Just a couple of weeks short of her 100th birthday the world lost one of its true treasures.  Betty White passed on New Year’s Eve mere hours before the start of 2022.

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If you only know Betty White from her TV roles, you don’t know half of it. In addition to multiple Emmy Awards, Ms. White was an advocate for racial justice, an enthusiastic animal lover, and a patriot who served in the army’s Women’s Voluntary Services during World War II.

39th AFI Life Achievement Award Honoring Morgan Freeman - Show
Getty Images for AFI

There’s a lot of talk about Betty White’s comeback career (or “resurgence”, as Wikipedia calls it. That might give the false impression that there was ever a lull in Betty’s career. Let’s be clear here: there was never a period where Betty White’s career stalled. After “Golden Girls” and the short-lived spinoff “Golden Palace” she worked consistently throughout the nineties. Most sources say her “resurgence” started in 2009 with the Sandra Bullock movie “The Proposal” and the famous Snickers commercial.

That, in turn, led to a social media campaign to get her to host Saturday Night Live, which she did. Then, for the remaining decade of her life, she stayed on top as may be America’s MOST beloved celebrity.

I’m going to suggest that Betty White’s TRUE comeback actually began 10 years before that, in 1999 when a mid-budget horror movie “Lake Placid” came out. In it, Betty played an elderly widow who was feeding whole COWS to an alligator that lived in a lake next to her farm.  Who knew, going into that movie, that we were about to see Golden Girl Rose Nyland deliver the line, “If I had a ----, this is where I’d tell you to ---- it”?

As it turns out, America loved hearing a sweet, little old lady using hardcore profanity! From that point on, a lot of the laughs Betty White got were “playing against type”. From the Snickers ad, where she drops a “that’s what SHE said” joke, to her celebrity roasts, to her “Dusty Muffin” sketch on SNL, the wonderful Betty White always knew how to get a laugh.

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