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Grandma, 86, Gets Lifetime Wish to Star in Television Ad — Set to Air During Her Favorite Show, NCIS

People logo People 12/11/2019 Joelle Goldstein
a man wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: Bertha Nunn © Provided by Meredith Corporation Bertha Nunn

An 86-year-old grandmother of six recently had the opportunity to live out her dreams after she was cast in a television commercial ahead of the holiday season.

Since she was young, Bertha Nunn always wanted to be an actress on the small screen but put her own dreams aside to raise her family, including her two children and six grandsons.

It wasn’t until recently that Nunn’s dream finally came alive when Wish of a Lifetime, a nonprofit that grants wishes for seniors across the country, teamed up with Crest and tapped the Waldorf, Maryland resident to star in their national commercial.

“I never wanted to be in the movies per se, I just wanted to do TV commercials,” Nunn explained in a new behind-the-scenes video that documented her journey to becoming a first-time actress. “As far as I was concerned, I was raising my family so I never tried to pursue it.”

“Now, this is my chance to do so,” she cheerfully added. 

Casting Nunn was a no-brainer, according to Carlos De Jesus, the vice president of North America Oral Care.

“When we heard about Bertha’s wish to become an actress, we wanted to make it happen,” he said. “We met her and she just lit up the room. She made everybody smile, brought tons of energy and we saw how magical she could be on camera, so we wanted to share that magic with everyone.”

Ahead of filming the holiday commercial, Nunn, a former corrections officer and teacher’s assistant, revealed she was having mixed feelings about her acting debut.

“I’m excited and I’m a little nervous about it, I should say,” she admitted in the video after flying from Washington D.C. to Canada with her companion Maury to film the short, 20-second TV segment.

“This is my dream and whatever comes out of it, I just wanna have fun,” Nunn continued. “I feel now that I am free because I am older, I have the opportunity to do what I wanna do.” 

Prior to going into hair, makeup, and wardrobe, the 86-year-old was given a special Crest robe to wear as producers reviewed the commercial’s storyboard with her. Finally, it was time for her big debut.

In the commercial, Nunn enjoys some cookies with Santa on the night before Christmas. When Santa points out that people are usually asleep when he comes for his annual visit, Nunn playfully quips that she’s a “night owl.”

The television ad initially premiered during NBC’s Thanksgiving Day Parade but has continued to run throughout the holiday season — including a primetime slot on CBS Tuesday night during Nunn’s favorite show, NCIS.

Though short, Nunn said working on the project was an experience she would treasure forever.

“I just have had fun and met so many people,” she shared after wrapping the Christmas-themed television shoot. “It really has been wonderful.”

Related video: Macy's & Make-A-Wish Foundation Make 17-Year-Old Boy's Holiday Dreams Come True (Provided by CBS Miami)

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