Betty Marion White Ludden (born January 17, 1922) is an American actress and comedian. With a television career spanning over 80 years, White has worked longer in that medium than anyone else in the television industry. Regarded as a pioneer of television, she was one of the first women to exert control in front of and behind the camera and is recognized as the first woman to produce a sitcom (Life with Elizabeth), which contributed to her receiving the honorary title Mayor of Hollywood in 1955.
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ON THE ART OF A DIRTY JOKE.
“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.”
ON HER REGRETS.
“I have no regrets at all. None. I consider myself to be the luckiest old broad on two feet.”
ON WHETHER SHE’S EVER MADE SOMEONE ANGRY. (SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE, RIGHT?)
“I have two ex-husbands.”
ON LIKING OLDER MEN.
“I’ve always liked older men. They’re just more attractive to me. Of course, at my age there aren’t that many left!”
ON HANDLING GRIEF.
“There’s no formula. Keep busy with your work and your life. You can’t become a professional mourner. It doesn’t help you or others. Keep the person in your heart all the time. Replay the good times. Be grateful for the years you had.”
ON HER ACCOMPLISHMENTS OUTSIDE OF SHOW BUSINESS.
“I’ve worked with the Morris Animal Foundation for over 50 years, I’ve worked with the Los Angeles Zoo for over 50 years. The Morris Animal Foundation is an animal health organization, and we fund humane studies into specific health problems—dogs, cats, horses and zoo and wildlife. And at one point, I said nobody was addressing pain in animals … I said, okay, I’ll start it. And so, bless their hearts, they sent out these brochures about anybody wanting to research that and study it. And now, there’s not a scientific study that Morris Animal Foundation funds—and they fund hundreds—that doesn’t have pain medication built into the research. And I think I’m happiest about that.”
“If you’re walking with your lady on the sidewalk, I still like to see a man walking street-side, to protect the lady from traffic. I grew up with that, and I hate to see something like that get lost. I still like to see that a man opens the door. I like those touches of chivalry that are fast disappearing. If I sound old-fashioned, it’s because I’m as old as I am! But it’s just polite.”
ON HER CAREER LONGEVITY.
“I had no idea that I would still be around at this point for one thing, but that I’d still be privileged enough to still be in this business. And it is such a privilege. And the bottom line I think to the television business is that unless you’re a real bad egg, it is such fun. It really is. Thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
“Butterflies are like women – we may look pretty and delicate, but we can fly through a hurricane.”
“Animals are near and dear to my heart and I’ve devoted my life to trying to improve theirs.”
“Everybody needs a passion. That’s what keeps life interesting. If you live without passion, you can go through life without leaving any footprints.”
“I really don’t care with whom you sleep, I just care what kind of a decent human being you are.”
“I don’t understand how people can get so anti-something. Mind your own business, take care of your affairs, and don’t worry about other people so much.”
“I’m a big cockeyed optimist. I try to accentuate the positive as opposed to the negative.”
“Retirement is not in my vocabulary. They aren’t going to get rid of me that way.”