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Randee Heller Plays Don's Secretary Ida Blankenship on Mad Men

A Fortunate By-Product of a Youth-Obsessed Culture

This season's breakout Mad Men character is Don's punitive secretary, Ida Blankenship. I've contemplated how old this character is supposed to be several times. Eighty-five? No, no 85-year-old would be a secretary, not even in 1965. I settled on late 70s, which still seems unrealistically old, and chalked it up to a possible, but well worth it, oversight. However, actress Randee Heller, who plays the disaster of a secretary, told the Daily Beast she's supposed to be 68.


To become Miss Blankenship, Randee spends two hours having her face scrunched and taped and blown dry with powder. Yet Randee is close in age at 63, five years younger than her 68-year-old spinster character.

Maybe it was all the smoking in the '60s? More likely it was that women, and society, embraced aging. Appearing younger longer has become the norm, and today older females get flack for acting too young. But if putting old age off as long as possible is a by-product of a cultural pursuit of youth, then is it so bad?

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Join The Conversation
stephley stephley 5 years
"Putting off old age as long as possible" is a foolish notion. Just be who you are and don't obsess over the number of birthdays you've had - just be grateful that you're still having them.
chloe-bella chloe-bella 5 years
I don't know, I think you're reading too much into the casting of one character on a fictional tv show. There's no way society was more accepting of aging back then than it is now. I think it's actually the opposite.
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