Betty White, 88-Year-Old Comeback Kid

Betty White has tackled a lot of roles in her 88-plus years, but a tackle in a Super Bowl commercialtickled the fancy of a whole new generation of fans.

When White got up, she found herself the object of an unusually persistent Facebook campaign to convince "Saturday Night Live" that she should be a guest host.

CBS News correspondent Richard Schlesinger reports more than 492,000 people signed on -- and David Mathews was the first.

"Well, it's funny because growing up I was always really close with my grandparents and I've always just been around folks that were older," Mathews said. "But she's funny, no matter how old you are whether you're 15 or 50 or 110."

Betty White Online
Betty White SNL Facebook Page
Betty White's Super Bowl Commercial

Mathews is 29, which means he was born 4 years after White finished playing her first big role: Sue-Anne Nivens, the strumpet of a certain age on the "Mary Tyler Moore Show."

In a medium that skews young, she makes old jokes work. For seven years on "Golden Girls" she played the ditzy Rose Nyland.

"She's been around since before World War II started and she just gets funnier and funnier with every year that goes by," Mathews said. "How can one not admire that? I'd say on the Facebook page about 50 percent of the fans are probably under 40 years old."

Yet Facebook seems like and odd place for this type of campaign.

"I doubt she even knows what Facebook is," said entertainment writer Greg Evans. "This was a grassroots effort they tried hard and they got it."

She's had a little practice for her next big role. She'll make a little history and become the oldest host of "Saturday Night Live," ever.

But there was another star in that Super Bowl commercial. Abe Vigoda - and at 89 he's a year older. So, how about it SNL? Why not set the record with Betty White and break it with Abe Vigoda?

Just a thought!

  • Richard Schlesinger

    Correspondent, "48 Hours," "CBS Evening News"