What Betty White did in 2010 doesn't usually happen: An 88-year-old actress with more than six decades in Hollywood suddenly became the object of adulation of the Facebook-connected masses, which campaigned for her to host "Saturday Night Live," boosting the show's ratings and helping her set ratings records for her own show.
After a year remarkable for a star of any age, White has been voted the Entertainer of the Year by members of The Associated Press.
"It's ridiculous," White says of the honor, in an interview from her home in Los Angeles.
"They haven't caught on to me, and I hope they never do." But more than acclaim, her unlikely, age-defying success resonated deeply with people who saw in her a spirited, hilarious aberration, a woman not dimmed by age but enhanced by it: The genuine article in a pop culture awash in imitators.
White's 2010 began with her acceptance in January of a lifetime achievement award from the Screen Actors Guild. Her speech, in which she thanked SAG "from the bottom of my bottom," reminded many of her talent - showcased for years on "The Golden Girls" and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" - for a sharp comedy cloaked by warm charm.
The appearance led to the fan-created Facebook campaign urging "SNL" to make her a guest host. After White's award-winning Snickers Super Bowl ad, more than 500,000 were supporting her on the social networking site.
Also in 2010, White guest-starred on "Community" and "The Middle," and co-starred in the movie "You Again." Though she initially had signed up for only the pilot to TV Land's comedy "Hot in Cleveland," she stuck around for its 10-episode first season and is now filming its 20-episode second season.