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 Miskel Julia <I>Wetherbee</I> Spillman

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Miskel Julia Wetherbee Spillman

Birth
Spencer County, Indiana, USA
Death
30 Mar 1992 (aged 94)
New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana, USA
Burial
Burial Details Unknown
Memorial ID
107445073 View Source

Miskel Spillman's claim to fame in her long life, was as winner of the first and only "Anyone Can Host" contest on NBC's late-night variety series, "Saturday Night Live", chosen to host the December 17, 1977, broadcast of the show.

In 1977, 80-year-old grandmother from New Orleans, Spillman held the record as the oldest host in SNL's history (two weeks older than Ruth Gordon when she hosted) for many years, until it was broken on May 8, 2010, by 88-year-old Betty White. Spillman remains the only non-celebrity to host the program.

Spillman appeared with the four other contest finalists, selected out of around 150,000 applicants, on the November 19 broadcast (hosted by Buck Henry); despite the continued stating of zero bias. In her essay, Spillman wrote that "I need one more cheap thrill, since my doctor told me I only have another 25 years left." Among the other contestants were Richard F. Kneip, then the incumbent Governor of South Dakota.

As the five contestants were introduced, Spillman introduced herself as "I'm Miskel Spillman; I'm old." This evoked the biggest audience reaction. She then went on to win the subsequent write-in vote.

Spillman's appearance as host (the Season 3 Christmas episode, also featuring Buck Henry) began with a joke involving herself and cast member John Belushi sharing a joint, followed by a marijuana-induced obsession with a bowl of fruit (going so far as to swat away Henry's hands whenever he tried to grab the bowl).

As per the norm for SNL hosts, Spillman attended rehearsals and appeared in some sketches. She was also paid the then-usual host's salary of $3,000 (a fact which had been promoted during the contest's duration).

Years later, in a 1989 interview with People at the age of 92, Spillman stated that she still watched the show and was a fan of the current cast, "especially that fella in the dress" – referring to Dana Carvey's Church Lady character. Spillman further expressed an interest in hosting again, noting that she still had thirteen years left to live.



Miskel Spillman's claim to fame in her long life, was as winner of the first and only "Anyone Can Host" contest on NBC's late-night variety series, "Saturday Night Live", chosen to host the December 17, 1977, broadcast of the show.

In 1977, 80-year-old grandmother from New Orleans, Spillman held the record as the oldest host in SNL's history (two weeks older than Ruth Gordon when she hosted) for many years, until it was broken on May 8, 2010, by 88-year-old Betty White. Spillman remains the only non-celebrity to host the program.

Spillman appeared with the four other contest finalists, selected out of around 150,000 applicants, on the November 19 broadcast (hosted by Buck Henry); despite the continued stating of zero bias. In her essay, Spillman wrote that "I need one more cheap thrill, since my doctor told me I only have another 25 years left." Among the other contestants were Richard F. Kneip, then the incumbent Governor of South Dakota.

As the five contestants were introduced, Spillman introduced herself as "I'm Miskel Spillman; I'm old." This evoked the biggest audience reaction. She then went on to win the subsequent write-in vote.

Spillman's appearance as host (the Season 3 Christmas episode, also featuring Buck Henry) began with a joke involving herself and cast member John Belushi sharing a joint, followed by a marijuana-induced obsession with a bowl of fruit (going so far as to swat away Henry's hands whenever he tried to grab the bowl).

As per the norm for SNL hosts, Spillman attended rehearsals and appeared in some sketches. She was also paid the then-usual host's salary of $3,000 (a fact which had been promoted during the contest's duration).

Years later, in a 1989 interview with People at the age of 92, Spillman stated that she still watched the show and was a fan of the current cast, "especially that fella in the dress" – referring to Dana Carvey's Church Lady character. Spillman further expressed an interest in hosting again, noting that she still had thirteen years left to live.




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