Star of The Golden Girls, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and a number of other sitcoms, 88-year old Betty White’s career seems to be bigger than ever in 2010. She is one of the most popular and talked about celebrities in America right now. It all started this year, when she was featured in a SuperBowl ad for Snickers candy bars and was tackled in the mud playing football with a bunch of guys.
Shortly later in May, she hosted Saturday Night Live as a result of a Facebook petition, “Betty White to host SNL” which ended up getting over one hundred thousand signatures. Now there is even a petition on Facebook for her to host the Oscars.
Return to Hollywood
White is still going strong with her new show on TV Land, Hot in Cleveland, with Valerie Bertinelli which was recently renewed for a second season. The series premier of the show attracted about 5 million viewers, making it the highest rated and most popular viewed telecast in the history of TV Land. She received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Screen Actors Guild Awards in January. She was also at the MTV Awards in June of this year where she was nominated for the “Best WTF Moment” for her role in the 2009 comedy, The Proposal with Sandra Bullock.
It is a bit surprising that Betty White has regained her popularity, especially with such a young audience. It seems that Hollywood is so focused on youth with so many celebrities having plastic surgery and trying anything to stay young, that someone like Betty White would have been given the boot decades ago. However, Hollywood has welcomed her back with open arms.
So how did this hip senior citizen make this amazing comeback? She must know a thing or two about PR. White certainly does not exhibit a typical “old woman” persona and has done a number of unusual things to make a young audience laugh. She played beer pong with Jimmy Fallon when she was a guest on his show. While she was on Craig Ferguson’s late night talk show, Betty played a prison guard, a Girl Scout, and even a cocaine smuggling accountant in the show’s skit segments. She will keep working in the entertainment industry as long as she keeps this public relations presence. On one hand, her image reflects a a sweet, honest, almost naïve octogenarian, but on the other hand, she can deliver humor that is sarcastic, even raunchy at times with a straight face, making her facade so unique.
White’s Ageless Appeal
Somehow, Betty White still appeals to people of all ages and has regained enormous popularity. She’s a wise-cracking grandma that has a certain charm that has lasted through the past several decades. It’s refreshing to see a woman of her age still having the celebrity stature that she does and still having the respect and support of Hollywood as well as the public. It doesn’t seem that White plans to slow down any time soon with the renewal of Hot in Cleveland and ongoing guest appearances on several shows. Whoever White’s public relations reps are, they seem to be doing quite a good job, but it seems that Betty’s best PR counselor is herself. Is White’s comeback a step away from Hollywood’s youth obsessed culture or will this Golden Girl’s moment fade away as quickly as it started?