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Calling Tom Brady: This real-life ‘80 for Brady’ lady wants a photo with her favorite QB

We caught up with Betty Pensavalle, one of the original members of the Over 80 for Brady Fan Club.

Betty Pensavalle, 94, and Elaine St. Martin, 95, founding members of the Over 80 for Brady Fan Club, in an interview with “CBS Sunday Morning.”CBS News

Betty Pensavalle of North Attleborough is having quite the week.

The 94-year-old helped inspire the new movie, “80 for Brady,” currently in theaters. The story is based on Pensavalle and four of her best friends who’d gather every Sunday to watch Tom Brady and the Patriots. They were known as the Over 80 for Brady Fan Club, and they even had T-shirts.

“We wore them every week. We really did,” Pensavalle told the Globe.

Now, audiences everywhere will get to know Pensavalle and her friends Elaine, Anita, Claire, and Pat through the fictionalized Hollywood version of their story. The film stars Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Rita Moreno, and Sally Field, who plays Pensavalle.

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“I loved it,” Pensavalle said of the movie. “I think the four ladies did a wonderful job. It’s about the camaraderie between four lovely women who like football, and we were five women who loved football.”

From left: Jane Fonda, Sally Field, Lily Tomlin, and Rita Moreno in a scene from "80 for Brady."Scott Garfield/Paramount Pictures via AP

Pensavalle’s grandson, Max Gross, happens to be a talent agent. Around 2018, he began pitching his grandmother’s story in Hollywood, and in early 2020, the project caught the attention of Brady, who had recently launched his own production company, 199 Productions.

Pensavalle recalled the moment she found out her group would be the subject of a movie. She got a call from the GOAT himself during a socially-distanced dinner with her family in the spring of 2020.

“My daughter passed me the phone through the door, and Tom came on and had a video for me telling me they decided to do a movie. He called me Elizabeth, so I was very excited,” Pensavalle said.

Pensavalle remembers the first time she saw Brady play.

“It was after [Drew] Bledsoe got hurt,” she said of the former Patriots quarterback. “They put in this young boy named Tom Brady, and he just went further and further. I remember when Bill Belichick had to make the decision whether it was Brady or Bledsoe, and I think it was hard for him. But he picked Brady, and it was the right thing to do.”

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After their husbands died, Betty and Elaine began watching the games together, about 16 years ago. “Then we added another friend, Anita, and then Claire, and then Pat,” Pensavalle said. “It just kinda happened.”

The group would switch off whose house they’d watch the game at each week: “We’d have snacks and hors d’oeuvres. There’d be lots of screaming and yelling. We really had a lot of fun,” Pensavalle said.

The group stopped gathering a few years ago, and Claire died last year. But Betty and Elaine still call each other every day and for every game. The pair even watched a private screening of “80 for Brady” together at Patriot Place.

Four original member of the Over 80 for Brady Fan Club. Back row: Pat Marx and Betty Pensavalle. Front row: Anita Riccio and Elaine St. Martin.Paramount Pictures

Pensavalle said it’s been a few years since she’s ventured out of the house for the Super Bowl, but she always tunes in.

“It starts ... at night, and that’s the difficult part. I’ll probably stay home, have a glass of wine, and maybe a few chicken wings,” she said, anticipating next Sunday’s Eagles-Chiefs showdown.

As far as Brady’s recent re-retirement, Pensavalle said she’ll miss him, “but the main thing is Tom knows what he’s doing. If this is his time to retire and he knows it, I’ll go along with it. . . . I’ll miss him, I really will, and so will Elaine. He’s one of our favorite people.”

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Pensavalle has yet to meet Brady in person, but she’s hoping that’s next.

“I would really just like to have a picture taken with him — the two of us,” Pensavalle said. “Maybe one of these days it’ll happen now that he has more time.”

Does Pensavalle have any retirement advice for Brady? She doubled-down: “I think he should come up to Boston and have a picture taken with me.”

Patriot Place is hosting a special screening for seniors at Showcase Cinema De Lux on Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 10 a.m.


Brittany Bowker can be reached at brittany.bowker@globe.com. Follow her @brittbowker and also on Instagram @brittbowker.