While making a guest appearance in the recent past, Betty White commented that she is over-exposed. Oddly enough, that had been my exact thought about a week before. Both she and I were right by our understanding, but wrong by today’s standards. Born in 1922, Betty White has been acting since 1939, or more than 60 years, and was just as delightful and sassy in the 1950’s as she is now. I remember her starring in Life with Elizabeth when I was in elementary school. That was my first introduction to her.
Over the years, I have watched her progress from show to show until she dropped out of sight after Golden Girls. Last year, there was an avalanche of Facebook requests for her to appear as the host of Saturday Night Live! persisting until she finally did host the show. Like a firecracker that had exploded, she was suddenly everywhere, television, movies, and doing advertisements. It was during one of those appearances that she made her “over-exposed” comment. Time was when over-exposure meant that you would flame out quickly and that’s what Betty White and I both expected.
What we had both forgotten was that she is a most beloved star and by many generations. That’s what happens when you do one thing and do it very well. She was a woman libber before they existed since she worked behind the camera forming a partnership with two men to produce television shows. She can play a ditsy woman with total innocence or a vamp convincingly all the while making us laugh. She can make us all laugh without ever uttering an obscenity or hurting anyone. She has been committed for decades to providing for all animals and their care.
Her one and only marriage was to Allen Ludden who was a wonderful man. You have to admire that type of dedication and love. She has many of the qualities that made her generation so special, a good heart matched with solid, enduring values. Isn’t it odd that we seem to cling to her and all that she stands for in this peculiar time? I understand my generation feeling that way, but the young folk love her just as much as we do. Betty, you and I were wrong and I am so glad. You earned all the accolades you receive and thousands more. What a wonderful example you are for all of us. Thank you.