These are the 13 oldest SNL hosts ever


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With Eddie Murphy scheduled to host this season’s Saturday Night Live finale and revive some of his most iconic roles at age 58, we got to wondering: Just who are the oldest SNL hosts of all time?

Murphy will be the oldest host this season, squeaking past this season’s first host, Woody Harrelson, by just a few months. But at a youthful 58, neither make the cut to be among the oldest hosts of all time. The youngest on our list comes in at 65, but the top three all took on hosting duties while in their 80s. From famous actors to politicians to a completely unknown grandma who won a contest, these SNL hosts all left a more permanent impression than just their ages.

Here are the 13 oldest SNL hosts of all time:

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13. Broderick Crawford

Oldest age while hosting: 65 years old

Date: March 19, 1977

Current Age: Died at age 74

Broderick Crawford made a single appearance on SNL, hosting in 1977 when he was 65-years-old. Best known for playing Willie Stark in All the King’s Men in 1949, Crawford spent his career in Hollywood and on Broadway.

Crawford kept acting right up until his death in 1989. While his stint on SNL wasn’t his most memorable appearance, his role as Chief Dan Matthews lives on to this day for fans of Highway Patrol.

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12. Bob Newhart

Oldest age while hosting: 65 years old

Date: Feb. 11, 1995

Current Age: 90 years old

Bob Newhart hosted SNL twice in his career, but it was his second stint, in 1995, that made him one of the oldest hosts ever. The longtime stand-up comedian and sitcom actor delivered a captivating combination of deceptively mild-manners and biting observational humor.

It wasn’t until he was 29-years-old that Newhart got into comedy, quickly finding a niche in comedy albums, one of which earned him a Grammy. He also appeared in television and film on The Bob Newhart Show, Hell Is for Heroes, Catch-22 and The Rescuers.

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11. Helen Mirren

Oldest age while hosting: 65 years old

Date: April 9, 2011

Current Age: 74 years old

There aren’t many SNL hosts who can also claim to be Dame Commanders of the Order of the British Empire, but Dame Helen Mirren is one of them. In addition to a storied acting career and being one of the oldest SNL hosts ever, Mirren was also made a Dame Commander in 2003. How’s that for awards?

Mirren started her acting career after high school. She’s been a queen six times, appearing in The Queen, Elizabeth I, The Prince of Egypt, The Snow Queen, The Madness of King George and Caligula. She’s also one of only 17 actresses who have won the Triple Crown of Acting, which means getting an Oscar, an Emmy and a Tony.

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10. Christopher Walken

Oldest age while hosting: 65 years old

Date: April 5, 2008

Current Age: 76 years old

Christopher Walken is no stranger to SNL. He’s hosted seven times and appeared in several popular sketches, including “More Cowbell.”

Walken’s iconic career includes a litany of character roles that helped make him a perfect fit for hosting SNL. Walken has run the gamut of acting performances, from the absurd and silly like Joe Dirt and Wayne’s World 2, to the surprisingly serious in Catch Me If You Can.

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9. John McCain

Oldest age while hosting: 66 years old

Date: Oct. 19, 2002

Current Age: Died at age 81

Senator John McCain wasn’t your typical SNL host. The Republican senator and war vet made several television appearances while in office, including on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, WWE Raw and Last Comic Standing.

But his appearance on SNL in 2002 really set him apart. That’s when McCain became not just one of the oldest ever hosts of the show, but also the first sitting U.S. senator to host. McCain returned to SNL in 2008 while running for president, but not as a host.

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8. Howard Cosell

Oldest age while hosting: 67 years old

Date: April 13, 1985

Current Age: Died at age 77

Howard Cosell told it like it is. Whether he was appearing on SNL or announcing a boxing match, there were few people America trusted more.

Long before his stint on SNL, Cosell was regarded as one of the greatest sportscasters of all time. His honest, straightforward delivery earned him acclaim. Some of his most memorable moments occurred when he spoke with Muhammad Ali, trading rhetorical jabs.

In the days before trending news, Cosell was the first person to announce the death of John Lennon. He made the announcement during Monday Night Football, shocking his audience.

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7. Robert De Niro

Oldest age while hosting: 67 years old

Date: Dec. 4, 2010

Current Age: 74 years old

Robert De Niro has had several appearances and cameos on SNL, including hosting in 2002, 2004 and 2010.

De Niro is more famous for his conventional acting career, however, appearing in films like The Godfather and Cape Fear. One of the most celebrated actors of all time, De Niro first burst on the scene with Bang the Drum Slowly. Among his many acting awards are four Golden Globe nominations for best actor and a lifetime achievement award.

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6. Donald Trump

Oldest age while hosting: 69 years old

Date: Nov. 7, 2015

Current Age: 71 years old

Donald Trump has been a president, an actor, a real estate mogul and even an SNL host. He’s hosted the show twice, in 2004 and 2015.

These days, Alec Baldwin’s impersonation of Trump on SNL is almost as well-known as Trump’s own appearances. Trump drew on his experiences hosting the reality TV show The Apprentice during his hosting spots on SNL.

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5. Milton Berle

Oldest age while hosting: 70 years old

Date: April 14, 1979

Current Age: Died at age 93

Milton Berle only hosted SNL once at age 70. But that single appearance is enough to place him as the 5th oldest SNL host ever.

Performing on Broadway and in the TV show Chicago, Berle was a regular on radio programs like The Rudy Vallee Hour and The Gillette Original Community Sing.

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4. Charlton Heston

Oldest age while hosting: 70 years old

Date: Dec. 4, 1993

Current Age: Died at age 84

Despite a sprawling acting career, Charlton Heston is perhaps best known for his work for the NRA. The gun activist also hosted SNL twice.

Heston’s most famous acting roles include playing Moses in the epic Ten Commandments film. He’s also appeared in Planet of the Apes, The Greatest Show on Earth and The Agony and the Ecstasy.

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3.Ruth Gordon

Oldest age while hosting: 80 years old

Date: Jan. 22, 1977

Current Age: Died at age 88

Ruth Gordon only appeared on SNL one time, but at 80 she’s tied for the second-oldest host ever.

After making her debut on Broadway in Peter Pan, she went on to a successful career, appearing in such films as Rosemary’s Baby and Harold and Maude. She also wrote several books and appeared in the show Taxi in the 1970s.

Image Credit: Public domain.

2. Miskel Spillman

Oldest age while hosting: 80 years old

Date: Dec. 17, 1977

Current Age: Died at age 94

Unlike most of our list, Miskel Spillman wasn’t an actor. She wasn’t even famous. Spillman was someone’s grandmother.

The 80-year-old Spillman appeared on SNL just once after winning the Anyone Can Host contest in 1977. Spillman charmed in her appearance, winning a popular vote against four other finalists. Miskel is shown here with Buck Henry.

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1. Betty White

Oldest age while hosting: 88 years old

Date: May 8, 2010

Current Age: 95 years old

The oldest SNL host ever (for now) is Betty White herself. This Golden Girl only hosted once, but her appearance earned her the title.

White’s sprawling career includes the wildly popular sitcoms The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Golden Girls. The beloved actress more than earned her spot in the Television Hall of Fame. Today, she continues to work for animal welfare. 

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