Yesterday, juuuuuust before the new year and less than three weeks before her 100th birthday, Betty White left us all behind. like so many of us, I was very sad at the news – I, like nearly everyone, thought she would be around forever. I mean, this hilarious, righteous, kind-hearted, gorgeous dame was actually older than sliced bread. (Seriously, check it out here.)
Betty White was one of my “sheroes” – she (and Gilda Radner and Madeline Kahn) had so much to do with what I thought was funny, how I contemplated women in creative spaces, and the dimensions that women brought to creative endeavors. Plus, this dame was hilarious!
The queen of double entendres, sweet and scheming, Betty White exuded an incomparable juxtaposition of womanhood: she was innocent AND anything but. She was wise AND eternally surprised. She was worldly AND hopeful. She was remarkable in every possible way.
Betty left us with so many words of wisdom. Some of my favorites include:
“Why do people say “grow some balls”? Balls are weak and sensitive. If you wanna be tough, grow a vagina. Those things can take a pounding.”
— From her book, If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won’t)
“I not only knew Houdini, but we had a very lovely relationship … I really thought we had something going, and then the son of a gun disappeared.”
—Joking to Craig Ferguson (In fact, White was 4 when Houdini died.)
“I am still to this day star struck. I look out at this audience and I see so many famous faces, but what really boggles my mind is that I actually know many of you. And I’ve worked with quite a few … maybe had a couple … and you know who you are.”
—Accepting her 2009 SAG Life Achievement Award (Afterward when George Clooney was at the podium he said, “In 1987, I did an episode of The Golden Girls and I would like to thank Betty White for her discretion.”
“I’ve always liked older men. They’re just more attractive to me. Of course, at my age there aren’t many left!”
“You can always tell about somebody by the way they put their hands on an animal.”
She had many, many quotes and quotable comments and they are easy to search because EVERYONE loved her words. I will leave you my dear reader with this story. In an interview with Joy Behar in 2011, Betty told this story:
“My mother had the most wonderful approach to death,” she said. “She always — even growing up — she said, ‘We know so many things. We know almost everything in the world. But we don’t know what happens at that moment. A lot of people think they do, but they don’t. So, whenever we’d lose somebody, she’d say, ‘Now, he knows the secret.”
I am happy that Betty White now knows the secret.
While I am deeply saddened by your passing, I am grateful that I was given the opportunity to walk this earth while you were here making it better, and kinder, and far more hilarious!
Rest in power dear woman. You will be missed.
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