Oldest person in the world
turned 122 on February 21, 1997

Jeanne Louise Calment 
Photo by N'geen Tien-Gamma Liasion   

Jeanne Louise Calment was born in Arles, France on February 21, 1875. She once met Vincent Van Gogh in her father's shop. Her genes may have contributed to her longevity as her father lived to the age of 94 and her mother to the age of 86. She married a distant cousin at the age of 21. Her only grandson died in 1963. She rode a bicycle to the age of 100.

In October of 1995, much press coverage announced that Jeanne had exceeded the lifespan of Shigechiyo (Chigechiyo) Izumi, who until then had held the claim to the longest lived human. In fact, work by John Wilmoth indicates that Izumi may have only been 105 when he died, meaning that Jeanne may have outlived Izumi in 1980. If that is accurate, Jeanne would have become the longest lived human in 1991 when she exceeded the longevity of Carrie White, who died at the age of 116. 

Quotes attributed to Jeanne Calment:

  • In life, one sometimes makes bad deals.

Comments on the notary public, Andre-Francois Raffray, who purchased her apartment, promising to pay $500 per month until Jeanne died. He paid twice the market value for the apartment before dying in December of 1995.

Comments on her vision of the future on her 120th birthday.

  • I've been forgotten by a good God. (or L'Oubliée de Dieu?)
  • I've only got one wrinkle and I'm sitting on it. (Je n'ai jamai eu qu'une seule ride et je suis assise dessus.)
  • I'm a normal woman.
  • I am very brave and I'm afraid of nothing.
  • I took pleasure when I could. I acted clearly and morally and without regret. I'm very lucky.

Jeanne Calment published a CD and a VCR tape titled "Maitresse du Temps". 


Jeanne Calment, the world's oldest person, died at 122 on Monday August 4, 1997.

Living Longer: It's not unusual - The case of Ma Pampo


Here's another interesting email we received...

---- Original Message
-----From: Zack Covell
Sent: Monday, March 08, 2004 1:55 PM
Subject: Hello

I recently read your post on the internet from the following web address: http://www.wowzone.com/pampo.htm

The oldest, conclusive, case of old age ever was Li Ching-yuen from China. He was born in 1678 and died in 1930.  Scientists traced his roots and found him to be survived by some 180+ family members at the time of his death.  252 years old. 

Just wanted to let you know.

Zack Covell

Thanks, Zack!

Just the facts, please.

We are proud to share some very important information on aging provided to us in April 2004 by Robert Young, Senior Claims Investigator of the Gerontology Research Group. 

Mr. Young stated that to this day, Jeanne Calment is the still the oldest person who ever  lived, and the only one in the Guiness Book of Records. He sent us a list of 732 people who live(d) long lives. The world's oldest person is usually between 114 and 116 years old. Of course, Mr. Young is only interested in documented facts, not guessing games. There may be older people than Jeanne Calment living in world today, but if there is no birth certificate to prove it, it's not validated. 

For example, Here's what Mr. Young says regarding the case of Ma Pampo: "The claim was not made until she was "124" in 1999. The baptismal document was a 1979 copy, not an original.  The "birth certificate" was written in 2000.  There is simply no proof that Elizabeth Israel / Ma Pampo lived to 128 years old.  Rather, this case is an AGE-EXAGGERATED CASE.  When Dominica began tracking their oldest-old, there were two other claimants, including Rose Peters, "118", and Eliza Philip, "114."  Strangely enough, now that records are being kept, Dominica's oldest person is a mere 105 years old (since the October 2003 death of Ma Pampo). What they did not understand is that claims like Ma Pampo's are really errors on paper.  Once you begin to keep detailed records, it suddenly becomes clear that these cases are not true."

As for the case of Li Ching-yuen from China, here's Mr. Young opinion, in his own words: "Suffice it to say the reference to the 256-year-old Chinese man is ludicrous.  The claim was based on the Daoist religion--a multiple of 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256.  There is absolutely no truth to such a claim.  People believe it only for religious, not scientific, reasons."

Research has shown that only one in a thousand people aged 100 years old reach age 110. Of those who reach age 110, only 1 in 5000 reach age 120.  Jeanne Calment is three years older than the next proven, undisputed case (Sarah Knauss of the U.S., aged 119)."

This information was personally provided for publication on WOW Zone by 

Robert Young
Senior Claims Investigator
Gerontology Research Group

Visit WOW Zone regularly for more age related news and breakthroughs.


If you have any news, write to us: hello@wowzone.com 

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