Jeanne Calment on her 122nd birthday
|Birth:||21 February 1875|
|Death:||4 August 1997|
|Age:||122 years, 164 days|
Jeanne Louise Calment (21 February 1875 – 4 August 1997) was a French woman who reached the longest confirmed lifespan in history at 122 years, 164 days (44,724 days in total). Her lifespan has been thoroughly documented by scientific study; more records have been produced to verify her age than for any other case. She was the second verified and undisputed person to reach their 115th birthday (after Augusta Holtz), and the first verified and undisputed person to reach 116, 117, 118, 119, 120, 121, and 122. She remains the only person verified to have reached the ages of 120, 121, and 122.
Born in Arles, France, her close family members also lived to an advanced age: her brother, Francois, lived to the age of 97, her father, Nicolas, 92, and her mother, Marguerite, 86.
In 1896, she married her second cousin (grandson of her great-uncle) Fernand Calment, a wealthy store owner. His wealth made it possible for Calment to never have to work; instead she led a relaxed lifestyle, pursuing hobbies like tennis, cycling, swimming, rollerskating, piano and opera. Her husband died in 1942 after eating a dessert that happened to contain spoiled cherries.
Jeanne and her husband had a daughter, Yvonne (19 January 1898 – 19 January 1934), who died from pneumonia on her 36th birthday. Jeanne outlived her grandson Frederic as well. Frederic Billot (23 December 1926 – 13 August 1963), Yvonne's son, died in an automobile accident. Calment was very healthy for her age. She lived on her own until two weeks before her 110th birthday. But after a small fire set in her house one day, she moved to a nursing home.
Jeanne Calment was first publically recognized for her longevity when she was 113 years old. She reported that she had seen Vincent van Gogh (who died in 1890) when she was 13 years old. This claim made her appear in the 1990 movie Vincent and Me, where she played herself, and became the oldest person ever to appear in a film.
After the death of Florence Knapp on 11 January 1988, she became the world's oldest verified living person and she became the oldest verified person ever after surpassing the record of Augusta Holtz on 11 May 1990. However, Carrie C. White claimed to have been older than Calment, but her original claim to 116 is disputed, and she may have been 102 years old instead. On 17 October 1995, she surpassed the at-the-time verified age of Shigechiyo Izumi to become the oldest person ever at 120 years, 238 days old. However, Izumi's claim is now disputed.
She died on 4 August 1997 at the age of 122 years, 164 days.
- Gerontology Research Group
- Jeanne Calment: Validation of the Duration of Her Life by J.-M. Robine and M. Allard
- Oldest person in the world turned 122 on 21 February 1997