Betty White’s lifelong dedication to animal welfare earned her the “Who-Manitarian of the Year” award at the launch of Universal Studios Hollywood’s annual Grinchmas event last week.
Much to White’s delight, her award was presented to her by Max, the Grinch’s faithful doggie-sidekick. “I thank you so much for this award. Everyone knows I love animals, and I am so happy to discover that Max is a rescue dog. Believe me, that is such good news. And I want to wish everyone a merry Grinchmas,” White told the crowd of VIPs and kids who gathered at Universal. The Grinchmas celebration includes a Who-ville show featuring the Grinch and Max, who is played by several rescue-dogs-turned-animal-actors throughout the performances.
White also learned about Universal’s fun holiday activities, such as lots of fresh snow creating a winter wonderland to play in at the tour center’s Who-ville. There’s also a nightly Who-bilation tree lighting ceremony, plus celebrities reading the Dr. Seuss classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas on the schedule from now until New Year’s Eve. “That’s just too much fun for one person. You have to bring your whole family to enjoy all of this,” White insisted.
The sassy star of Hot in Cleveland, starting a new season on TV Land, is a seven-time Emmy-winner, and has a Grammy and Screen Actors Guild award. Not only is she a comedy actress in TV and films, but also a veteran producer from the early days of television. “I was producing shows before Lucille Ball,” White revealed with pride.
She called doing a sitcom, filming with a live audience, “absolute heaven. You get that rapport with the audience, and pace your timing, and it makes all the difference in the world when you want to get some laughs.”
White said her background in comedy started when she was very young. “I was an only child with a wonderful mother and father, and they both had a delicious sense of humor. We laughed a lot and we were always making up a lot of jokes. I grew up kind of looking at the funny side of things rather than the negative side. That can get you through some really tough times.”
In addition to Hot in Cleveland, she has the hidden camera comedy show Betty White’s Off Their Rockers, featuring outrageous senior pranksters, coming back to the NBC schedule for a second season this January.
White does a lot of guest appearances and was featured in Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax movie this year. During our last interview together she joked around that her selection process for her roles is easy because “it’s hard for me to say no to a job. Because if you say ‘no,’ they may never ask you again. My mother taught me to say no when I was a girl, but that wasn’t about show business.”
White’s had an enduring career and has great advice for young actresses today. “Don’t believe your own publicity, and don’t abuse your privileges,” stated the 90-year-old dynamo.