Age fabrication

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Age fabrication occurs when an individual deliberately misrepresents his or her true age. This is usually done with the intent to garner privileges or status that would not otherwise be available to the individual. It may be done through the use of oral or written statements or through the altering, doctoring or forging of vital records.

On some occasions, age is increased so as to make cut-offs for minimum legal or employable age in showbusiness or professional sports. Sometimes it is not the people themselves who lower their public age, but others around them such as publicists, parents, and other handlers. Most cases involve taking or adding one or two years to their age. However, in more extreme cases such as with Al Lewis and Charo, a decade has been added or subtracted. Official state documents (such as birth, marriage and death certificates, the census, and other identity documents) typically provide the correct date.

Although uncommon in modern Western society, it is still possible for an individual not to know his or her exact date of birth. Such an individual may arbitrarily choose a date of birth which after later research is found to be false. This situation should not be considered age fabrication as there is no obvious intent to deceive on the part of the individual.

Subtracting time from one's age is often known in English as "shaving", while adding time to one's age may be referred to as "padding".


In sports, people may falsify their age to make themselves appear younger thus enabling them compete in world-level junior events (with prominent examples appearing in football (soccer)[1] and athletics.[2][3] In gymnastics, diving, and figure skating,[4] competitors may claim to be older in order to bring themselves over the age minimums for senior competition or below an age limit for junior competition. A female pair skater may be aged up while her male partner may be aged down to allow them to compete together.[4] In some cases, they may feel pressure to change their ages.[5] As these fabrications have an effect upon a person's performance (through the greater athleticism of age or greater flexibility of youth), the practice is known as age cheating in the field of sports.[6]

In the entertainment industry[edit]

Age fabrication is common in the entertainment industry. Many actresses subtract at least one year from their actual age so that producers and casting directors will be more likely to hire them for roles, or for publicity purposes. Time joked in 1949:[9]

To find the age of a star, a Hollywood press-agent takes the year of her (or his) birth, subtracts it from itself, and burns the paper the numbers were written on; then adds last week's fan mail to the box-office receipts from the star's last picture, subtracts her salary, divides the remainder by the number of pressagents assigned to care for her career, subtracts the number of her marriages, adds three months for every child she has had (things grow fast in the sub tropics), and knocks off ten years just for gallantry. If the age is still higher than the one the boss ordered, he works in slight mathematical errors until the answer comes out right.[9]



In politics[edit]


There are many stories of men lying about their age to join the armed forces, for example to fight in World War I.[28] Conversely, those wishing to avoid conscription may also falsify their age: the birthdate of Henryk Gulbinowicz, Bishop Emeritus of Wroclaw, Poland and a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, was changed from 1923 to 1928 by his parents and his parish priest to prevent him from being conscripted during World War II.[29]


  1. ^ "Forever young: Nigerian football's age-old problem". The Guardian. February 21, 2010. Retrieved June 12, 2011. 
  2. ^ Amok, Isa (2006-08-10). Age cheating as serious as doping, says IAAF. ESPN. Retrieved on April 9, 2011.
  3. ^ Bhugaloo, Sandesh (2009-11-09). Age cheating rampant in African football. Radio Netherlands Worldwide. Retrieved on April 9, 2011.
  4. ^ a b "China eyed over 9 athletes' ages". ESPN. Associated Press. February 14, 2011. Retrieved February 14, 2011. 
  5. ^ 改年齡在中國體壇才能生存 [Changing age to survive in Chinese sports] (in Chinese). Xinhua News Agency. February 17, 2011. Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved February 17, 2011. 
  6. ^ Tang, Yue (2010-07-29). Chinese athletics officials: No more age cheats. China Daily. Retrieved on April 9, 2011.
  7. ^ Little League investigating: SI uncovers document that disputes Almonte's age. AP. August 27, 2001.
  8. ^ Feinstein, John (2000). The Majors: In Pursuit of Golf's Holy Grail. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. p. 199. ISBN 0-316-27795-9. 
  9. ^ a b "Elizabeth Taylor: Star Rising". Time. August 22, 1949. Retrieved March 23, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Ancestry of Gracie Allen". July 18, 2002. Retrieved August 2, 2010. 
  11. ^ Powell, Larry (Feb 7, 1999). "Exact age for Charo leaves plenty of wiggle room". The Dallas Morning News. pp. 38A. 
  12. ^ AP. Actor 'Grandpa Munster' Al Lewis Dies. February 5, 2006. Retrieved February 6, 2006.
  13. ^ Shadow interview with Al Lewis. Retrieved February 6, 2006.
  14. ^ Syracuse New Times. Al Lewis runs for Governor. 1998. Retrieved February 6, 2006.
  15. ^ New York Times. Hey, Whose Grandpa Didn't Tell Some Tales? by Dan Barry. February 11, 2006. Retrieved April 5, 2008.
  16. ^ Social Security Death Index Interactive Search. Hosted by RootsWeb.
  17. ^ Krajicek, David. "A Porn Star Is Born". Archived from the original on December 4, 2008. Retrieved December 7, 2008. Roger had provided Nora with fake identification that added 5 years to her age. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ Goslett, Miles; Tapper, James (August 10, 2009). "Amanda Redman says she is dreading turning 50. Well, it's a bit late for that – as her 1957 birth certificate proves". Daily Mail (London). 
  20. ^ Studio Briefing. News Share. October 16, 1998
  21. ^ Toni Tennille (June 17, 2006). "Toni's Take: Toni's Thoughts on Life, Music and Whatever...". Archived from the original on December 23, 2007. Retrieved November 27, 2007.  (scroll down to June 17, 2006 entry)
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^ Edwards, Natalie (13 October 2013). "Paloma Faith's SECRET MARRIAGE - she kept that VERY quiet". Mirror. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  25. ^ "Paloma Faith confronts claims she lies about her age and opens up about her secret marriage". Metro. 1 December 2013. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  26. ^ When was Stalin born?. Classical Values. Retrieved February 6, 2006. State and Power in Russia: Prominent Figures. Retrieved February 6, 2006.
  27. ^ Evita: The Real Life of Eva Peron by Nicholas Fraser and Maryssa Navarro
  28. ^ Recruitment into the British army of 1914–1918
  29. ^ "Polish cardinal found 5 years older than official listing; ineligible for papal conclave". Catholic World News, February 3, 2005.