Monday, January 17, 2011

Happy Birthday Betty White

Any day can be made a whole lot brighter if it's got some Betty White in it, and I should know; I've had some pretty dark days myself, and my Golden Girls DVDs have the grooves lasered into them to prove it.

PhotobucketWhite is, of course, a television legend, and the particular intimacy of television is best suited to her brand of magic. Her first sitcom, Life With Elizabeth, debuted in 1953; she was already well-known from her appearances on Password, What's My Line?, and To Tell the Truth, when she joined the cast of the hugely successful The Mary Tyler Moore Show in its fourth season, playing the conniving bitch Sue Ann Nivens. White was cast at its star's behest, since White is known to be one of the nicest people alive; Moore thought the contrast would be amusing. And was it ever!

Following the end of that show, White did more guest appearances, virtually becoming the queen of the game show in the process. In the early 80s, White also appeared as Ellen Harper Jackson, Eunice's two-faced sister on Mama's Family; then came the second smash of what had already been a smashing career.

Originally White was cast as Blanche in a new show called The Golden Girls; at her own insistence she took the role of Rose Nylund (since she felt the man-eating Blanche was too close to her old Sue Ann character). The title of the show proved prescient, and for seven years White spun gold from the sweet, wholesome Rose and her meandering stories about the goings-on in fictional St. Olaf, Minnesota.

Long active on behalf of animal welfare, White's career has accelerated in recent years, at a time when she could rightly sit back on her laurels. Currently White can be seen all over TV, on The Bold and the Beautiful and Boston Legal, as well as in guest spots on shows like Ugly Betty (in an episode wittily entitled Ugly Betty White), a hilarious appearance on Comedy Central's Roast of William Shatner, and occasional guest spots on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson with TV's Craig Ferguson.  Her fans are currently on tenterhooks awaiting the second season of TV Land's original sitcom Hot in Cleveland, in which White plays Elka Ostrovsky.
share on: facebook

No comments: