Top 20 Betty White Moments
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Top 20 Betty White Moments

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Tal Fox
These Betty White moments will always bring us joy. Our countdown includes her "Deadpool" review, "The Proposal," the Snickers ad, and more!

Top 20 Betty White Moments

Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 20 Betty White Moments

For this list, we’ll be looking at this Golden Girl’s best moments throughout her long and incredible career across television, movies and popular culture.

What’s your favorite Betty White moment? Share it with us in the comments.

#20: Her “Deadpool” Review

You might recall the hilarious “Funny or Die” sketch that exposed the supposed feud between Betty White and Ryan Reynolds. Well it seems that they must have buried the hatchet afterwards, as White took to social media to share her thoughts on his movie “Deadpool”. She gives a rather colorful critique of the movie filled with expletives. If you’re still not sure if she really enjoyed it, the “Four Golden Girls” she awards should help you figure it out! Not to mention her Deadpool throne!

#19: Her Breakout Role
“Life with Elizabeth” (1952-55)

“Life with Elizabeth” was a breakout sketch from “Hollywood on Television” and White’s breakthrough in the sitcom world. The short skits focused on newlyweds maneuvering within married life. The pair would often find themselves at odds, resulting in Alvin walking off in frustration. Each episode was broken up into three “incidents” and usually ended with a voiceover asking Elizabeth if she’s “ashamed” of upsetting her husband. She would sheepishly nod before cheekily shaking her head. It was popular with audiences but still ended up getting cancelled after 65 episodes. Still, this was the role that got White her first ever Emmy win.

#18: “I’m Still Hot”
“The Lifeline Program” (2012)

This commercial for a life insurance company masqueraded as a music video starring British rap-artist Luciana and Betty White. The duo revamped Luciana’s song “I’m Still Hot” and of course, White steals the show with her killer dance moves and “The Golden Girls” throwbacks. The video even won awards for “Best Branding Social Media Video” and “Best Viral Video Campaign”. It also peaked at number one on the “Billboard Dance Club Songs” chart in 2011. While a rap-battle can only have one winner, when you’re sitting in the back of a limo eating cheesecake with Betty White, you’ve pretty much won as well.

#17: Being an Ally
“Larry King Now” (2012-20)

“The Golden Girls'' was often celebrated for its relatively progressive support of the LGBTQ+ community. And the actresses who starred in it proved they were allies behind the scenes too. On one such occasion, in 2014, whilst appearing on “Larry King Now”', Betty White was presented with a fan question about her about her relationship with the gay community and what she would say to its haters. She responded that she can’t understand why people get so caught up in details about someone else’s private life, and that all that matters is what kind of person someone is.

#16: All Three Betty White Shows
“The Betty White Show” (1954, 1958 & 1977-78)

Imagine being so iconic that you get three separate shows all with your name in the title. In 1954, “The Betty White Show” was a variety talk-show where she’d speak to guests, answer fan-mail and sing with the orchestra. In its next life, it was a comedy variety show that lasted just 14 episodes. Finally, in 1977, it became a sitcom about an actress in a fictional cop show that’s being directed by her ex-husband. Needless to say, neither is particularly happy about having the other back in their life and boy, do they make sure they know it.

#15: “Live With It”
“The Betty White Show” (1954)

Speaking of the “Betty White Show”, there’s a reason its first iteration was so short-lived. One of the show’s recurring guests was Black singer and tap-dancer Arthur Duncan. In his early 20s at the time, he was experiencing his big career breakthrough. However, in response to his appearances, stations in Southern states angrily threatened to boycott the show. Betty White’s response was simple: SB [“I’m sorry. Live with it.”] Instead of getting rid of Duncan, she actually gave him more time on the show. Amid the backlash, the show was soon cancelled, but as we know, it was far from the final word!

