very stylish and groomed — he has a great sense of detail when it comes to perfecting his suit with a tie, and his suits are very well-cut,” says model agent and stylist, Celia Holman Lee.
“Once you put a man in a suit, I think they look well-dressed. It can be trickier for older men to pull off the casual look, but I think a sports jacket, a pair of good chinos, and a nice, navy blazer can look really well.”
Hairstylist Eoin Wright, who owns Foundation hair salon in Dublin, says Pat’s look works well for him. “His hair hasn’t deviated for quite some time, but older gents don’t tend to deviate their look that much. With Pat’s hair, it’s in a side parting and it works well with the suits he wears — it’s like the Mad Men look.
“The two biggest mistakes that older men make with their hair are resorting to the comb-over, when they start to lose their hair, and home-colouring their hair. When guys get older, the pigmentation in their hair changes, and if they pick out the wrong colour hair dye it looks orangey and glows under a certain light.
“Pat’s hair colour looks very natural, so I doubt it’s being dyed. If he is dying it, he’s doing a good job.”
Which older male celebrities are getting it right?
“George Clooney carries himself well and I use him as an example of someone who puts a bit of colour in his hair to give it more tone,” says Eoin.
“Bruce Springsteen looks great. David Bowie’s style has always been out there a little bit more, but he has a very classic haircut and has that little bit of length to it. When it comes to home-grown icons, the U2 guys look great, but then I am biased, as I look after them.”
Mick Jagger doesn’t have a youthful complexion but he’s trim and has bags of energy on stage.
The 69-year-old works out regularly in the run-up to Rolling Stones tours (running, kickboxing and cycling), has a healthy diet, cuts back on his alcohol and, famously, has frequent sex.
Many showband singers gave athletic performances on stage for years and it’s kept them fit. Brendan Bowyer is 74, but still gives his shows tons of energy.
Dickie Rock keeps fit by performing around the country. The 76-year-old plays golf regularly and enjoys downtime at his holiday home in Spain.
His look hasn’t dramatically changed over the years. In his 2007 autobiography, Rock ended speculation about his hair by acknowledging that he’d been wearing a wig since his 20s.