Happy Birthday, Betty White! The Golden Girls alum is undoubtedly a national treasure and, believe it or not, she will turn 99 years old this weekend.
“You probably didn’t ask, but I’ll tell you anyway,” she joked with the outlet. “What am I doing for my birthday? Running a mile each morning has been curtailed by COVID, so I am working on getting The Pet Set rereleased, and feeding the two ducks who come to visit me every day.”
The Pet Set was White’s 1971 T.V. show that co-starred her husband, who also produced the series. The show, which had 31 episodes, feature a host of animals and very famous faces including appearances by such stars as Vincent Price, Doris Day, Della Reese, Mike Connors, Carol Burnett, Mary Tyler Moore, James Stewart, and others. The show will be rereleased digitally and on DVD on February 23, in time for the show’s 50th anniversary, Today reported.
White is best known for her award-winning roles as Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show from 1973 from 1977 and Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls from 1985 to 1992 – both sitcoms that The Writers Guild of America included on its 101 Best-Written TV Series of All Time list. At age 88, she returned to a weekly sitcom game playing Elka Ostrovsky on Hot in Cleveland.
White has been dubbed “the first lady of game shows,” as a staple panelist of American game shows such as Password, Match Game, Tattletales, The Hollywood Squares, and The $25,000 Pyramid. She became the first woman to receive a Daytime Emmy Award, winning the award for Outstanding Game Show Host in 1983 for the show, Just Men!.
A true pioneer of television, White was also one of the first women to exert control in front of and behind the camera and is recognized as the first woman to produce a sitcom (Life with Elizabeth), which contributed to her receiving the honorary title, Mayor of Hollywood, in 1955.
In total, White has received eight Emmy Awards in various categories, three American Comedy Awards, three Screen Actors Guild Awards, and a Grammy Award. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and is a 1985 Television Hall of Fame inductee.
Following two quickie marriages, White met the love her life, television host and personality, Allen Ludden, while on his game show Password as a celebrity guest in 1961. The two married in 1963 and appeared together on a number of shows, including The Pet Set and on the panel of Match Game. Ludden died from stomach cancer in 1981 and while they had no children together, she is a stepmother to his three children from his first marriage. White never remarried and in an interview with Larry King, when asked whether she would ever, she replied by saying “Once you’ve had the best, who needs the rest?” (awww)
Despite her eye-popping age, White seems unfazed by her milestone birthday.
“I may be a senior, but so what? I’m still hot,” she once famously said.
White told PEOPLE that she was blessed with good heath so turning 99 was no different than turning 98 and that having a good sense of humor is the key to a long and happy life.
“Just looking at the positive side and not dwelling on the downside. Takes up too much energy being negative. Also having a good agent who keeps me busy all the time.”
Over her 70+ years in the spotlight, White has been schooling us with wise words and cheeky humor just like that. In celebration of her big birthday, check out 10 of White best life lessons and memorable quotes below.
On Staying Young
“My philosophy for staying young is, act bubbly every day…drink bubbly every birthday!”
“Friendship takes time and energy if it’s going to work. You can luck into something great, but it doesn’t last if you don’t give it proper appreciation.”
On Beauty Advice
“Get at least eight of beauty sleep. Nine if you’re ugly.” — Betty White
On Keeping The Spark Alive
“The secret to our marriage was enthusiasm. When I knew Allen was coming home, I would freshen up my make up and put on a new blouse.”
On Dealing With Loss
“There’s no formula. Keep busy with your work and your life. You can’t become a professional mourner. It doesn’t help you or others. Replay the good times. Be grateful for the years you had.”
On Being Busy
Oh, I don’t need sleep. I just went to my hotel and had a cold hot dog and vodka on the rocks.”
On Working With Others
“I just make it my business to get along with people so I can have fun. It’s that simple.”
On Reading People
You can always tell about somebody by the way they put their hands on an animal.
On The Strength Of Women
“Butterflies are like women – we may look pretty and delicate, but baby, we can fly through a hurricane.”
“Why do people say ‘grow some balls?’ Balls are weak sensitive. If you want to be tough, grow a vagina. Those things can take a pounding.”