Centenarian Spotlight Archive
One of Arizona’s great living treasures,
Leonard “Rosie” Ross is a testament to the
twin pillars of dedication and
Rosie turned 100 years old in early
2006; he is more active and mentally sharper
than many people much younger. As a lifelong
musician — he’s been playing trumpet
professionally since 1923 — Rosie hardly
ever slows down.
Click here to watch and listen to Rosie.
His life has been extraordinary; his many
accomplishments include being a member of
the band that replaced Glenn Miller’s band
and performing the “Retreat Ceremony” at the
nightly lowering of the our flag for General
Eisenhower in London during World War II.
Prescott, Arizona, is where Rosie has called
home for nearly three quarters of a century.
"I fell in love with it,” he says.
But he’s hardly a homebody. He can
be found every Friday night, without
exception, playing his trumpet at the Pine
Cone Inn in Prescott. He even drives himself
there! He is frequently called upon to play
“Taps” for services held by the American
Legion Color Guard and also plays private
parties and other gigs.
In addition, Rosie was chosen a few
years ago to represent Arizona in the
“Oldest Continuing Workers” celebration in
Washington, D.C. Rosie sat in with the band
at the Washington Hilton and schooled them
in showmanship! He has appeared in numerous
local newspaper and television stories and
is honored and valued by all who know him.
Asked to what he attributes his
longevity, he says it’s simple: a love of
performing. “I love to entertain and make
people happy. I look forward to each gig.
And that makes me happy. As long as people
want to hear Harry James ‘You Made Me Love
You’ or Clyde McCoy’s ‘Sugar Blues,’ I’ll be
here to play it for them!”
Genworth Financial TV commercial
Rosie is starring in a TV commercial, airing on CNN, CNBC,
Fox News and other networks, for Genworth Financial, an
insurance and investment company. Rosie is one of Genworth Financial's 100+ Stories - 100 Years of Living, Countless
Stories of Life.
National Centenarian Awareness Project is very proud of the
centenarians who participated in Genworth Financial's
advertising campaign. Again, these active centenarians are
showing America what its eldest citizens are all
about. Centenarians are the role models for the future of
aging, a statement that is one of the foundations of NCAP. Active
centenarians are breaking the mold, defying the stereotypes of old
age, and enjoying doing so.
NCAP is pleased again to have played an integral role in
presenting interesting centenarians for media involvement,
as well as offering an interesting opportunity to
centenarians. Our documentary, "Centenarians Tell It Like It
Is," and this website were used by the creators of these
commercials to "pitch" the client, demonstrating the
capabilities of centenarians. Genworth Financial is
pleased with the result, and we commend them for breaking
new ground in the advertising field!
Leonard "Rosie" Ross recently celebrated his 101st birthday at
his "home away from home," the Pine Cone Inn, where he's played
trumpet and entertained every Friday night for decades. It was a
full house, an invitation-only event and the hottest ticket in town.
Rosie's Birthday Celebration.
Rosie blows out the candles on one
of 11 birthday cakes (top left).
Rosie entertains his guests (top right).
Rosie with Lynn Adler (inset left), founder of
the National Centenarian Awareness Project.
Excerpt from The Wall Street
Journal, June 13, 2006
Insurer Celebrates Well-Lived Lives
Centenarians Star In Genworth Campaign - Will Boomers Be Turned Off?
By Kelly Greene
Many marketers have
avoided using the elderly in commercials targeting baby boomers,
worried that reminders of aging would turn them off. But insurer
Genworth Financial is featuring six centenarians — wrinkles and all
— in a series of television and print ads starting this week.
WPP Group’s Impact advertising agency in New York came
up with the idea of using vignettes of vibrant people in the
100-plus set to raise the profile of its insurance products, all of
which are tied to security in later life. The list includes life
insurance, long-term care insurance, annuities and mortgage
.... If the ads attract attention from consumers, too, so much the
better, says Buzz Richmond, Genworth’s senior vice president and
brand leader. “We thought this concept of centenarian would be a
fascinating story of no matter how long you live, it’s important to
plan for the future,” he says.
The people featured in the ads aren’t your
stereotypically frail elders. The first commercial, running on cable
networks including ESPN, CNN, Fox News and Discovery, shows
100-year-old Leonard “Rosie” Ross playing the trumpet — he still has
a regular Friday gig — and driving his own car.
... Mr. Richmond says he worried that the campaign could misfire
with baby boomers “in total denial about aging” and with younger
people who “don’t want to look at old people, period.” But when
Genworth employees, brokers and agents saw a mockup of the ads, he
adds, “the response basically was, ‘I want to be that person. I want
to be 100, and I want to be as healthy as that person when I get to
To find the six people finally chosen for the Genworth
campaign, Impact combed the Internet and worked with groups that
study centenarians [including NCAP] to assemble a pool of
about 80 people. It then whittled the group down to eight finalists
for four TV spots...
"Their frame of reference was so different from ours,"
says Rachel Howald, an Impact creative director. "They all
remembered seeing a car for the first time, and getting electricity
in their homes.”
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