I think it’s most unfortunate that actress Betty White has seemed to have become suddenly cool in the last couple of years. I’ve long thought she always was.
After her radio career, she was one of the first women nominated for an Emmy award back in 1951, and she was a pioneer as a performer/producer of the TV show Life With Elizabeth in 1952-1955. Her massive number of credits included sitcoms, variety shows, TV host of a couple parades for decades, and a number of game shows, including Password, where she met her husband, the host Allen Ludden, who died in 1981. She won a daytime Emmy as host of her own game show, Just Men! in 1987.
She’s best known for two TV roles. The first was as the sweet-seeming barracuda “Happy Homemaker” Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, for which she was nominated thrice as Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, winning twice. The other was Golden Girls, where she played the “terminally naive” Rose Nylund, for which she was nominated seven times as Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series, winning once.
She’s worked regularly since then, on talk shows, game shows (including the fifth iteration of Password, hosted by Regis Philbin, where she was sharp as ever), and as a recurring character, an addled homicidal woman on Boston Legal.
From Wikipedia: “White appeared alongside Abe Vigoda in an advertisement for Snickers during the 2010 Super Bowl XLIV. The ad won the top spot on the USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter… A grassroots campaign on Facebook called ‘Betty White to Host SNL (Please)’ began in January 2010. The group was approaching 500,000 members when NBC confirmed on March 11, 2010 that White would in fact host Saturday Night Live on May 8. The appearance made her, at age 88, the oldest person to host the show… In her opening monologue, White thanked Facebook and joked that she ‘didn’t know what Facebook was, and now that I do know what it is, I have to say, it sounds like a huge waste of time.’ The appearance earned her a 2010 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress In A Comedy Series, her seventh Emmy win overall.”
And now she’s in another series, Hot in Cleveland, where she’ll appear opposite one-time TV flame, Ed Asner, next season. Meanwhile, tonight there will be a 90th Birthday Extravaganza tonight on NBC-TV.
She’s also been a big animal rights advocate, admitting on more than one occasion, including in her 2011 book If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won’t), which I read, that she prefers the company of animals to people. She was thrilled to become an honorary forest ranger in November 2010.
I’ve been a big fan of Betty White as long as I can remember. She’ll be 90 tomorrow, and I wish her well.