Betty White’s second career act as cult star

It’s not like being a TV star is new for Betty White — by the time she won a role on the Mary Tyler Moore Show in the 1970s, she’d already been on television for decades.

But I don’t recall hearing much from Betty after the Golden Girls ended. Until a few months ago.

Then it seemed pop culture couldn’t get enough of Betty White.

Click here to watch Betty White hosting Saturday Night Live, via Hulu.

According to Wikipedia:

A grassroots campaign on Facebook called “Betty White to Host SNL (Please)” began in January 2010. The group was approaching 500,000 members when it was confirmed on March 11, 2010 that White would host Saturday Night Live on May 8, 2010, making her, at age 88, the oldest person to host the show, beating out Miskel Spillman (the winner of SNL’s “Anybody Can Host” contest, who was 80 when she hosted in 1977).[14] White hosted Saturday Night Live on May 8, 2010, garnering the show its highest ratings since the November 1, 2008 episode hosted by Ben Affleck.[15]

And that’s after she traded sexual innuendos with George Clooney at the Screen Actors Guild in January:

Veteran Golden Girls star Betty White had earlier joked in her acceptance speech for her life achievement award that she had ‘had a couple’ of the celebrities in the audience and grinned: ‘You know who you are!’

Clooney, 48, carried on the joke, telling the audience: ‘I think it was in 1987 I did an episode of The Golden Girls. I would like to thank Betty White for her discretion. A friend of mine told me she was a bobcat in the sack,’ he joked. ‘I don’t know where that came from. It was a friend.’

Shortly thereafter, she appeared in an acclaimed Snickers commercial during the SuperBowl:

Mary Sanchez of the Kansas City Star wrote a column about why Betty White has become a pop culture phenomenon, including noting the greying of America. She writes:

Betty White is the future. Or she could be. Obviously not everyone will enjoy her relative good health, her mass marketable talents and cheery disposition. But, as a role model, few beat the spunk of Betty White. Long live the Golden Girl!

I’m fascinated by Betty’s sudden resurgence. What do you think it’s about? Youthful fascination with an 88-year-old who’s still going strong — or something more specific about her career, her sense of humor, her playfulness?

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Categories: career, creativity

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1 reply

  1. Her sense of humor is such a gift! Did you see the clip of her on Jimmy Fallon, who asked her about being on SNL with Jay-Z. She quipped, quoting the rapper’s hit song, “Jay-Z has 99 problems…but this bitch ain’t one.” The timing was classic, and Fallon lost it. Hysterical. And I say, good for her!

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