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Friday, January 17, 2014

92 Years Of Betty White!

This is probably going to be one of the most ambitious blog entries that I have ever done in the history of “A Pop Culture Addict's Guide To Life”. Of course, I say that about EVERY entry that I've ever done. But this one is especially ambitious because it's basically a celebration of life for one of Hollywood's most beloved actresses.

The funny thing about it is that if this actress happened to come across this blog (and, look at me getting my hopes up in thinking that actual celebrities read this blog), she'd probably flat out tell me to my face to do something more constructive with my time! And, surprisingly enough I would be okay with hearing that as long as it came from her and only her!

Today, we'll be celebrating the life and times of the wonderful Betty White, who today turns 92 years old. And with Betty currently working on both “Hot in Cleveland” and “Betty White's Off Their Rockers”, she shows absolutely no sign of slowing down! Her career has spanned a total of eight decades overall! That's especially impressive, since a lot of people don't even live eight decades total! And, whether you loved her as Sue Ann Nivens on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”, Rose Nylund on “The Golden Girls”, or Elka Ostrovsky on “Hot In Cleveland”, she has had one of the greatest show business careers of all-time. And unlike the stars of today, she made it happen with virtually zero controversy.

So, I thought that to celebrate every single one of Betty's ninety-two years on this earth, I would do something rather ambitious. What if I found 92 different facts about Betty White and wrote them all in one huge blog? I mean, certainly Betty's career has lasted long enough that I could find 92 pieces of trivia about her. The question you think you could make it through a list of 92 things that you may or may not know about Betty White? I'm hoping you can.

But, if you can't...I'm doing it anyway!

I will be supplementing this list with video clips and pictures though, so it will make the read a little bit easier. How does that sound?

Okay, so let's kick off the list of 92 things that you may or may not know about Betty White!

01 – Her birth name is Betty Marion White. Contrary to what some may believe, the name Betty is not a derivative of Elizabeth.

02 – Her birthdate is January 17, 1922, and her birthplace is Oak Park, Illinois.

03 – Betty White's natural hair colour is dark brown.

04 – Her acting career began in the year 1939, when she began appearing on radio shows. The reasoning behind her decision to do radio came from Betty's own belief that she wasn't photogenic enough to appear on film.

05 – During World War II, Betty joined the “American Women's Voluntary Services”.

06 – Her very first sitcom was the series “Life With Elizabeth”, which ran for three years between 1952 and 1955.

07 – Betty White served as the hostess and official commentator of the Tournament of Roses Parade for nearly two decades.

08 – She also hosted the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade for another ten years after that!

09 – Betty White has been married three times. Her first marriage to U.S. Army Corps pilot Dick Barker didn't even last a year. Her second marriage to Hollywood agent ended in 1949. Her third marriage was to game show host, Allen Ludden, whom Betty had met while taping episodes of Ludden's “Password” game show. They married each other in 1963, and the marriage lasted until Ludden's death in June 1981.

10 – Speaking of game shows, Betty White took a turn hosting one herself in 1983. The show, “Just Men!” debuted in January of that year...but only lasted three months before it was cancelled.

11 – But don't feel so bad for her. She ended up winning an Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host in 1983 – the first female game show host to accomplish that feat!

12 – Betty White in total has earned a total of SIX Emmy Awards. Her first one was awarded in 1975 for “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”, and her most recent one was in 2010 for hosting “Saturday Night Live”.

13 – At the age of 88, Betty White became the oldest person to guest-host “Saturday Night Live” in May 2010 following a social media campaign to have her host the show!

14 – She has also become the oldest person to be nominated for an Emmy Award, receiving her latest nomination just last year!

15 – She also has the Guinness World Record for longest television career for a female entertainer!

16 – She is also the oldest person to win a Grammy Award, taking home the award in 2012 for Best Spoken Word Album!

17 – When Betty White was offered the role on “The Golden Girls”, initially she was to play the role of Blanche Devereaux while Rue McClanahan was to play Rose Nylund. But when Jan Sandrich – the man who directed the pilot episode – suggested that the two actresses switch roles so that they wouldn't be typecast, both agreed. I think it was a good decision, don't you?

