There’s no doubt about it. Betty White has become America’s sweetheart. And who could blame us for falling for her, whether for the first time or all over again? The woman is sharp, talented, lovely – and possesses the kind of comedy timing that is only honed over years in show business.
Betty’s career began over 70 years ago. Her first television series, Life with Elizabeth, premiered in 1953. By my count, Betty has had regular roles in 12 series and guest roles in numerous others. Her popularity has never waned. In fact, it seems to be increasing. A Facebook campaign led to Betty’s hosting Saturday Night Live. The cable sitcom Hot in Cleveland made her one-shot guest role into a regular part of the series. She’s become the go-to sassy grandma in comedy films. Earlier this week, NBC broadcast a 90th birthday celebration for Betty.
I have a real soft spot for Betty White, having watched her on TV for about as long as I can remember. I even remember early days of Password, the game show hosted by her husband Allen Ludden and where Betty was a frequent guest. But we know her best from her sitcoms. She became a part of the cast of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, as conniving Sue Ann Nivens. In the 80s she became one of The Golden Girls, delighting us with her portrayal of sweet, slightly dotty Rose.
When she’s not acting, Betty is an advocate for animals, both domestic and wild. Her book Betty & Friends: My Life at the Zoo gives us insight into her deep love for animals and sets a wonderful example for others.
So let’s celebrate the great Betty White and her scene-stealing performances in movies and television.