Monday, May 3, 2010

Inspirational Women in the Entertainment Industry: Betty White...

Betty White has been around the block, so to speak, quite a few times in all of her sixty-plus years in show business. She has worked in modeling, radio, live programming, films, television, and many animal rights' charities. She has been nominated for eighteen Emmy Awards and actually won four; she even has her own PINKs hot dog named for her. But she has never hosted Saturday Night Live. Until now.

This coming Saturday, May 8th, White will head to Studio 8H for the first time, participating in sketches and introducing special musical guest Jay-Z, for a sure-to-be record-breaking Mother's Day episode. At eighty-eight years old, White considers herself "blessed to be in good health," so she is therefore not worried about the demanding nature of the show and it's late hour. "If I get four or five hours of sleep a night, I'm good," White shared with My Life, Made Possible by Pop Culture on a phone interview late last month.

What she is more concerned about, however, is doing justice to the writer's words. White admitted nothing is really off-limits for her as a host of the popular sketch comedy show. She wouldn't be opposed to making fun of some of her iconic past roles, such as Sue Ann Nivens or Rose Nylund, or even some of her past co-stars. Though White did admit to being a bit protective of recent co-star Sandra Bullock, who is still making headlines due to her (now soon-to-be ex) husband's affairs. "I believe another person's private life is no business of mine or anyone else's," she said, matter-of-factly. Needless to say, if a sketch about philandering Jesse James is pitched to White for her SNL episode, it is a safe bet that she will be using her "veto power" on it!

Just about everything else is fair game, though, as one might expect with someone as sharp and witty as White. "I find I do better when I just shoot from my hip and hope for the best," she said simply. "I've always had a bawdy sense of humor!" Something which certainly attributed to her longevity in this industry, but she is too humble to take full credit for how she has become so beloved across so many generations.

In her own words: "The amazing thing is, some of the kids grew up with me, but their parents also grew up with me, and in many cases their grandparents also grew up with me! I've just sort of been around as a fixture. When I do a book signing or anything like that, the kids come up, and they weren't born when Mary Tyler Moore was on-- or even Golden Girls-- but that's what comes with good writing. The writing on both those shows, that's what keeps bringing them back and makes them work for any generation."

White has seen so many different audiences with all of her time within this industry, and she admitted that they are what has changed most over the years. "[Today's] audience has heard every joke; they know every story line; they know where something's going before we even take off," she explained. "That's hard to write for, and that's hard to perform for, because that's a tough audience to surprise!"

There is no doubt audiences will be tuning in in droves on the 8th to see White in all of her glory on stage in front of a live studio audience. If you're planning to watch-- with your friends at a viewing party, with your family in the living room, or simply by yourself on your computer-- be sure to pick up one of my snazzy "When I grow up, I want to be Betty White" tee-shirts to wear for the occasion!

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