It's the unlikeliest of Hollywood comebacks. The 88-year-old actress Betty White might easily have faded from public view after a successful, decades-long career starring in TV hits like "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "The Golden Girls." But White is suddenly red hot again, with a big role in a Hollywood movie, a SuperBowl commercial, and even a gig hosting Saturday Night Live, thanks to an online campaign. Commentators offer 5 reasons why everyone is falling back in love with her:
1. She makes aging look fun
White may remind everyone of their "kindly and polite grandmother," says Susan Krauss Whitbourne in Psychology Today, but she never plays the "stereotypic portrayal of the little old lady." Instead, her "feisty, fresh and possibly sexy" persona shows that it's "never too late" to enjoy life. There's "no limit to what she can accomplish."
2. She'll still do anything for a laugh
White is always game for a wild gag, says Gary Susman at Popeater, whether its "getting tackled in the mud" for a Snickers ad, playing "beer pong with Jimmy Fallon" on his show, or appearing as a "cocaine-smuggling accountant" on Craig Ferguson's "Late Late Show."
3. Her comeback is 100% natural
Normally, the return of a 1980s sitcom star is "rooted" in "ironic posturing," says Brian Moylan at Gawker. "That's not the case" here. By subverting her grandmotherly appearance with "dirty jokes" and a "daffy new persona," she's doing something "totally hip and now." Frankly, "we couldn't be happier for this bawdy dame."
4. Guys still go ga-ga over her
Approaching her tenth decade of life, White is still getting plenty of attention from male admirers. Chris Jacobs, the host of CBS show The Insider said he was "smitten" with the actress, calling her an "absolute delight." Not to be outdone, George Clooney intimated he had had a "fling" with White on the set of the Golden Girls. "A friend of mine told me she was a bobcat in the sack," he told the audience at the Screen Guild Awards.
5. She's brilliant at what she does
The online campaign was not a "mercy petition being made out of respect," says Linda Holmes at NPR.org. The lady is a still a fantastic comedian: "Bawdy, funny, versatile [and] high-energy." You only have to look at her TV appearances to see she has a remarkable "ability to adjust, bounce off other people, and think on [her] feet." That's why we love her - and presumably why she'll host Saturday Night Live later on this season.
This article was originally published on February 12, and updated on March 9