Today is Betty White’s birthday! Most of you probably know her from what has to be her most famous role, as “Rose Nylund” on The Golden Girls. But there’s more to Betty than her iconic St. Olaf-ian sweetheart character.
Did you know that…
–She’s been in show biz since 1939, starting her career in radio drama mere months after she graduated from high school?
–She’s a television pioneer? She starred, produced and created the 1952-1955 series Life With Elizabeth, which went into syndication in the mid-fifties, making her one of the few women with complete creative control of a television series, in front of and behind the camera.
–She was the hostess and commentator for the Tournament of Roses parade for nineteen years? White started hosting the event in 1956 and was replaced in 1975 after NBC (who aired the tournament) decided that her fame on rival network CBS’ The Mary Tyler Moore show would interfere with their brand. She also hosted the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade on NBC from 1962 to 1971.
–That she was the first woman to win the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host? She won the award in 1983 for hosting NBC’s Just Men!
–That she was the only one of The Golden Girls cast to be nominated for the Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series every year the show was on? (Estelle “Sophia Petrillo” Getty was also nominated every year, but in the Outstanding Supporting Actress Category.) She won the Emmy during the show’s first season.
–That she is a huge supporter of animal rights? She works with several groups, including the Los Angeles Zoo Commission, the Morris Animal Foundation, and Actors & Others for Animals. In October 2011, she was awarded an honorary degree and white doctors coat by Washington State University at the Washington State Veterinary Medical Association’s centennial gala in Yakima, Washington.
–That she is the oldest person to host Saturday Night Live? In 2010, at eighty-eight-years-old, she beat out eighty-year-old Miskel Spellman (who won the “Anybody Can Host SNL” contest in 1977) for the honor.
Isn’t she marvelous? She’s truly inspirational. Happy ninetieth, Betty! Here’s to another ninety years of awesomeness!