“Why quit something you’re enjoying so much?” That’s Betty White’s explanation for why she’s still working at the age of 90.
Retirement is simply not an option for White, and that’s more than fine with television viewers. They love laughing with her just as much as she loves making them laugh. Legendary for her roles as Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls, White suddenly became Hollywood’s “it girl” a few years ago—at the ripe old age of 88—when she starred in a strangely funny Super Bowl commercial for Snickers.
An unlikely prankster
These days, White stays in the spotlight as one of the stars of the TV Land sitcom Hot in Cleveland and as the host of the NBC show Betty White’s Off Their Rockers, which finds a cast of senior citizens pulling all sorts of pranks on unsuspecting young people whose reactions are caught on hidden cameras.
Proving you’re never too old to have a little fun, Betty White’s Off Their Rockers kicks off its second season with two back-to-back episodes airing Tuesday, January 8. The first one, at 8 p.m. EST, has White and her cohorts learning how to make a viral video from Psy, the South Korean sensation who took the world by storm last year with his hit “Gangnam Style.” White was eager to master Psy’s signature horse dance. “He was very, very nice and so funny,” she says. “I don’t think he wanted to teach us the dance, but I tried to copy him anyway.” For the second segment, at 8:30 p.m. EST, White helps Kim Kardashian get ready for a night out on the town.
Although the series bears her name, White actually turned down the job when the producers first approached her. It wasn’t because she didn’t like the idea; it was because she didn’t think she could make time for yet another project in her hectic schedule.
But the producers wouldn’t give up, and they kept courting White. “Of course, I have the backbone of a jellyfish, so here I am doing it. But I’m having a good time,” White says, noting she likes the show because it’s silly, and the pranks are never mean-spirited.
“I love doing Off Their Rockers because other people are doing the pranking,” she says, explaining that she’s more likely to kid her friends by telling little white lies. “But I straighten it out pretty fast,” she stresses.
White, famous for her pitch-perfect comedic timing, says she inherited her sense of humor from her mother and father. She was an only child, and her parents had “a love of laughter,” according to White. Her dad was a traveling salesman and always came home from the road with new jokes for his daughter to share at school. White didn’t retell her dad’s more risqué jokes. “I don’t like dirty jokes, but I do enjoy a double entendre,” she says.
That she could make a career out of being funny—and still be doing it at her age—truly delights White, who has yet to become jaded by stardom. “Who would ever dream that you’d get to be 91 years old,” says White, who turns 91 on January 17, “and you’re still working as much as I am? But I think it’s because I thoroughly enjoy what I do. I love this business, and I’ll quit when they ask me to. But as long as they keep asking me to work, I’ll keep saying yes.”
Can’t get enough of Betty White?
If you missed season one of Betty White’s Off Their Rockers, you can buy episodes for $1.99 a pop from Amazon Instant Video. Hot In Cleveland episodes from season one and season two are also available for $1.99 each. (Tune into Amazon discounts for entertaining savings.)
White has written several books over the years, and her recent memoir is titled If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won’t) ($10.20 at Books-A-Million). In the tome published last year, White shares anecdotes from her career (did you know that she turned down the opportunity to host Saturday Night Live three times before finally saying yes in 2010?), confesses to having a longtime crush on Robert Redford and explains how she’s managed to age so gracefully. (From now until January 14, get $25 off your purchase of $100 or more with Books-A-Million coupons.)
Those of you who want to revisit The Golden Girls can nab entire seasons of the show on DVD at the NBC Universal Store for the bargain price of $20 per season. (Get free shipping on orders of $49 or more with NBC Universal Store coupons.)
As Golden Girl Rose Nyland, White would start many a meandering anecdote with the three words “Back in St. Olaf…”. Café Press pays tribute with a selection of “Back in St. Olaf” T-shirts for women, including this cute pink version (on sale for $22.99). There is also an oddly appealing Back in St. Olaf Golden Girls Blanket Wrap ($39.50) and I Love Rose Men’s Dark Pajamas ($44.50). (Try these Café Press offers on for size.)
For a selection of shirts featuring the iconic White, try 80sTees.com. The funny tops range in price from $4.99 to $9.99. (Save with 80sTees.com discounts.)