Star Senior Citizens Are Doing … What?

The olds are at it again.

In an arena normally occupied by blond, 20-something bimbos -- Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, et al. -- 65-plus stars are stealing the spotlight.

Of course, Paul Newman's death Friday was bound to dominate headlines. But other senior citizen celebs are shuffling up to the forefront of pop culture, and not via the usual Home Shopping Network skin-care lines and incontinence infomercials. Ed McMahon's rapping for FreeCreditReport.com, Cloris Leachman's dancing with the stars and William Shatner's ranting on YouTube.

"I've had problems, why not utilize my problems to do something good? I think it'll help other people around my country," McMahon told ABCNews.com. "Strange things are happening in our nation right now. Why not make a contribution? It seemed like a natural thing."

The 85-year-old former Johnny Carson sidekick stars in two videos for FreeCreditReport.com, spitting rhymes, riding with honies and rocking a leopard-print tracksuit. According to his publicist, they'll be on the Web in full in the coming week.

In July, McMahon made headlines when he defaulted on a $4.8 million mortgage on his six-bedroom Beverly Hills mansion. Donald Trump came to his rescue in August, when he announced that he would purchase the aging comic's home from Countrywide Financial and lease it to McMahon, thereby avoiding foreclosure.

As any rapper will attest, the best rhymes hail from hard times. Judging from his lyrics, McMahon seems to agree:

"When I retired, I was famous/I had money and glory/I bought a house for 6 mil/I thought nothing could touch me/Until my credit went south, and debt started to crunch me/Next thing I know, instead of playing gin rummy, I was scrambling just to make ends meet/It wasn't funny."

But now, working again, McMahon's on the rebound and counting himself among the ranks of Los Angeles' rap elite.

"Me as a rapper is kind of a wild thing," he said. "I can sing the blues -- I've been known to sing the blues on many occasion. Rapping is difficult but somehow we nailed it down, and I am now officially a rapper."

Maybe McMahon's not on the level of Snoop or Dre. But his venture propelled him back into the headlines for all the right reasons, which was the goal. It's been a common theme this year: For many older stars, post-50 power plays have paid off.

"Some of these over-50 celebs are doing their best work in these years. Look at Clint Eastwood. Dustin Hoffman has a great movie coming out. Glenn Close just won an Emmy," said Meg Grant, entertainment editor for AARP the magazine. "We've seen, in this past year, a difference in the physicality: Harrison Ford still doing 'Indiana Jones' and still using his body, Meryl Streep dancing and singing in 'Mamma Mia.' That scene where she pulls Pierce Brosnan's shirt off? You normally see actors in their 20s doing that."

Leachman -- and the, ahem, assets of hers that caused "Dancing With the Stars" judge Len Goodman to shout "Mind your cleavage!" last week -- fits firmly in that category.

The 82-year-old Academy Award-winning actress took over the dance floor Sept. 22 during the Season 7 premiere of "DWS." She begged viewers to vote for her because she was an orphan, thrust her gams up on the judges' table and hopped on top of judge Carrie Ann Inaba's lap. She may not last long on a show that's put her toe-to-toe with the likes of Brooke Burke and Kim Kardashian. But she sure as hell isn't going down without a fight.

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