When a woman reaches a certain age, she is expected to quietly retire and enjoy whatever years she has left.
Betty White, whose 99th birthday is today, has more than proven that a woman of certain years is just as capable and vibrant as she was when she was younger.
White is an icon of the television age. She has been on our screens for more than seventy years, entertaining audiences of multiple generations.
My favorite roles of hers are Sue Ann Nivens from The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls. I love the contrast between the characters. Sue Ann may appear to be sugary sweet, but she has a bite that is completely unexpected. Rose Nyland is one of the nicest people you would ever meet. That being said, she isn’t the brightest bulb in the box.
One of my favorite blessing of my faith is the following:
“May you live until 120.”
Though White is not quite there yet, the fact that she is 99 and still ticking is an inspiration to us. Happy Birthday.
She was more than TV star or a movie star. She was icon.
Her self titled sitcom, The Mary Tyler Moore Show was on the air from 1970-1977. Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore) is a single woman, employed as an associate producer at a fictional television station in Minneapolis. In the 1970’s, this was revolutionary. It was feminism hitting the main stream in a way that made it palatable to the average American. Mary Richards paved the way not just for the generation of young women growing up in the 1970’s, but for future generations of women to stand on their own two feet and not simply reply on the traditional state of matrimony.
Mary Richards was very much the modern woman. So was the woman who played her. In addition to starring on the show, she had a hand in crafting show, joining long line of past and future female show runners.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show may have aired its last episode 40 years ago, but the show, its legacy and its leading lady will live on.
Betty White may not be 120, but she comes pretty close today, on her 95th birthday. Her career has lasted nearly a century. Starting her career in radio in the 1940’s, she made the transition to television in the 1950’s. Generations of television fans have grown up with her, laughed with her and adored her.
For my part, I remember watching The Golden Girls as a kid. Rose Nylund was not the sharpest tack in the box, but there was something endearing about. Maybe it was those crazy St. Olaf stories.
Before Golden Girls, there was Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Sue Ann was sweet as apple pie, when she needed or wanted to be. But behind the sweetness was the barbs.
Someone once said that age is nothing but number. Betty White proved that when she hosted Saturday Night Live in 2010, holding her own against performers decades younger than she.
She continues to inspire fans and fellow performers with her humor, her commitments to animals rights causes and proof that old age, especially in women is not a reason to sit back and let someone else enjoy life.
Happy Birthday, Betty White. May you actually live to 120.