Betty White

April 28, 2014

IamA Betty White AMA!

My short bio: I'm Betty White, star of TV Land's Hot in Cleveland. We're about to celebrate the taping of the series' 100th episode! I'm here to answer your questions so, AMA.


Thanks so much. It's been great hearing your questions. Please know how deeply I appreciate your support. Tons of Love, Betty.

Hello Betty!

I wanted to start off by saying that my mom and I used to watch Golden Girls all the time and that Rose was our favorite character, so ♫thank you for being a friend!

What has been your fondest memory working with Bea, Rue, and Estelle on the show? Also, how did TV production differ then versus now?

Just being with all of the girls was wonderful. Rue and I had such a ball because we would play games when we weren't on the show. We used to have riddles for each other between scenes and when the scene was over we would give each other the answer.

Hi Betty, my mom and I are big fans of your work. She especially likes you in Golden Girls. Today's her birthday so I was hoping you could wish her a good one. Her name's Mireille. Thanks.

Happy Birthday and love Mireille.

What an honor it is to be able to host you on this here glorious website Mrs. White! I understand that the Queen of England was so enamored by “The Golden Girls” that she requested you girls do a live show for her and the crew obliged? What was the plot and did you have to “tone down” some of the jokes, particularly those by Rue Mclanahan? Also, you and Rue decided to “swap personas” from your previous shows “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “Maude”. Are you happy with how Rose Nylund came to be, or does a little part of you wish you had been the more promiscuous Blanche character?

Also, it would mean a lot if you and fans alike would visit the young and upcoming sub, dedicated to the best show to ever air, /r/BackInSaintOlaf . Thanks for the laughs!

It was very exciting. The Queen was lovely. We were told not to address her unless we were addressed. She was up in a box and she came down on stage after with Princess Anne. She said lovely, pretty girls. I said and not bad body, and she said, "oh, no, not bad bodies!"

It was very exciting. The Queen was lovely. We were told not to address her unless we were addressed. She was up in a box and she came down on stage after with Princess Anne. She said lovely, pretty girls. I said and not bad body, and she said, "oh, no, not bad bodies!"

(in a very British accent, she said.)

Hello Ms. White. I am such a huge fan of all of your work!

What was the last thing that made you smile?

What is the best piece of advice you've been given in your life?

Thank you for being such a wonderful person both on and off screen. Much love from Toronto!

The last time I smiled, was when I walked in my dressing room this morning and say these friendly faces. I try not to give advice to others I have enough trouble trying to run my own life.

Favorite Animal?

Oh, that's asking somebody with 9 children which is their favorite! Anything with a leg on each corner.

Poor snakes. :(

I love snakes too!

If they were making a Betty White biopic, who do you envision playing the role of Betty White?

I would love it if it were Meryl Streep or Julie Andrews but they would probably cast someone like Chris Rock.

Did you ever meet Lucille Ball? If so what was she like?

Lucy was one of my dearest friends. Our mothers were both best friends. She was dynamite. Everything you saw was what you got. We used to play backgammon, and she used to teach me the game but she used to move the pieces so fast. I used to say how are you teaching me if you move the pieces so fast and she would say I want to win!

Betty white!! I'm a huge fan!! I've always wanted to ask, how do you stay with the mindset of a young woman?

Oh, because I'm childish at heart!

How have you developed such a close relationship with Craig Ferguson? I love seeing you on the show! Can you just be his official sidekick and have Geoff host the Late show?

But I can't make Geoff's weight. My relationship with Craig is such a delight. I had the pleasure of doing his first show when he first arrived when he came from Scotland. We became dear friends and it never stopped.

First of all, you're my role model and always have been since I was 8 years old and used to run home to catch Golden Girls for 4pm.

If you could relive one specific moment in life, what would it be?

Well at 92, that question gets pretty rough to answer. There have been so many special moments. One of the top ones was marrying Allen Ludden.

Hi Betty White! What's one thing you miss about television that isn't the same as it was when you started acting, and what's one thing you're glad to have now that you didn't back then?

Fortunately, I still get to do live television. It's the most fun of all. You look in to that camera and you're talking to only 2 or 3 people. If there are more than 3 people in a room, they are talking to each other and not listening to you, so that camera becomes you're most intimate conversation.

What's your favorite movie?

"Out of Africa"

Where do you get the ideas for the pranks on off their rockers?

I fortunately don't have anything to do with getting the ideas. That's up to other evil people.

Hi Betty, what was your favorite experience in the film industry?

The film industry gives you the opportunity to meet interesting people.

Hi Betty, is there any up-and-comer that reminds you of yourself?

There's nobody old enough.

What do you miss most about minnesota? I miss ice fishing

Not very much because I've never been there.

Not very much because I've never been there.

But two of my characters were both from Minnesota!

Hello Betty. How do you think show business has changed over the years?

I don't think show business has changed as much as the audience has. When I started out moving images on television were a real rarity. Now the audience from the beginning has heard every joke, seen everything, knows exactly where every joke is going. It's a hard audience to surprise,

Hi Betty! I know you love animals, can you tell us about any recent involvements with any particular group/organization?

I've worked with the Morris Animal Foundation for over 50 years. We're an animal health organization working for dogs, cats, horses and zoo and wildlife. We have helped developed the feline leukemia vaccine, the parvovirus vaccine, and many more.

I've also worked with the Los Angeles Zoo for over 50 years, as well as many others. Our biggest fundraiser for the LA Zoo this year is Saturday June 14, the Beastly Ball.

What is one hobby you have that nobody knows about?

I guess they all know about my crossword puzzle addiciton. I also make needlepoint rugs.

Hey, Betty! Can you remember when you first felt successful or when you knew what you wanted to do for the rest of your life?

