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How Late Is Too Late?
Tony Randall Says Never


When they finish mapping the human genome and tinkering with our DNA it'll be no big deal to live to 150. Whether we'll be able to field a grounder is another matter. And what about having kids? Fortunately, a few intrepid men have already donated their bodies to science to serve as guinea pigs. Hugh Hefner, 74, had a couple of late-life offspring (no, not those twins-his own kids) and seems none the worse for wear. Yassir Arafat, 71, juggles crusading for peace and populating Palestine. Congrats to Warren Beatty, 63, whose wife Annette Benning gave birth to a baby girl soon after she got aced for an Oscar. The grand-prize goes to Saul Bellow, distinguished man of letters, who put down his quill long enough to father a child at age 84. He was too busy, unfortunately, to respond to our query. Not so Tony Randall, 79, beloved actor and doting new dad, who faxed us the following:

"When Julia was two I hurt my back and couldn't pick her up. She said, 'When your back is better, then will you be able to pick me up?' Think of the complicated grammar of that sentence-the conditional first clause, the future assured of the second. How did a two-year old formulate such a sentence? For that matter, how did she know my back would get better? When I put Jefferson to bed-he's one-I wait until I think he's asleep and then creep out. He says, 'Not yet.' Imagine that! How did he know those words, that concept of time?

"Now imagine the pleasure of a man who wanted children all his life.

"I hope Jefferson will become an actor better than his old man. My only sorrow is that I'll never be able to act with him."

Thank you, Tony, for the heartfelt thoughts. Now bend down and work that video camera.













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