18 – Betty White was the oldest of the four principal actresses on “The Golden Girls”. She is also the only one who is still alive. Estelle Getty died in 2008, Bea Arthur in 2009, and Rue McClanahan in 2010.

19 – Betty White has lent her voice out to several animated series including “Family Guy”, “The Wild Thornberries”, and “The Simpsons”.

20 – Betty White is a huge supporter of animal rights. She even released a calendar in 2011 where all proceeds went towards animal charities.

21 – Betty White was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1995.

22 – Her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is located at 6747 Hollywood Boulevard – right next to the star of her late husband, Allen Ludden.

23 – Betty White played the role of Stephanie Forrester's mother, Ann Douglas on the CBS soap opera “The Bold and the Beautiful” off and on from 2007-2009.

24 – Betty White revealed in several interviews that while she got along with everybody on the set of “The Golden Girls”, she claimed that Bea Arthur didn't care for her too much as White felt that she was too chipper for Bea to deal with!

25 – Betty White has written seven books over her lifetime between 1983 and 2011.

26 – She was offered a part in James L. Brooks' film “As Good as it Gets” as Helen Hunt's mother, but she turned it down because she objected to how the dog was treated in the film.

27 – Although Betty White was born in Illinois, she has called Los Angeles home since moving there with her family at the age of two.

28 – Everyone knows that Betty White played Rose Nylund on “The Golden Girls” for seven seasons. But that's not the the only show where Betty White played Rose. Aside from “The Golden Girls” spin-off, “The Golden Palace”, she also played the role in guest appearances on “Empty Nest” and “Nurses”.

29 – Although she is the creator and host of “Betty White's Off Their Rockers”, Betty White has been extremely critical of reality television programming.

30 – Betty White was made an honourary mayor of Hollywood, California in 1955.

31 – She never had any children of her own.

32 – She is a registered Democrat.

33 – She appeared on episodes of the television series “Mama's Family”, which also starred her future “Golden Girls” co-star Rue McClanahan.

34 – Betty White, along with the other three actresses from “The Golden Girls” flew to London and acted out an episode of “The Golden Girls” in front of the Queen of England, after she wrote all four women a fan letter asking them to perform a live show!

35 – Betty White received a nomination for every single season she was on “The Golden Girls”. The only other actress to match this feat on the same show was Estelle Getty.

36 – Betty White was originally hired for “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” as Sue Ann Nivens for one episode only! But because the audience loved her, she was brought on a recurring basis, and shortly thereafter was promoted to contract status.

37 – Betty White's character in “Hot in Cleveland” is named after Howard Stern's wife, Beth Ostrovsky.

38 – Betty White appeared in several episodes of the television series “Boston Legal” between 2005 and 2008.

39 – On “Boston Legal”, White played the role of Catherine Piper – a role that originated on another David E. Kelley program “The Practice”.

40 – Betty White poked a little bit of fun at herself in the 1999 film “Lake Placid”, in which her character is accused of mistreating her cows by PETA. In reality, White is a spokesperson for the organization.

41 – Though, admittedly in the same movie, Betty's character proclaims that she hoped the man-eating crocodile in the film swallowed people whole!

42 - “Lake Placid” is also one of the few movies in which you'll hear Betty White curse like a sailor!

43 – Although Betty White has had several successful sitcoms over the years, she didn't always strike gold. A sitcom that she did with Marie Osmond, “Maybe This Time” only lasted eighteen episodes during the 1995-1996 season.

44 – Another sitcom that she did was the 1993 sitcom “Bob”, which was offered to her after “The Golden Palace” was not picked up for another season by CBS. It too didn't last a full season.

45 – Betty White also made some guest appearances on the NBC soap opera “Santa Barbara” as part of a viewer contest in 1988.

46 – She has been on two different television series that were named after her. The first was a talk show that ran during the 1950s, and the second was a sitcom that lasted for one season in 1977.

47 – She appeared on the 1986 television special “Walt Disney World's 15th Anniversary Celebration”.

48 – Her 90th birthday in 2012 launched a television special on NBC. One year later, a second special - “Betty White's Second Annual 90th Birthday” followed in 2013.

