Archive Page - 08/16/13 41 years, 2,180 covers and 55,278 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: In His Own Words
- Jessa Duggar's Wedding Album
- Brittany Maynard's Final Days
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- June 09, 1986
- Vol. 25
- No. 23
Black Belt Granny Lucille Thompson Is Alive and Kicking at 90
Her family's reaction was mixed. While her eldest daughter and all seven of her grandchildren were "tickled," her youngest daughter, 55, with whom she was living at the time, "tightened her jaws," Thompson remembers. "People thought I was nuts," she says. " 'You're the ones who are nuts,' I told 'em. 'You're gonna get older while I get younger.' "
Born in Iowa, the daughter of a Methodist minister, Thompson had a proper Victorian upbringing and "was never encouraged to do anything athletic." At 4'11" and 109 pounds when she signed on for martial arts she was hardly an imposing specimen. "At first when she kicked," says her teacher, Master Min Kyo Han, 49, "I had to support her." In a remarkable 20 months, the gray-haired granny earned a black belt—making her the oldest person ever to achieve one in tae kwon do—and a nickname: "Killer."
Thompson walks the streets without fear now. Her fingers are nimble and her back, which was beginning to hunch over, is as straight as a flagpole. A few months ago Thompson moved into a senior citizens' apartment complex located two blocks from the academy. Now a media darling who has broken up objects and audiences on programs like The Tonight Show, Thompson has even added name-dropping to her impressive Oriental arsenal. "Johnny Carson's very gentle," she reveals, "but when I yelled he really jumped."
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!