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Betty White’s Advice at 100: “Avoid Anything Green”

Betty White
Betty White turns 100 on January 17, 2021. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Greek-American Betty White, whose mother’s family hailed from Greece, has some unorthodox advice as she nears her 100th birthday on January 17, 2022: “I try to avoid anything green,” she states.

The American comedic giant, a veteran of the iconic television shows The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Carol Burnett Show and Golden Girls, admitted to interviewers from NBC’s TODAY Show this week “I’m so lucky to be in such good health and feel so good at this age.”

All those who adore the comedy star, whose wit hasn’t dimmed a bit over the decades, can join together for a showing of the one-day-only theatrical event called “Betty White: 100 Years Young,” which is being distributed nationwide by Fathom Events on January 17.

Fathom Events to host one-day cinema event “Betty White: 100 Years  Young”

White herself plans to celebrate her centennial quietly, with a small gathering and her beloved pets. “I’ll surround myself with as many animals as possible,” she told People magazine, which will feature White on its cover on January 10.

The film on White’s incredible life and long career will be shown in 900 movie theaters across the US on her birthday, according to Variety. The movie will portray the comedienne’s long career as well as her life behind the scenes, including her important work as an advocate for animals.

She is the guiding light and major contributor to the Morris Animal Foundation,
the largest nonprofit foundation in the world dedicated to funding studies to improve and protect the health of companion animals and wildlife.

The new film allows all her fans to take part in a virtual birthday celebration for White, along with her old friends, showbiz luminaries Carol Burnett, Tina Fey, Morgan Freeman and Robert Redford.

White spoke about the secrets to a long life in her People cover story. “I try to avoid anything green,” she joked, adding “I guess it’s working.”

Clearly, the Greek-American actress is not a proponent of Greece’s famed Mediterranean diet, which is heavy on the fruits, vegetables and olive oil. White’s tastes are distinctly more American – she is known for her love of hot dogs and drinking vodka with just a splash of grapefruit.

She also indulges in a peanut butter, bologna and iceberg lettuce sandwich on white bread for lunch every day. Kiersten Mikelas, who has been White’s executive personal assistant for many years, says that White’s mother made the snack for her when she was a child.

But White sounds very Greek indeed when she tells the public that the secret to living a joyful life is to “taste every moment.”

The irrepressible comic’s barbed wit as the sarcastic, passive aggressive Sue Ann Nivens on the Mary Tyler Moore Show, whose softer side was shown when she played the impossibly naive Rose Nylund in The Golden Girls, endeared her to generations.

White’s character Sue Ann Nivens noted for sickly-sweet persona coupled with barbed wit

A running gag on the MTM series was how Sue Anne’s aggressive, cynical personality was the complete opposite of her relentlessly perky TV persona on the fictional WJM-TV show within the show. “We need somebody who can play sickeningly sweet, like Betty White,” Moore herself suggested at a production meeting, which resulted in casting White herself.

White won two Emmy Awards back-to-back for her role in the immensely popular series.

She married television star Allen Ludden in 1963; they were married until he passed away in 1981. To this day she honors him every morning when she wakes up.

“She keeps a photo of him on her bedside table and blows him a kiss every morning,” Mikelas told reporters, adding “At night when she opens the shutters, she blows a kiss to him up in the sky. He is on her mind constantly.”

White’s sharp wit is still finely honed. Her assistant told People that she had recently discussed reuniting with an old boyfriend with the actress.

“Betty said, ‘Well, if he doesn’t want to be exclusive, screw him,’ her assistant stated. “Then she paused, looked at me and said, ‘But don’t screw him.’ That’s Betty, bubbly, naughty and sweet, all at the same time.”

White is a “badass who has left us all in the dust”

All those who have worked with White in recent years are in awe of her comedic talents.

Ryan Reynolds, who starred with her in 2009’s “The Proposal,” told People “Betty pivots like I have never seen, making it look seamless. The rest of us just remain silent and pray we’re not cut out of the scene.”

Reynolds then said that White was “a typical Capricorn” because she sleeps during the daytime and spends her nights “boozing and snacking on men.”

Actress Sandra Bullock, who also worked with White in “The Proposal” said she salutes the comedienne on her 100th birthday “With humor, kindness and a vodka on ice, toasting to the fact that she’s a badass who has left us all in the dust.”

Follow comedy icon Carol Burnett explained White’s unique take on humor. “Betty had this reputation before she got on ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ of being cutesy-sweetsy, and then she went on Johnny Carson’s show and totally slayed,” she stated.

“She was very bawdy and very funny. She’d come on my show, and if there was a tinge of risqué humor in one of our sketches, she’d roll with it and make it even funnier and add a little wink to show that she was thinking of something sexy. She’s not a stand-up. She’s not a jokester. It’s the way she can twist a line to get a laugh.”

 

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