Thursday, January 17, 2013
91 Groovy Things about Betty White on her birthday
Today I'm celebrating Betty White's 91st birthday by sharing a "few" groovy things about her life and career:
1. She was born in Oak Park, Illinois, on January 17, 1922.
2. She was nominated for her first Emmy Award for "Best Actress" in 1950 for her performance as co-host on the daily, live variety show, Hollywood on Television, which she began co-hosting in 1949.
3. She was the creator, co-producer and star of the sitcom, Life With Elizabeth (1952-55), making her one of the first women in television with full creative control in front of and behind the camera.
4. She was elected Honorary Mayor of Hollywood in 1955.
5. She was the host of the annual Tournament of Roses Parade on NBC from 1956 until 1975 when the network replaced her, feeling she was too identified with rival network CBS due to her new-found success on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
6. She starred in a 1956 episode of The Millionaire as Virginia Lennart, who - after receiving her million dollars - closed her diner in Keokuk, Iowa, in order to travel through Europe where she found romance with an Italian count.
7. She played Vicki Angel on the 1957-58 sitcom, Date with the Angels, which was replaced in 1958 by The Betty White Show, a short-lived variety series.
8. She made her feature film debut as a senator in the 1962 drama, Advise and Consent.
9. She and Bonanza actor Lorne Greene were the hosts of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade from 1962 to 1971.
10. On June 14, 1963, she married her third husband, television host Allen Ludden, whom she had met on his game show, Password, in 1961 (they were together until his death in 1981).
11. She appeared in a 1968 episode of That's Life, an ABC musical comedy series, with guest stars Paul Lynde and Sid Caesar.
12. She played June Lockhart's librarian friend in a 1969 episode of Petticoat Junction.
13. She became an animal rights activist while producing and hosting the syndicated series, The Pet Set (1970-71), which spotlighted celebrities and their pets.
14. She and her husband, Allen Ludden, were guest stars on a 1972 episode of The Odd Couple, in which Felix and Oscar appeared on Ludden's game show, Password.
15. She was a celebrity panelist on the game show, Match Game, from 1973 to 1982.
16. On September 15, 1973, she made her first appearance as Sue Ann Nivens in "The Lars Affair" episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, in which The Happy Homemaker has an affair with Phyllis Lindstrom's never-seen husband, Lars.
17. She served Veal Prince Orloff as Sue Ann Nivens during "The Dinner Party", a classic 1973 episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
18. She won two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 1975 and 1976 for role on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
19. She appeared in a 1975 episode of the NBC drama, Lucas Tanner.
20. She appeared in a 1975 episode of Ellery Queen, in which Eve Arden was the murder victim.
21. She was a guest on The Carol Burnett Show for the first time on November 22, 1975, and played Ellen, Eunice's older sister, who shows up for Mama's birthday in "The Family" sketch.
22. She was a guest star twice on The Sonny & Cher Show in 1976 (along with Frankie Avalon and Gabe Kaplan) and 1977 (along with Ken Berry and Flip Wilson).
23. She was a guest star on The Paul Lynde Halloween Special on October 29, 1976, along with Florence Henderson, the rock band KISS and many others.
24. She was hilarious as a deeply depressed Sue Ann Nivens in her tawdry bedroom in the 1976 episode, "Sue Ann's Sister", of The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
25. She was a guest on The Carol Burnett Show on December 11, 1976, in which she revealed in "The Family" sketch (as Eunice's sister Ellen) the fate of Eunice's pet rabbit, Fluffy, years earlier.
26. She was a guest star on The Jacksons variety show on February 9, 1977.
27. She had her own short-lived CBS sitcom, The Betty White Show (1977-78), in which she played a middle-aged actress who lands the lead in a fictitious police series, Undercover Woman (a parody of Police Woman). The series was canceled after only 14 episodes.
28. She performed twice on the annual CBS television special, Circus of the Stars, in 1977 and 1979.
29. She was a guest on The John Davidson Christmas Special in December 1977.
30. She was a guest star - along with Paul Lynde and Andy Gibb - on the ABC variety show, Donny & Marie, on January 27, 1978.
31. She was a guest on The Carol Burnett Show on March 5, 1978, in which she appeared in "The Family" sketch (as Eunice's sister Ellen), an As the Stomach Turns parody, and a spoof of the Frankie Avalon-Annette Funicello beach party movies called Beach Blanket Boo-Boo.
32. She was the "Woman of the Hour" on the Dean Martin Celebrity Roast on May 31, 1978.
33. She was a guest star - along with Paul Lynde and Suzanne Somers - on the ABC variety show, Donny & Marie, on December 1, 1978.
34. She appeared in the 1978 TV movie, With This Ring, as John Forsythe's estranged wife and Mary Crosby's mother.
35. She played Harvey Korman's wife in the 1978 pilot, Snavely, which was a remake of the British sitcom, Fawlty Towers.
36. She was a guest star - along with Vicki Lawrence, Robert Urich and Gary Coleman - on the ABC TV special, Paul Lynde at the Movies, on March 24, 1979.
37. She appeared in the four-hour 1979 NBC movie, The Best Place to Be, starring Donna Reed.
38. She played Anita from Calorie Counters Anonymous in the 1979 TV movie, Before and After, starring Patty Duke.
39. She made a cameo appearance in the 1980 TV movie, The Gossip Columnist, starring Kim Cattrall as a gossip columnist.
40. She played the role of Betsy on The Love Boat four times from 1981 to 1985. Betsy and Julie McCoy's Aunt Sylvia (Carol Channing) were aging showgirls with a love/hate relationship.
