Talking with Betty White

Like most of the world, I am a HUGE Betty White fan! Getting to meet her was such a treat and she did not disappoint! In fact, she’s every bit as lovable in person as she comes across on screen. Sitting down to interview the former Golden Girls star with a group of mom bloggers, Breezy Mama got to discuss her part in The Lorax, her life growing up as an only child, how she learned to appreciate life’s positives and more.

You were so great as the grandma in The Lorax who wanted to just guide [Ted, your grandson] and change the world that they were living on.

That’s what I love about it. And it’s such a pretty movie. It’s a beautiful thing to look at. I love it.

How did you get involved with it?

They called me and asked me. It’s all the things that I believe in and love. And I think it’s a great message to send out to kids to get across about appreciating trees, for example.

It’s a very strong character, and it’s amazing to see. I love strong empowering female roles. So, in this, you’re the kicka$$ grandma. I was just wondering how it felt?

Oh, that’s the fun of it. And I love the way they wrote it because it doesn’t make fun of anybody. It’s not mean spirited.

How was the whole Saturday Night Live experience for you, the FaceBook page that was dedicated to getting you on Saturday Night Live? Actually having that happen was awesome.

I told my agent no way. I had turned down hosting Saturday Night Live three times earlier on in my career. And they asked, why. I said, because it’s so New York oriented, and I’m such a Californian, I thought I’d be like a fish out of water.

And he said, no, you’ve got to do it. I said, no, I don’t. He said, yes, you do. Well, you can see who’s the boss.

But I must admit I had a wonderful time. Lorne Michaels [Creator and Producer of Saturday Night Live] is a genius, and he, Tina Fey and Amy [Poehler] brought all these wonderful gals back to help me. And we had the time of our lives. It was really fun.

You have the most brilliant comic timing. Were you the funny kid? I just think you have the best delivery.

Oh, bless your heart. I was an only child with the best mother. I did a magnificent job of choosing a mother and father. And there wasn’t a straight man in the house. I mean that in a nice way.

But, we would have Sunday morning breakfast together or we’d have dinner together every night around the table, and my dad would always ask me how things were at school and somehow, we’d get into silliness and fun. And we also would talk very seriously. It wasn’t all giggle time.

But, I think those dinner tables and those breakfast tables went a long way on teaching me how to appreciate the positives as opposed to the negatives.

What was your favorite part of the movie? What was your favorite part of creating the movie or your favorite scene of being the voice?

Overall, the beautiful colors and the celebrating of the environment and the caring about the environment, which is one of my big, big, big things, and the fact of looking for trees and wanting to find trees. I hope everybody else loves it as much as those of us involved in it.

Professionally, you’ve done so much. What have you accomplished that you’re most proud of?

It sounds self serving if you say what you’re most proud of, but the thing that I’m happiest about, well, I’ve worked with the Morris Animal Foundation for over 50 years, I’ve worked with the Los Angeles Zoo for over 50 years. The Morris Animal Foundation is an animal health organization, and we fund humane studies into specific health problems – dogs, cats, horses and zoo and wildlife.

Did you have animals growing up or how did your love for animals come about?

In the womb, yes. My mother and father were just as big animal nuts as I. And I thank God they passed it along to me because that’s a big part of my life.

You’re such a vibrant spunky person in real life, on TV and film. And you’ve lived such a great, full life. Do you have secrets or tips for women and men of how to make the most of everything?

Well, if you don’t appreciate something as it’s happening, if you look back and say, oh, gee, that was a great time, I didn’t realize it at the time, you’ve missed it. So, everything isn’t sweetness and light. You get some bad times, too.
But, by appreciating and celebrating the good stuff, you can handle the bad stuff better. And sometimes, you wonder how did you get this lucky, you’re going to owe it down the line somewhere, but enjoy it now while it’s happening.

Do you have more projects in the works?

Yes. There is a half hour of a hidden camera show that I’m producing. NBC is real happy with that. And Telegdy [Paul Telegdy, President of NBC Late Night Programming] called and said, don’t go anywhere because we’re thrilled with the show and with the numbers. So, we don’t have a time slot yet, but I think I’ll be busy on that.

Good.

I was supposed to just be executive producer and not be on camera. And NBC insisted I do the wrap around. So, you’re stuck with me again, guys. You can’t get away from me.

Is there a character that you’ve played all through the years that’s closest to you, you think?

A lot of people think Sue Ann Nivens [The Mary Tyler Moore Show] probably, the neighborhood nymphomaniac. But, I like to think Rose [The Golden Girls]. I like Rose because she was positive and she was not too bright, but good hearted. I loved Rose, I really did.

Have you ever made anybody mad in your life? It seems like no one’s ever been mad at you, no one’s come forward to say, that Betty White, she’s not as nice as she looks! Have you ever made anyone mad?

I have two ex-husbands [laughs].

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