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Betty White looks back on her life in new book

LOS ANGELES – A photo of Betty White, with her dimpled smile and expressionless gaze, filling the cover of a book on the coffee table that arrived the month before her 100th birthday.

According to the book’s author, Ray Richmond, the image evokes the true color White. After learning about her life and career, he concludes that she is as warm and attractive as she looks.

But her willingness to fight the kind of person, whether it’s the scheming Sue Ann from “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” or the innocent Rose from “The Golden Girls,” proves White is just as talented as a game and talented. how, Richmond said.

That, coupled with an impressive work ethic, took her from a television guest star in the early 1930s to the darling of 21st-century “Saturday Night Live,” with loads of business gigs on the go.

“You could make a compelling case that Betty White is the most beloved and versatile entertainer in American history,” says Richmond, whose “Betty White: 100 Moments of Remarkable Moments” ideas in an extraordinary life” (becker & mayer! Books) released Tuesday.

Besides starring in sitcoms and guest-starring on dozens of other films, she’s also a pretty witty host and guest star; parade host (California Rose Parade and New York Thanksgiving Day Parade) and soap opera actor (“The Bold and the Beautiful”). She acted in television series on the big screen (including as a US senator in “Advice and Consent” in 1962) and on TV (“Bones”, “Boston Legal”).

Hosting “Saturday Night Live” in 2010 – at the age of 88 – earned her her fifth Emmy and a new generation of fans.

White, who will reach centenary status on January 17, 2022, did not participate in the book. Richmond, a veteran entertainment reporter and critic, instead relies on research and interviews with her friends and colleagues, including Carol Burnett, Candice Bergen, and Gavin MacLeod (Murray on “The Mary Tyler Moore”) Show”).

MacLeod, who died last May at the age of 90, has continued to write the book. Greeting White as a wonderful performer and “national treasure”, he considers her “one of the most caring and loving human beings I have ever known”.

Bill D’Elia, who produces with David E. Kelley of “Boston Legal,” says she’s also a professional. Kelley, who worked with White on his film “Lake Placid,” was happy to let her play her salty language and bad behavior, D’Elia said in the book.

“David likes the contrast between her image and what the character is saying,” he said. “She will happily say anything and do whatever the story and script ask.”

The book briefly outlines the Illinois native’s early years before moving on to a brief detailed account of White’s success in Hollywood. The greatest love of her life – her husband Allen Ludden, game show host and animals of all breeds – also received attention. Among the book’s photos is one of the couples on the day of their Las Vegas wedding in 1963 (Ludden died 1981).

There are also studio and public scenes of White alone and with her co-stars. A scene was filmed the night she, Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty reenacted scenes from “The Golden Girls” at a royal variety show in London attended by the Queen, who is believed to be the Queen of England. asked them to perform.

Among the moments and milestones recounted in “Betty White: 100 Remarkable Moments in an Extraordinary Life”:

-After singing at their high school graduation in 1939, White and another student were asked to participate in an experimental television show in Los Angeles. As the pair danced and sang on the sixth floor of a building owned by auto dealer and radio pioneer Earle C. Anthony, the performance was transmitted to the lobby. Audience: parents of teenagers and some others.

-When the United States entered World War II in December 1941, White, then just 20 years old, joined a women’s volunteer organization to support the frontline at home. She drives trucks that deliver supplies to soldiers stationed in camps in the Los Angeles area during the day; At night, she participates in dances for troops to be deployed abroad.

– “The Betty White Show”, with White hosting songs and half-hour interviews, premiered in 1954 on NBC. It included 21-year-old black dancer Arthur Duncan at a time when people of color were rarely seen on TV. Station managers cited complaints from viewers who threatened to withdraw the show. A defiant Caucasian started booking for Duncan more often, with the support of the network. Duncan, who became a longtime regular on the “Lawrence Welk Show” starting in the 1960s and is now 88 years old, is cited in the book saluting White for defending him and “opening up so many opportunities.” give me a chance to perform.”

-White moves in charm circles, and creates them. Burnett recalls participating in “game night” at the White-Ludden home. Charades, board games and that sort of thing are entertainment, and “they’ll have people out there like Fred Astaire just hanging around. And Burt Reynolds. Oh my gosh, there are so many,” Burnett said.

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