Little known fact: The Television Critics Association was 100% responsible for Betty White’s recent career renaissance.
OK. Fine. That may not be true, but we did give Ms. White a Lifetime Achievement Award two summers ago. That was before she got a Career Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild and before the whole “Saturday Night Live” Facebook campaign and “Hot in Cleveland” and her current general level of ubiquity. So even if the TCA wasn’t even slightly responsible for Betty White’s recent career renaissance, we were ahead of the curve.
The Unsinkable Betty White, a two-time SAG Awards nominee this spring for “Hot in Cleveland,” hit the TCA press tour stage early Wednesday (Jan. 5) morning and she left little doubt that The Cult of Betty White may also be leaving her weary.
[Highlights after the break…]
After one particularly glowing preamble to a question, White interjected, “Now which Betty White are you talking about? Oh my dear, have I got you fooled.”
She later noted, “You’ve had such an overdose of me lately. Trust me, I think I’m going to go away for a while.”
Of course, Betty White isn’t actually going anywhere. “Hot in Cleveland” is returning for its second season on January 19 and it also sounds as if White has a bit of Ado Annie to her. [Yes, an “Oklahoma” reference. Deal with it.]
“It’s hard for me to say ‘No’ to a job, because you spend your career thinking if you say ‘No,’ they’ll never ask you again and if you don’t take the job, that’ll be the end of it,” White told reporters.
White cracked, “My mother taught me to say ‘No’ when I was a girl, but that wasn’t about show business,” before adding “I’m trying to cut down, but when you love what you do so much… it’s a privilege.”
Because one can never ask Betty White too many times about the origin of her sense of humor, the 88-year-old star observed, “I was an only child with a wonderful mother and father and they both had delicious senses of humor.”
She added, “It gets you through some very bad times sometimes.”
Note that White is currently 88, but she’s celebrating her 89th birthday in two weeks and TV Land is celebrating by generating a digital birthday card, accepting best wishes from White’s fans on Facebook. Of course, since Facebook got her on “Saturday Night Live,” White has made jokes about the site.
“That was a line that was written for me and I would have said it myself, but I didn’t know what Facebook was,” she said.
White added, “I don’t have a computer, because I get a lot of mail, but I can stack those in stacks and throw this stack out without answering and then I get to this stack and throw that out. If I punched a button and stored something on a computer, I couldn’t sleep at night wondering what was stored there.”
She concluded, “I’m a technological spazz.”
It’s not that White isn’t grateful to Facebook, though, admitting that her initial instinct was to turn “Saturday Night Live” down for a fourth time.
“I’m such a California girl and it’s such a New York-oriented show, I thought I’d be like a fish-out-of-water, but Lorne Michaels and everybody were so nice and he brought all the gals back. It was wonderful,” she said.
White’s advice to future “SNL” hosts: “Don’t wear those heels.”
And critics weren’t the only people excited to see Betty White on Wednesday morning. Ed Asner, another legend on-hand this morning, began his panel by whispering, “Betty White’s in the building… Did you hear? I hope I get to touch her.”
Some additional wisdom from Betty White:
Oh her increasingly legendary work ethic: “I don’t think of it as work.”
For aspiring young Betty Whites: “My advice to young stars is don’t believe your own publicity and don’t abuse your privileges.”
On which actresses *she* thinks are hot: “I like guys better.”
Stay tuned for more TCA coverage in the days to come…