#14: Becoming an Author

Somehow, between all her appearances on screen, White also managed to become an accomplished author. Throughout her thriving career, she wrote multiple memoirs, fiction for adults and kids, and books advocating for animal welfare, a cause close to her heart . She actually won a Grammy for the audiobook of her memoir “If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won’t)” in 2012. Betty’s life and long and varied career certainly make for fascinating reads. With so many accomplishments, her attitude toward sleep is not surprising! SB [“Sleeping is sort of dull. There’s a lot of other good stuff you can do.”]

#13: Playing Elka Ostrovsky
“Hot in Cleveland” (2010-15)

After their plane is forced to make an emergency landing in Cleveland, three ladies on board decide they might just stick around.They rent a home from a sassy caretaker called Elka, played by White. Elka is hilariously direct and opinionated, always ready with a biting remark, especially when it comes to Joy. She’s certainly a colorful character with a fascinating life and more dating game than all the other ladies put together. Elka was only supposed to appear in the pilot episode, but after rave reviews, the producers just knew that they had to make her a regular.

#12: The First Lady of Game Shows

Betty White made frequent appearances in the game show circuit, earning her the title “First Lady of Game Shows”. She could often be seen alongside other Hollywood legends in the game “Password”. The show was hosted by Allen Ludden, who White would later go on to marry. She was also a regular panelist on “Match Game”. Then in 1983 she made history as the first woman to win a Daytime Emmy Award for “Outstanding Game Show Host”. Ironically she won this award for hosting a game show called “Just Men!”.

#11: Playing Grandma Annie
“The Proposal” (2009)

After turning 86, White showed no signs of slowing down as she signed on to play the loveable Grandma Annie in the 2009 rom-com, “The Proposal”. Grammy is sweet yet sassy but at heart, all she wants is to see her family happy. Even if that means swallowing her feelings about her grandson’s new fiancée. White said she was drawn to the script as it’s very rare to find great roles for people her age. She also said that once she learned she’d be working alongside Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock, there was simply no way she was going to pass it up.

#10: “A Celebration for Betty White”
“The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards” (2018)

After her introduction as “the greatest of all time” at the 79th Primetime Emmy Awards, White was met with a long and well-deserved standing ovation from the audience. Her speech was a perfect blend of funny and sentimental as she reflected on her title as the “First Lady of Television”. It blows our mind how after so many years in the industry and countless accolades, she was able to remain so humble. Everyone might have been there to honor her sensational career, but she made us all somehow feel like she was the one honoring us. And that only makes us love her even more.

#9: Drinking with Letterman
“The Late Show with David Letterman” (1993-2015)

Betty White has been a great source of entertainment whether she’s playing a character or just being herself. While celebrating her 89th birthday she stopped by “The Late Show” to talk about her life and career with David Letterman. When he asks her about her favorite pastimes, her response had the audience cracking up with laughter [“vodka is kind of a hobby”]. But clearly the host came prepared, pulling out a bottle and two glasses and pouring her a very generous sized drink. Of course once the booze starts flowing things get even funnier, but nothing is more wholesome or hilarious than Betty’s reaction.

#8: “The Family”
“The Carol Burnett Show” (1967-78)

This sketch began its life on “The Carol Burnett Show”. It follows a mother and daughter who constantly butt heads. White made guest appearances as Ellen, Eunice’s older sister, a snobby elitist who wants nothing to do with the family unless it benefits her in some way. She’s their mother’s favorite and has a seemingly perfect life which is often a source of irritation for Eunice. The sketch was so popular that it spurred a spin-off called “Mama’s Family”. After its second season, White’s appearances became less frequent since she, and her co-star Rue McClanahan, had moved onto another show.

#7: Hosting “SNL”
“Saturday Night Live” (1975-)

Although Lorne Michaels tried to get Betty to host the show numerous times, the stars didn’t align until 2010. Well, that and a rather interesting campaign that we’ll come back to later. Still, in season 35 she became the oldest person to host the show and it was certainly a memorable occasion. The night was full of highlights, from the “Scared Straight” sketch to “Census Taker Vs. Old Lady”. Naturally, Betty was invited back for the show’s 40th anniversary where she featured in the hilarious sketch, “The Californians”. She gave a performance no one would ever forget, least of all Bradley Cooper.

