On Tuesday, January 17, we celebrate a true American treasure. Actress Betty White, famed for her roles as Sue Ann Nivens on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and Rose Nylund on "The Golden Girls," marks her 95th birthday.
White's career has touched every decade since before World War II. She's received seven Emmys, a Grammy, has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame. In 2013, the Guinness Book of World Records cited her for having the longest television career for a female entertainer.
She reached a new generation in 2010 with a starring role in the TV Land comedy "Hot in Cleveland," and has become a social-media meme darling ever since. Though not all of those quotes attributed to her are really hers -- check Snopes before you share!
If you're not yet a member of the Cult of Betty, here are five classic videos that will have you raising a glass, and a piece of cake, in her honor. But not a slice of bread, because as a common meme reminds us, the first non-prototype bread-slicer didn't come along until 1928, making Betty White officially older than sliced bread.
1. 'News from a Woman's Point of View'
In this classic "Mary Tyler Moore Show" clip, White's Sue Ann auditions to deliver "News from a Woman's Point of View," which means natural disasters and tragedies get gussied up with decorating details. Watch White when she first slides into the anchor chair and lets Ted Knight (as pompous newsman Ted Baxter) know she doesn't need any 1970s mansplaining.
2. Rose's cupcakes are dry and tasteless
Bea Arthur's Dorothy has a confession, and she's not really talking about cupcakes. This "Golden Girls" scene is played so well it's unclear whether White's Rose is in on what Dorothy is telling her, or if her sweet naivete is for real. Watch up until the end when Betty Hulks out on an innocent coffee cup. If the scene reminds you of a similar sketch, you may be thinking of this "Saturday Night Live" sketch where Betty discusses her, uh, "dusty muffin."
3. Betty as MacGruber's grandma
Will Forte's MacGruber, the poor-man's MacGyver of "Saturday Night Live," has third-rate bomb-defusing skills. They get even worse in 2010 when White played his grandma, who slows down the critical countdown with her demands that he say "please" and "thank you," and her embarrassing stories from MacGruber's childhood. Dammit, Grandma!
4. Betty White and Abe Vigoda in Super Bowl ad
Both Betty White and the late Abe Vigoda were in their late eighties when they joined in to poke fun at their age in a memorable 2010 Super Bowl commercial for Snickers. It's just for fun, but we still want to gang-tackle the dude who dares smash Betty White into a mud puddle. Watch it, guy. That's an American legend right there.
5. Johnny Carson and Betty as Adam and Eve
Long before Jimmy Fallon, it was tough to imagine anyone other than Johnny Carson hosting the "The Tonight Show." And in this classic clip from 1979, Carson and White spoof the then-current news story of Lee Marvin's palimony suit, playing the original biblical couple, Adam and Eve, dealing with relationship woes. Young folks who adore Betty today might remember, but those of us who are a little older grew up with Carson as much a permanent part of our television lives as the dial. Uh, a "dial" is what we used to change channels before remotes came along. Betty would understand.
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