At 91, Betty White loves her job too much to quit

  • By David Martindale Fort Worth Star-Telegram
  • Monday, January 28, 2013 8:42pm
  • Life

To Betty White’s way of thinking, retirement is for people who hate their jobs. That’s why the 91-year-old funny lady, a TV icon who has won seven Emmy Awards, refuses to call it quits.

There’s nothing about acting and making people laugh that bores her.

“My problem is I love what I’m doing, and I love this business, and I enjoy the work, and I love the people I work with,” White said.

Not only is she still going strong in the fourth season of TVLand’s “Hot in Cleveland” (10 p.m. Wednesday), but she also hosts a hidden-camera prank show called “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers” (8 p.m. Tuesday, NBC). “I’m the luckiest person on two feet,” White says. “I’ve done about as much as I can do. I’d just like to keep on doing it.”

Q. Is it harder to make TV audiences laugh today than when you were just starting out?

A. When I started out, television was that miracle on the box in the corner of the room. Over the years, as television got to be such a major part of our lives, the audience has heard every joke. They know every story line. They know where you’re going almost before the first line is out. That’s a hard audience to surprise and a hard audience to entertain. And it gets more difficult all the time.

Q. So how do you explain the success of “Hot in Cleveland,” which uses almost the same playbook that you worked from in the 1970s and 1980s, when doing “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “The Golden Girls”?

A. Every once in a while, just a good old-fashioned, straightforward television show, or a situation comedy, suddenly hits the spot. It’s almost like something the audience hasn’t seen for a while.

Q. You’re famous for your ribald sense of humor. But is there a limit, a line that you refuse to cross?

A. I always see more than one meaning to a word, so the double-entendre kind of comedy comes naturally to me. But a double entendre is one thing. Dirty humor is something else. I don’t like dirty jokes, but I do enjoy a double entendre.

Q. Given the premise of “Off Their Rockers,” in which seniors play pranks on the younger generation, are you much of a practical joker?

A. I’m not a real prankster. I will maybe kid my friends. I’ll tell them something happened that didn’t really happen. But I straighten it out pretty fast. The trouble is, you can paint yourself into a corner if you try too many pranks.

Q. Are there any downsides to feeling young and vital at age 91?

A. My problem is, all my life, I never was interested in younger men. He always had to be a little older than I (was). And my problem now, at 90, is I can’t find anybody who’s older.

More in Life

Lots to see in Upper Skagit, even if the eagles are elusive

A guided hike through a mossy old-growth forest more than makes up for a lack of raptor sightings.

Shopping cart showdown: Which stores have best food prices?

Jennifer Bardsley compares Fred Meyer, PCC, QFC, Safeway, Trader Joe’s, WinCo and Whole Foods offers.

Take a closer look: Winter gardens share gifts in subtle way

Go on a neighborhood walk this month to enjoy the seasonal beauty offered by a variety of gardens.

Lucasfilm
                                Daisy Ridley stars as Rey in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”
‘The Last Jedi’ opens with $220M, 2nd best weekend of all-time

The Disney blockbuster became just the fourth film to open above $200 million domestically.

Samish Flats in Skagit County prime turf for winter birders

This spot is great for birdwatching because of the mostly flat land, marshy areas and open water.

Outdoor classes and activities in and around Snohomish County

GET OUT Christmas bird count: Volunteers are needed for the Everett-Marysville Christmas… Continue reading

Relationship do’s and don’ts: Lessons from 40 years of marriage

Paul Schoenfeld reflects on what he’s learned about relationships after four decades with his wife.

Making it through the holidays on 4 legs and 4 wheels

1. Driving safety Here are some travel tips from the Red Cross… Continue reading

The top 10 albums of 2017: From Jay-Z to St. Vincent

This year saw an upward trend in music industry revenue due to the popularity of streaming services.

Most Read