#6: Performing for Morgan Freeman
“39th AFI Awards” (2011)

Is there really any greater prize than having Betty White perform in your honor? If Morgan Freeman’s reaction is anything to go by, the answer is no. As always she manages to find a way to balance the more touching moments with comedy, and no one seems more delighted than the actor himself. The best moment is when she fulfils an old dream with her “Hello, Dolly!” performance. As humorous as this moment is, you can still see Freeman getting a tad emotional. If this isn’t a sign of true friendship, then we don’t know what is.

#5: Rapping for Queen Latifah
“VH1 Hip Hop Honors: All Hail the Queens” (2016)

In 2016, Betty White was asked to pay tribute to Queen Latifah, who was being honored for her reigning force in the Hip-Hop world. To celebrate this momentous moment, Betty put her own spin on the 1993 Grammy award-winning rap “U.N.I.T.Y”. There is nothing more joyous than hearing White do a dramatic reading of the rap. White took to Twitter as well to send an additional congratulatory message to her friend. Surely we can’t be the only ones who would have liked to see the two collaborate after this performance.

#4: The Snickers Ad
“Super Bowl XLIV” (2010)

Remember when we said White’s stint on “SNL” was linked to a campaign? Well, during the 2010 Super Bowl, White appeared in the now famous, “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” Snickers commercial. Viewers adored seeing a “hangry” Betty White and it instantly became a popular culture phenomenon as well as one of the most recognizable slogans to this day. According to a poll on “USA Today” it was even voted the number one Super Bowl commercial that year. It also spurred a Facebook campaign to get White on “Saturday Night Live” which was signed by hundreds of thousands of fans.

#3: Playing Sue Ann Nivens
“The Mary Tyler Moore Show” (1970-77)

Although the part wasn’t written for White, they were looking for an “icky sweet Betty White type” and who could fit the bill better than, well, Betty White. Sue Ann comes across as a cheerful and perfect homemaker on the outside, but when the cameras stop rolling, the claws come out. She first appeared in the show’s fourth season in what should have been a one-time only guest appearance. However, since she was a huge hit the series creator told her, “Don’t make too many plans.”. She would go on to win two Emmy Awards for “Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series”.

#2: Receiving Her Lifetime Achievement Award
“16th Screen Actors Guild Awards” (2010)

Betty White’s reaction to being honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award was proof of her national treasure status. Even after six decades in the industry, she was modest and showed grace and gratitude to everyone who’d supported her since the beginning. It’s humbling to watch someone acknowledge their privilege in the way that she did. We love how she had us welling up one moment and then howling with laughter the next. It was no surprise that she was met with such a long standing ovation as she deserved every single second.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Betty Meets People Who Have Tattoos of Her Face, “Jimmy Kimmel Live! (2003-)
Now That’s What We Call Devoted Fans!

Playing Herself, “Ugly Betty” (2006-10)
Wilhelmina Is No Match For Betty White

A Late Night Regular, “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” (1962-92)
She Often Appeared in Sketches Alongside Her Buddy Johnny

Guest Hosting, “WWE Raw” (1993–)
Kicking Butt as Usual

Accepting Her People’s Choice Award, “41st People's Choice Awards” (2015)
The People Have Spoken!

#1: Playing Rose Nylund
“The Golden Girls” (1985-92)

How could we not choose St Olaf’s finest for our top spot? Although interestingly, she was actually cast as Blanche; but due to the similarities with Sue Ann, switched with Rue McClanahan, who was in the same position with her role. Rose is sweet, good natured and wide-eyed, though she could surprise anyone who took her naivety for granted. We loved a good ‘ol St. Olaf story and of course learning new vocabulary. She won an Emmy for the role in 1986 and continued to get nominated in the “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series” category for every season of the show’s run.