49 – She appeared as herself on the 2011 television series “Ace of Cakes”.

50 – Has appeared on several game shows including “Password”, “Wheel of Fortune”, “Hollywood Squares” and “Match Game”.

51 – Though one show that she may not appear on any time soon is “The Price is Right”. Allegedly, she has been involved in a long-running feud with former host Bob Barker. Though now that Drew Carey is hosting the show...

52 – Betty White did a series of commercials for cosmetics in the late 1950s.

53 – She also performed a spoof of Miley Cyrus' “Wrecking Ball” this past year. But then again, who hasn't?

54 - And, never challenge her to a game of Beer Pong.  Jimmy Fallon learned the hard way.

55 - She has received twenty Emmy nominations over the course of her entire career.

56 - She was awarded an honourary degree and doctor's coat from Washington State University in 2011.

57 - Reuters conducted a poll for whom people would think was the most trustworthy celebrity.  Betty White beat out Sandra Bullock, Tom Hanks, and Denzel Washington!

58 - In November 2010, Betty White's childhood dream came true, as she was made an honourary Forest Ranger.

59 - Betty White was awarded the American Veterinary Medical Association's Humane Award in 1987.

60 - Betty White is a supporter of gay rights, and she was one of the few who knew that Liberace was gay, accompanying him to several high-profile functions as his date in an attempt to throw off suspicion.

61 - She listed Charles Darwin as one of her heroes in a Vanity Fair article.

62 - Was named an "Ambassador of the Animals" by the City of Los Angeles.

63 - She attended Beverly Hills High School, much like other famous faces.

64 - Her first appearance in a motion picture was in 1962's "Advise & Consent".  She played a senator!

65 - Considers the time she played the role of Sue Ann Nivens one of the highlights of her professional career.

66 - She has appeared in all four versions of the "Password" game as a panelist.

67 - Her character on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" was known as "The Happy Homemaker".

68 - Initially, Betty White was unsure if she could play the role of Rose Nylund on "The Golden Girls" until she was given the instruction to play her as if she were terminally naive instead of just plain stupid.

69 - Her guest appearances on "The Practice", "Yes, Dear", and "Suddenly Susan" earned her Emmy nominations!

70 - She appeared as herself in a spoof of "Ugly Betty" called "Ugly Betty White" for the 2007 TV Land Awards.

71 - She was featured as one of the roasters on Comedy Central's Roast of William Shatner in 2006.

72 - Has made numerous guest appearances on "The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson".

73 - Had a scene-stealing role in the Sandra Bullock/Ryan Reynolds film "The Proposal".

74 - Despite the fact that it was a Facebook petition that helped secure Betty White's hosting gig on "Saturday Night Live", Betty White claimed that Facebook was a complete waste of time!

75 -  Betty White's appearance as host on the May 8, 2010 episode of "Saturday Night Live" was the highest rated episode since 2008!

76 - Has played the role of Mrs. Claus at least twice in her career.

77 - Also voices a character on the cartoon series "Pound Puppies".

78 - Starred in the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie "The Lost Valentine" - which ended up being the highest rated movie in the Hallmark series in four years!

79 - Appeared as herself in a British tourism video encouraging residents of the UK to visit California.

80 - Served as a judge at the American Humane Association's Hero Dog Awards in 2011.

81 - She released this music video with British singer Luciana!

82 - Donated $100,000 of her own money to the Los Angeles Zoo in April 2008 alone!

83 - When asked by an interviewer if she would marry again, she responded with this quote "Once you've had the best, who needs the rest?"

84 - She is a practicing member of the Unity Church.

85 - Played the role of "Witch Lady" in the television series "My Name is Earl".

86 - Reunited with the female cast members of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" on the set of "Hot in Cleveland" in 2013.

87 - Her height is listed as being 5'4".

88 - She is probably the oldest woman to win a Teen Choice Award (sharing with Sandra Bullock for "Best Dance").

89 - Featured in commercials for PetMeds in 2007.

90 - Has been deemed "The First Lady of Game Shows".

91 - Betty White is an only child.

And finally...

92 - She starred in this Snickers commercial which aired during the Super Bowl!

Happy 92nd birthday, Betty White! 

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