hobbyDB creator, Crowdfunding owner and Golden Girls curator LarryMoeCurly shares with us some thoughts on the passing of the legendary Betty White and impact the actress had on her life. Check back next week when we celebrate what would have been White’s 100th birthday with a look at some of the fun collectibles dedicated to her and her amazing life.
Betty White was introduced to my life via her naïve, yet resilient character Rose Nylund on the hit show “The Golden Girls.”
Over time, the show became my go-to comfort show. You know the type of show I’m talking about: The one you put on when you want to escape from the stress of the world. One that is familiar and seemingly hugs your heart through the screen. The cast worked together seamlessly with their comedic timing, especially Betty White.
Occasionally, she would go off script which resulted in hilarious out takes and one particular scene that made it past the cutting room floor.
In it, she tells the tale of the “Great Herring War.” Two families, the Lindstroms and the Johanssons, fought over what was referred to as some of the best and most fertile herring waters off of the coast. The Johanssons wanted to pickle and sell the herring but the Lindstroms wanted to train the herring for a small herring circus.
As she ad-libbed some of the content, you can see co-stars Bea Arthur and Rue McClanahan try and fail to keep their composure. You can enjoy the scene here –
Like me, many people, especially the younger generations were first exposed to Betty White this way. The truth is that she was on television from the beginning; when it was still considered an experiment.
A few month’s after her high school graduation, she participated in one such experimental show where she preformed songs from The Merry Widow. She found work as a model and began her first professional acting job in a local theater.
WWII began and Betty White put her acting career on hold and volunteered for the military. More specifically, The American Women’s Voluntary Services. Commenting on her wartime service, White said, “It was a strange time and out of balance with everything.”
After the war she was actually turned down by movie studios because she was not photogenic enough so she went searching for radio jobs where she eventually had her own show, The Betty White Show. After co-hosting Hollywood on TV, a live TV show, for a few years (1949-1952), she became the host of the show after the other host departed. In 1951 she was nominated for her first Emmy.
She co-founded a production company during this time as well, making her the first woman to produce a sitcom. The Betty White Show (TV) began in 1952 and had reoccurring appearances by Arthur Duncan who was a talented tap dancer. He was also African American. In that time, this was apparently not acceptable to many viewers, mainly from the south as the show had become syndicated and was now nationwide.
Betty and the show faced backlash from certain demographics who threatened to boycott if Duncan wasn’t removed. Betty responded to this by issuing the statement “I’m sorry. Live with it,” and gave Duncan more airtime. NBC eventually canceled the show.
I could go on and on about Betty White’s career, but to me this was such a defining moment. As she said in one of her blooper reels from Hot in Cleveland, “honey badger don’t give a shit” what unkind people thought of her kind action.
Betty White was smart, beautiful, powerful and most of all, Betty White was full of love. That is what I think people saw in her that resonated so much. In times where you can look around and wonder where compassion and empathy have gone, Betty was like a lighthouse that let us know there were still people out there who were actually walking the walk that gets talked about so much.
Here’s to you Betty White and to a life fully and well lived. We’ll miss you. You rest in peace now.
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Thanks LMC – a very nice commentary and a great remembrance!
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