When I wrote the graduation play from grammar school and of course wrote myself into the lead!

I love how brave you are. You stepped outside what it meant to be a proper lady that society created for all women, and showed everyone how to laugh and relax, 'cause you know we are all human. We should all be able to laugh at ourselves. Thanks for everything you do. No questions here just keep being incredible. We love you!

Thank you!

Betty, huge fan here!

If you never did acting, what would you have done?


How do you do it? You're acting career has been solid for many years while others have fizzled out. What keeps you going? What's your secret to having so much energy? Thank you for being part of many of the shows I grew up watching with my family. You're an amazing woman!

Thanks to my mom and dad, good genes.

What's your favourite memory from being on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson?

So many... being washed off the table during a flood scene. It was during a horrendous rainy season flood we were having here in LA. Johnny and I were sitting at a cafe table on stage and a ton of water came pouring out washing us off the stage! The producers said, pretend it washes you away. Pretend?! It was 500 gallons!

HI Betty White! This is so cool, I'm a big fan. What are your top 3 favorite smells? (mine are beeswax, the ocean, and the insides of books...someone asked me that once and I thought it was a cool question)

New puppies, pine trees, and new kittens.

What was George Burns like in person? Do you have an interesting story about him that not many people might know?

George was a delight. He could crack me up just by saying hello.

Hi Betty!

What was your week at SNL like? Were you very involved in conceptualizing the sketches that week? What was your favorite?

Oh yes, you start out with 41 sketches and then they gradually ween them down at the end of the week. It's scary but such great fun.

Loved Password as a kid, learned a lot. Do you have any interesting stories about the show?

I was rather fond of the man in the middle. Allen and I met on Password.

Betty, what music have you been listening to lately?

Opera and ballads, preferably by Johnny Mercer.

What's your relationship like with the rest of the Hot In Cleveland cast when the cameras aren't rolling?

We adore each other. We miss each other when we're not together.

What's your favorite cocktail to order?

Vodka on the rocks with a big lemon squeeze.

Being such a large supporter of the LA Zoo, how do feel about all the new additions to the zoo? What's your favorite animal in the Zoo?

Toto the chimpanzee. He was so special.

Hi Ms. White! Thanks so much for doing this. You are my favorite funny lady! What is your favorite guilty pleasure song?


Hi Betty! So, what are you currently watching on television?

And what current show would you like to act in?

Sorry, with my schedule I really don't watch TV.

Where is the strangest location that someone has recognized you?

Way up in Ireland, in the countryside.

What is a typical day in the life of Betty White? Also, what is your favorite food?

A day in my life is up at 6:30am, usually either appointments or working at home before filming. I go to work and come home, catch up on mail, to bed about midnight.

What did you think of the fish tank that they made you on Tanked?

It was perfectly beautiful.

What is your most cherished moment in your acting career?

Oh, after 66 years, that's a tough call.

What is your favourite type of candy/chocolate?

I'm not a big sweet tooth. However, if you happen to have any french fries...

Who do you think is the most famous person you have ever met?

President Obama, President Clinton, President Bush Sr., The Queen of England.

Who was the biggest influence on you growing up? Is there anything you regret? What's the one thing on your bucket list you still haven't done?

My mother and dad. They were the best... and the most fun!

Hi Betty! If you had once piece of advice for women everywhere, what would it be?

Again, I don't give advice.

What's the drive for someone like yourself to keep acting and taking roles and public appearances after all these years in the business?

Because I just love, love what I do for a living.

Betty White, you are too cool and thanks for doing this AMA! What's a fond childhood memory you have?

Packing into the high Sierra's on horse back and staying for 3 weeks every year, without seeing another human being. It was heaven. All our supplies were on mule back.

I like to ask questions that really matter so... pancakes or waffles?


How long do you plan to continue your career? Any signs of stopping or do we get to enjoy you for a while longer?

Edit: What advice do you have for us on living such a long life?

My long career is due to being blessed.

Hi Betty! Love you! What is your favourite role you've played? Who do you wish you could play again?

It's a toss up. Sue Ann Nivens and Rose. But I'm having a ball with Elka!

Your appearance on SNL was my favorite episode to date. What was your favorite part about shooting that episode?

Meeting and working with all of those talented and wonderful people was the best.

I love you in Hot in Cleveland!!! What's the best part about playing such a sassy woman on this show?

Working with that wonderful cast and crew is my favorite part.

Hi Betty, who was your inspiration to pursue comedy and acting?

My mother and dad were my inspiration. Not professionally, but we had the best time around the table.

What are your best memories from Match Game?

Oh, yes, Gene Rayburn was such fun. Once we'd break each other up, it was hard to stop.

Did you always want to do comedy?

I just find Comedy more fun. Drama is lovely but with Comedy you get an instant review. If the laugh doesn't happen, you blew it!

What's your favorite technological innovation of the past 25 years?

Sliced bread?

Hi Betty!

I was wondering what your favorite book is, or what book have you always wanted to read but haven't had a chance to yet?

My lifetime favorite are all of the Oz books.

Holy wow it's betty white! I'm starting a new band. Name it?

Rubber... Then you could be called Rubber Band.

How did it feel to get tackled in the snickers commercial?

It was icy cold in that water.

Betty White! Out of all the places you've visited, what's your favorite place outside the USA?

Yellowstone National Park is my favorite.

If you had to play any real life person in a movie, who would you want to play?

I would want to play Jane Goodall.

I love your book Betty & Friends, My Life at the Zoo. How did you become involved in working with wild animals?

Since before I can remember.

This interview was transcribed from an "ask me anything" question and answer session with Betty White conducted on Reddit on 2014-04-28. The Reddit AMA can be found here.