41. She played Swoosie Kurtz's boss Charlotte in a 1982 episode of Love, Sidney.
42. She played Carol Burnett's sister Ellen in the 1982 TV movie, Eunice.
43. She appeared as herself in a 1982 episode of the syndicated sitcom, Madame's Place, starring the bawdy puppet, Madame.
44. In 1983, she became the first woman to win a Daytime Emmy Award as Outstanding Game Show Host for NBC's Just Men!, which only lasted 13 weeks.
45. She had a recurring role playing Ellen Jackson on the series, Mama's Family, from 1983 to 1984 (and she made one final appearance in 1986).
46. She and Nancy Walker made special guest appearances in a 1983 episode of Fame.
47. She played book editor Wilma Klein in a 1984 episode of Hotel.
48. She played Dr. Westphall's old friend, Capt. Gloria Neal, in two 1985 episodes of St. Elsewhere.
49. She dated a dwarf as Rose Nylund in the memorable 1985 episode, "A Little Romance", of The Golden Girls.
50. She was the object of a lesbian's affections as Rose Nylund in the amusing 1986 episode, "Isn't It Romantic", of The Golden Girls.
51. She won an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for The Golden Girls in 1986.
52. She did an amazing dance performance as Rose Nylund in the 1987 episode, "One for the Money", of The Golden Girls.
53. She appeared in a 1987 episode of the syndicated sitcom, D.C. Follies.
54. She released her autobiography, Betty White in Person, in 1987.
55. When she was an honoree on This Is Your Life in 1987, the TV series arranged for a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her late husband Allen Ludden right next to her own. It was unveiled on March 31, 1988.
56. In January 1988, NBC created a contest, "Where's Betty?", in which fans had to spot Betty White's cameo appearances on the network's daytime soap operas over the course of a week. She appeared on Santa Barbara in the uncredited role of a clumsy waitress.
57. She appeared in a 1988 episode of Another World as Brenda Barlowe, an old girlfriend of Mac Cory's.
58. She appeared as a nurse in a 1988 episode of Days of our Lives.
59. She received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on February 18, 1988.
60. She appeared in a 1990 episode of Carol Burnett's comedy series, Carol & Company.
61. She starred in the 1991 TV movie, Chance of a Lifetime, with Leslie Nielsen and Elaine Stritch.
62. She continued to play the character of Rose Nylund on the 1992-93 Golden Girls spin-off, The Golden Palace.
63. She played Bob Newhart's boss on the second season of his 1992-93 sitcom, Bob.
64. She played Marie Osmond's man-obsessed mother on the 1995-96 ABC sitcom, Maybe This Time.
65. She won an Emmy in 1996 for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series, appearing as herself in an episode of The John Larroquette Show.
66. She received an Emmy Award nomination for her appearance in a 1996 episode of Suddenly Susan called "Golden Girl Friday".
67. She provided the voice of Santa's wife Gretchen in the 1996 animated TV special, The Story of Santa Claus.
68. When she was offered the role of Helen Hunt's mother in 1997's As Good as It Gets, she turned it down because she objected to the treatment of the dog in the film.
69. She played Bruce Willis' mother in the 1999 Rob Reiner film, The Story of Us.
70. She played Ally McBeal's therapist in a 1999 episode of the series.
71. She appeared in the 1999 film, Lake Placid, as a widow who is revealed to have raised a giant man-eating crocodile (which accidentally ate her husband).
72. She played Alfred Molina's mother, Mitzi Stiles, in the 1999-01 CBS sitcom, Ladies Man.
73. She played herself in two episodes of The Simpsons in 2000 and 2007.
74. She played long-time school bus driver Mrs. Gibson on a 2001 episode of The Ellen Show.
75. She played Steve Martin's racist neighbor in the 2003 film, Bringing Down the House.
76. She received an Emmy Award nomination for her 2004 guest star appearance as Catherine Piper on The Practice.
77. She continued to play the role of Catherine Piper on TV's Boston Legal from 2005 to 2008.
78. From December 2006 until November 2009, she appeared on the daytime soap opera, The Bold and the Beautiful, in the recurring role of Ann Douglas, the long-lost mother of Stephanie Forrester.
79. On the 2007 TV Land Awards, she starred in a parody of Ugly Betty called Ugly Betty White, in which she played the title character, with Charo as her sister and Erik Estrada as her father.
80. She appeared as herself in a 2007 episode of TV's Ugly Betty.
81. She played Ryan Reynolds' grandmother in the 2009 film, The Proposal.
82. She appeared in a 2009 episode of Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List.
83. She appeared with Abe Vigoda in a Snickers commercial during the 2010 Super Bowl.
84. Since 2010, she has played Elka Ostrovsky on TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland - a role that earned her an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 2011.
85. On May 8, 2010, she became the oldest person to host Saturday Night Live, for which she also received a 2010 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series.
86. She played Grandma Bunny in the 2010 film, You Again.
87. She appeared as an anthropology professor in two 2010 episodes of NBC's Community.
88. In 2011, she teamed up with English singer Luciana to produce a new music video of the latter's song, "I'm Still Hot", with a portion of the net proceeds benefiting the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (White has been a member of its board of directors since 1974).
89. In 2011, she appeared in an AARP commercial, in which she washed her car with a little help from hunky fitness model (and former Dish of the Day) James Ellis.
90. She won her first Grammy Award in 2012 for Best Spoken Word Album for the audio recording of her 2011 book, If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won't).
91. She is a registered Democrat and endorsed Barack Obama in 2012.