We Wanna Be Like Betty!
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Radio Gem2 of 15
By Natasha Burton
Betty actually started her long career as a model, but with her down-pat comedic timing and bubbly persona, she was totally perfect for radio. So perfect, in fact, that she got her own show, The Betty White Show.
The TV Experiment3 of 15
She segued from radio to some newfangled thing called television in 1949, and began appearing on Hollywood on Television. Then, she briefly hosted and produced her own daily talk show on NBC, once again entitled The Betty White Show.
First Lady of Game Shows4 of 15
Betty was the first woman to win a Daytime Emmy for “Outstanding Game Show Host,” and after hosting and participating in a slew of similar programs, she was crowned the genre’s first lady. (Oh, and she won five more Emmys, too.)
Cheeky Sue Ann5 of 15
On The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Betty made cheeky quips like, “I was lying in bed last night and I couldn't sleep, and I came up with an idea. So I went right home and wrote it down.”
Doe-Eyed Rose6 of 15
On Golden Girls, Betty played sweet-as-pie Rose Nylund. We love this nugget of Rose-wisdom: “My mother always used to say: ‘The older you get, the better you get, unless you're a banana.’”
Furry Friends7 of 15
Betty’s biggest love is for animals. She once said, “All creatures must learn to coexist. That’s why the brown bear and the field mouse can share their lives in harmony. Of course, they can’t mate or the mice would explode.”
Be Our Guest8 of 15
Betty’s been on (literally) countless shows. One of her most memorable gigs was playing the blackmailing Catherine Piper on Boston Legal, a role she originally portrayed as a guest star on The Practice.
Movie Maven9 of 15
We love her on the big screen, too: as the grouchy neighbor in Bringing Down the House, and with Sandra Bullock doing a crazy tribal dance in The Proposal.
Most Adorable Besties10 of 15
Co-star Sandra was on hand to give Betty a SAG Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. Sandra joked how she found Betty’s career longevity annoying, and Betty ribbed her right back: "Isn't it heartening to see how far a girl as plain as she is can go?"
Shining Star11 of 15
On a more serious note, Betty pondered after accepting her award: "Seventy-one years ago, when I sang on an experiment thing and it was called television, who would have dreamed it would culminate in an evening like this?"
Gets It From Dad12 of 15
Betty tells the L.A. Times that her traveling salesman dad shaped her funny bone. He’d come home with jokes for her and her mother, "but they never explained them to me … They just told me which ones I could share at school and which ones I couldn't.
Everyone Loves Betty13 of 15
Betty’s modern appeal is obvious — she’s funny, smart and so darn cool. And, as TV Land’s President Larry Jones says, "She transcends generations … she makes aging look like fun. Plus, she's so hip."
Facebook Fever14 of 15
Betty’s Snickers Super Bowl commercial sparked an online campaign for her to host Saturday Night Live, leading NBC to slot her in on May 8. Betty told USA Today she has just one refusal: "I won't do any dope jokes … I don't think dope is a joke."
What's Next?15 of 15
You can see Betty in the fall comedy You Again, with Jamie Lee Curtis and Sigourney Weaver, as a guest on the season finale of ABC's The Middle (left), and as a cranky housekeeper on TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland, which debuts in June.
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