We will all miss “The First Lady of TV”, Betty White, who passed away on Friday at the age of 99 just weeks away from turning 100. Referred to as a “national treasure”, White’s career spanned seven decades. She was known for her optimism, sense of humor and warmth. She was a friend to all, except maybe Ryan Reynolds (see their hilarious skit here).
According to White, being “born a cockeyed optimist” was the key to her upbeat nature. “I got it from my mom, and that never changed,” she once told PEOPLE magazine. “I always find the positive.”
If you’re missing The Golden Girls actress, Philo has you covered, so you can see her smiling face once more (even if it’s just on your favorite streaming device).
Here are five ways to watch some great shows featuring Betty White, on Philo:
Catch up on the show that cemented Betty into the cultural zeitgeist of the 80s and 90s. Betty plays Rose, one of four mature women who live together in Miami and experience the joys and angst of their golden years. Strong-willed Dorothy, spacey Rose, lusty Southern belle Blanche and matriarch Sophia, Dorothy’s mom, occasionally clash but are there for one another in the end. After all, when the show’s theme song is titled “Thank You for Being a Friend,” the ladies have to remain friendly with one another.
In recent years, Betty was known for her scene stealing antics on Hot in Cleveland. The series, which was TV Land’s first original series, premiered in 2010, and was TV Land’s highest rated telecast in the cable network’s 14-year history. The series ran for 128 episodes and also stars Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves, and Wendie Malick.
Here’s the premise: When their plane has trouble while on a flight to Paris, three glamorous LA women find themselves in a completely new and unexpected place. Feeling the need for a girls-only, once-in-a-lifetime trip, Melanie cashes in her airline miles to finance a trip to the city of light for herself and her two best friends, Joy and Victoria, all “of a certain age” and feeling less than desirable. They never make it to Paris, though — when the stricken plane lands in Cleveland, the women suddenly find they’re popular with the men there. Realizing that while they may be lukewarm in LA, they’re hot in Cleveland, the women decide to relocate. They immediately fall in love with their rental house. It takes a little longer, however, for them to warm up to the house’s longtime caretaker (Betty White).
After making the transition to television, White became a staple panelist of American game shows, including Password, Match Game, Tattletales, To Tell the Truth, The Hollywood Squares, and The $25,000 Pyramid and was dubbed “the first lady of game shows” after marrying Password host Allen Ludden.
Luckily, Match Game is still running reruns on Game Show Network. Gene Rayburn hosts this comedy-game show hybrid in which contestants try to match answers given by celebrities to humorous, and often risque, fill-in-the-blank questions. The contestant with the most points at the end of the game advances to play the bonus round, in which the contestant has a chance to win thousands of dollars, with the actual amount dependent on the rules in place at the time of the episode.
Check out the episodes from the 70’s where Betty White is a semi-regular panelist appearing in 125 episodes.
White was a recurring character on Mama’s Family playing Ellen Harper-Jackson, Thelma “Mama” Harper’s eldest daughter. Catch her in 16 episodes from 1983-84 and in 1986.
Wondering what Mama’s Family is about?
Thelma “Mama” Harper is the quick-tempered, blue-haired matriarch of the Harper family who lives with son Vint and his wife, Naomi, who were forced to move into Mama’s basement after losing money in a business deal gone awry. After Vint’s kids from a previous marriage leave the house, Mama’s delinquent grandson Bubba is ordered to live with his grandmother after being released from juvenile hall and placed on probation. Iola Boylen, Thelma’s friend and neighbor, is a frequent visitor to the Harper household, which is often the site of bickering between abrasive Mama and her loved ones. Vicki Lawrence stars as Mama, a character she originated in sketches on “The Carol Burnett Show.”
Sometimes we all need a little romance in our lives… The made-for-TV movie by Hallmark stars Jennifer Love Hewitt, Betty White and Sean Faris. Based on a best-selling novel by James Michael Pratt, the movie follows a reporter (Jennifer Love Hewitt) who seeks the truth about a woman’s (Betty White) husband (Billy Magnussen), a pilot who never returned from duty in World War II.
In December 2011, Betty White received a nomination for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie for her performance.
*Image of “Hot in Cleveland” featuring Valerie Bertinelli and Betty White courtesy of Gracenote/TV Land. *
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