Why is Betty White Suddenly Cool?

Hollywood’s so-called “it-girl” is 88 years old, proudly sporting wrinkles and thinning hair, and not exactly your standard screen goddess. Yup, it’s none other than the inimitable Betty White.

From The Wrap:

Fresh off her ratings bonanza as the oldest host ever of “Saturday Night Live,” with an MTV Movie Awards nomination in tow and now a surging campaign to host the Oscars – and re-host “SNL” — the resurgence of Betty White couldn’t be at more of a fever pitch.

I am so proud of American society for this. Seriously. This extremely talented woman is finally getting her due, and she is just taking the world by storm. It is so very cool. So why now? Well, according to The Wrap, “Thank Sandra Bullock.”

Indeed, the renewed interest in White started with the release of “The Proposal” last June, which White stole from both Bullock and Ryan Reynolds as the heart-attack-faking Granny Annie. And it was solidified when Bullock presented her the Life Achievement award at the Screen Actors Guild awards in January.

The role also garnered the 88-year old actress, who Bullock has called a “national treasure,” an MTV Movie Awards “Best WTF” Moment category nomination for her copping a feel of Bullock’s breasts.

In light of her recent accomplishments, it’s easy to forget about the full span of White’s fifty years in the celebrity world. White was born in Illinois and raised in L.A., becoming active in local theater before taking over as host of Al Jarvis’ music and interview show in 1952. White’s first sitcom, “Life with Elizabeth”, garnered her an Emmy in 1952. 1952! She went on to television success (“The Mary Tyler Moore Show”, “Love Boat”, “Mama’s Family”, “Maybe This Time”, “That ‘70s Show”, “The Bold and the Beautiful”, and of course “The Golden Girls”) as well as film roles in everything from Bringing Down the House to Lake Placid to The Story of Santa Claus.

Yeah, she was a presence long before The Proposal, although I’m the first to admit that prior to this year she was just “the dumb Golden Girl” in my mind. I became aware of the new phenomena of Betty White when I was watching the Super Bowl this year, then when my six-year-old accidentally watched The Proposal when my mother was babysitting her (“The grandmother was soooooooo funny!” my child opined).  Not to mention the fact that she was freaking hysterical on SNL.

And yet, she’s been freaking hysterical for fifty years … and she somehow slid under America’s collective radar. Uh, hope you’re ready, Betty, because those days are gone. You are now a major presence on Facebook, with groups centered around you popping up all over the site.

Certainly the digital generation have been right there with White since earlier this year when the “Betty White to Host SNL (Please?)!” campaign began on Facebook.

Starting out small, the idiosyncratic social media campaign ballooned to over 500,000 Facebook fans after White’s rip-roaring SAG acceptance speech.

“Her remarks at the SAG ceremony certainly resonated with the public,” said Guild President Ken Howard, an old friend of White’s. “She literally brought the house down with truly hilarious, off-the-cuff quips.


Now there are thriving Facebook campaigns to have White, who jokingly called the site “a huge waste of time” in her “SNL” monologue, run for president, re-host SNL and take center stage at the Oscars.

“I created it on Sunday night after reading online and seeing on TV all the response about how wonderful she was on ‘Saturday Night Live,’ which she was,” Doyle C. Durando, the fan behind Getting Betty White to Host the Academy Awards, told TheWrap.

“I just thought how great she would be on the Academy Awards and that was my motivation for creating the page. I went to bed with around 2,800 users — but by the next morning it had exploded.”

So are you on board with Betty White, an octogenarian movie star? Any explanation as to why, after half a century, she’s all that and a bag of chips (when she really was pretty cool all along)?

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14 thoughts on “Why is Betty White Suddenly Cool?

  1. I have no idea who she is. I pay very little attention to hollywood happenings, don’t own a tv, and rarely watch movies. I have a vague awareness of those who are flashed in front of me in the safeway checkout line, or the odd person in multiple movies I’ve seen, but that’s about it.
    But hey, people giving an older lady her due sounds good to me.

  2. Betty White never stopped being cool. She just is. Besides, in addition to the “dumb Golden Girl,” to me, she will always be known as Sue Ann Nivens. Now that’s comedy gold!

    • YES! I knew her first on the Mary Tyler Moore show on Nick At Nite reruns when Nick At Nite first started. She was amazing at that part. The recent surge in her popularity has made me so happy.

  3. Why do you think she flew under the radar? She is one of a very select group of women honored with a Dean Martin roast, she has SIX Emmys going all the way back to 1954, and she was a mainstay on television (especially game shows) for decades.

      • I’ve only owned Macs,are they the only computer that you can edit with. I’m serious,I know nothing about other formats,but I can edit away.

    • I didn’t know anything about her until she started showing up on tv and in the news recently. I think most of her fame happened before I was sentient.

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