Betty White is an extremely well-known public figure. You probably know she starred on the hit tv series Golden Girls. You more than likely have heard about her popping in critically acclaimed shows such as Community. And you’ve probably even seen her hit movies such as The Proposal and Toy Story 4.
But there are several fun and lesser-known facts about this paragon of mainstream entertainment that we just had to tell you about. Here are 5 fun facts about Betty White that you probably didn’t know (with a little bonus fact thrown in because Betty always went the extra mile in life and media).
Betty initially auditioned for the role of Blanche in The Golden Girls
While most known for her role as comically clueless Rose in The Golden Girls, Betty White had originally auditioned for the role of Blanche Devereaux – a fun-loving, outgoing, and promiscuous character.
But the casting director had different plans. Rue Mclanhan, who eventually went on to play Blanche, was originally the front runner for Rose. This was mostly due to her role on the hit show Maude – an “All In The Family” spin-off where Rue played a sugary yet befuddled Vivian Harmon.
On the Mary Tyler Moore show, Betty played a flirt by the name of Sue Nivens, who closely resembled Blanche’s personality. Fearing typecasting, the producers decided the two should switch the roles, and the rest as they say, was history.
Betty Was Nominated for an Emmy in Six Decades
Betty White has had a long and illustrious career. She’s also been nominated for the top television prize in six different decades. Her first nomination came in 1951 for her role as Elizabeth in “Life with Elizabeth. Although she didn’t win her first nomination, Betty went on to win for roles on Saturday Night Live, The John Larroquette Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and of course, The Golden Girls. She was truly a gifted performer, who proved her talent could stand the test of time.
Betty Never Took Acting Lessons
You would think that a giant in the industry with a career spanning 80 years would have started with lessons on how to have such an impact. Not Betty! The Emmy award winner’s thoughts are pretty straight forward: “I just want to bring as much natural as I can. I’m not saying people who take acting lessons are false. They’re much better than I am. It’s just not for me!” Another fact that proves that Betty was just different than most, which added to her authenticity and made her truly unique.
Betty Passed on As Good As It Gets
“As Good As It Gets” is hailed as one of the best movies of 1997, and possibly of all time. It netted Oscars for both its lead actor, Jack Nicholson, and it’s lead actress, Helen Hunt. It also earned a best picture nomination. So why would Betty turn this movie down? Well, there was a very specific scene she refused to film, because of possible audience ramifications. In that scene, Nicholson’s character tosses a small dog down a laundry shoot. In an interview with Joy Behar, Betty said she didn’t want to do the film and have people tossing dogs down laundry chutes for laughs. At first, she accepted the role and tried to get the scene cut. But when the producers wouldn’t budge, White moved on and someone else was cast.
Betty White LOVED Junk Food
Betty lived a long and full life. Some of her costars jokingly contribute it to her dietary habits of Red Vines, Hotdogs and French Fries. She washed all of that down with a diet coke! Her “Hot in Cleveland” costar, Wendie Malick, said Betty White “…seems to exist on hotdogs and french fries…” Whatever the case, it would be hard to argue that her diet was unhealthy for her, seeing as she lived to a week shy of her 100th birthday. But it’s yet another example of how Betty White lived life on her own terms.
Betty White and Bea Arthur Had a Small Feud During Golden Girls
Betty was beloved by costars and fans alike. However, her and Golden Girls star, Bea Arthur, didn’t always see eye to eye. This was largely chalked up to a personality difference. Bea took the work very seriously and White would sometimes be chatting up the studio audience during the breaks. Bea’s son chimed in that perhaps it was the awards snub that got under Bea’s skin. Even if the two weren’t always thankful for being a friend, we were thankful for their onscreen chemistry.
BONUS: Betty Volunteered During WWII
You read that correctly, dear reader. Betty White put her career on hold to volunteer in the war efforts by joining the American Women’s Voluntary Services. Betty drove a truck delivering supplies around the Hollywood Hills by day. At night, she could be seen delivering sendoffs to soldiers.
Betty White is an American Treasure, and we’ll continue to celebrate this fantastic woman and all the joy and merriment she brought to our hearts. We hope you know and love her just little bit more now, because let’s face it, she was truly one of a kind. We love you, Betty White!