Only a true icon can spawn a death hoax that sticks.
Betty White fans freaked in 2014 when this “satirical” headline went viral for the first time: “Actress Betty White, 93, Dyes Peacefully in her Los Angeles Home.” The bad joke resurfaced in late 2019.
Relax: Betty is alive and well — and celebrating her 98th birthday at home Friday with “longtime friends and her stepchildren” (with the late Allen Ludden), an anonymous tipster tells Closer Weekly. “She still likes to drink, laugh and tell stories.”
In honor of this momentous occasion, we’re taking a look back at some of the best bon mots from this unabashed vodka lover’s 80 years in the entertainment biz.
Sure, Mary Tyler Moore could turn the world on with her smile — but her scene-stealing co-star is the one who stole our hearts for the long haul.
From her pioneering work in the 1950s (she was the first woman to produce a sitcom) to her 1970s breakthough as the oversexed Sue Anne Nivens on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” to innocent naif Rose Nylund on “The Golden Girls” to voiceover work in “Toy Story 4,” Betty has always been a sure bet.
On making history
“When we started in television [in ‘Life With Elizabeth’ from 1952 to 1955], there was that magic box in the corner of the room, and ‘Oh my gosh — look what it’s doing!’”
On working in her 90s
“Retirement is not in my vocabulary. They aren’t going to get rid of me that way.”
“The bottom line is, I’m blessed with good health. On top of that, I don’t go around thinking … ‘I better do this or I better do that.’ I’m just Betty. I’m the same Betty that I’ve always been. Take it or leave it.”
On her love of animals
“Animals don’t lie. Animals don’t criticize. If animals have moody days, they handle them better than humans do.”
“I’m not into animal rights — I’m only into animal welfare and health. I’ve been with the Morris Animal Foundation for over 50 years. We’re a health organization. We fund campaign health studies for dogs, cats, lizards and wildlife. I’ve worked with the L.A. Zoo for about the same length of time.”
“If everyone took personal responsibility for their animals, we wouldn’t have a lot of the animal problems that we do. I’m a big spay-and-neuter supporter. Don’t have babies if you’re not going to take care of those babies. We don’t need more. We just need to take care of the ones we have. Take responsibility and breathe kindness.”
“I’m not a big cook. I only go in the kitchen to feed my dog.”
“I don’t care who anybody sleeps with. If a couple has been together all that time — and there are gay relationships that are more solid than some heterosexual ones — I think it’s fine if they want to get married. I don’t know how people can get so anti-something.”
“I just make it my business to get along with people so I can have fun. It’s that simple.”
“Gays love old ladies.”
“Well, I mean, if a joke or humor is bawdy, it’s got to be funny enough to warrant it. You can’t just have it bawdy or dirty just for the sake of being that — it’s got to be funny.”
“Animal lover that I am, a cougar I am not.”
On her career
“I’m the luckiest broad on two feet, I’ll tell you that. They say once a woman passes 40 she doesn’t get any good parts, so I’m blessed.”
“I cannot stand the people who get wonderful starts in show business and who abuse it. Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen, for example, although there are plenty of others, too. They are the most blessed people in the world, and they don’t appreciate it.”
“I have no regrets at all. None. I consider myself to be the luckiest old broad on two feet.”