Betty White: A Lifetime of Love, Laughter, and Loyalty to Animals
Recently turning 99 years old, Betty White remains a vibrant force in the world of entertainment.
If ever a survey was conducted to name the most cherished actresses in history, White would indisputably rank among the top.
Born as an only child in Illinois on January 17, 1922, her family relocated to Los Angeles shortly thereafter.
Betty White’s Blossoming Career
White’s initial foray into the world of television was a job at a local station. However, her career truly took flight in the early 1950s with her debut show, “Life With Elizabeth.” Her career received a significant push from “The Mary Tyler Show,” where she showcased her razor-sharp wit beneath her sweet smile, keeping her colleagues on their toes.
Yet, for many, it is “The Golden Girls” that immortalized Betty White. The show, which chronicled the lives of four elderly female friends, quickly became one of the top-rated series during its seven-season run, bagging several awards including an Emmy for Betty.
An Unforgettable Revival
Despite her steady career, the year 2010 marked a resurgent phase when she starred in a humorous candy bar commercial aired during that year’s Super Bowl. A Facebook campaign further boosted her popularity, culminating in her becoming the oldest host of Saturday Night Live. She described the experience to Newsweek as “the scariest thing I’ve ever done,” but also noted that it was a rewarding challenge.
The True Love of Her Life: Animals
For White, though, her true calling and significant work lie in her philanthropic pursuits for animal welfare. In a conversation with Hollywood Reporter, she stated, “I have to keep acting so that I can afford to keep doing my charity work!” Her passion for animals is no secret. She’s dedicated over 40 years to working with the Los Angeles Zoo and the Morris Animal Foundation.
A quote from her friend, Tom Sullivan, encapsulates her bond with animals perfectly: “I believe Betty White can charm the savage beast. Though Betty always treats people with dignity, respect, and charm, she has a far closer relationship to animals than she does people.”
White often recounts her childhood memories of her family’s three-week camping trips in the High Sierras, devoid of human interaction. Her parents’ deep-seated love for animals was such that White often jokes, “I think they were so disappointed when I was a baby that they had a baby and not a little animal.”
Leaving a Legacy
White’s legacy is aptly summarized by a close acquaintance, “Betty is going to be remembered as a very kind person, a loving person, an extremely terrific actress and comedian. But I think she really wants to be remembered as one who gave most of her life to animals.”
One of the highlights of her enduring love for animals is a video where she casually sits next to a giant brown bear named Bam Bam at the Los Angeles Zoo. As she chats, pets, and feeds marshmallows to the bear, she exclaims, “I’m the luckiest old broad on two feet,” before planting a sweet kiss on the grizzly’s fur.
Betty White Sits Next To Big Grizzly Bear. Pops A Smooch On His Cheek
In the face of it all, Betty White’s story is one of a triumphant career, an unwavering commitment to her craft, and an unparalleled love for animals.