Today's Kindness #434: January 17, 2024
Beloved American actress, comedian, and television personality Betty White would've turned 102 today. Her remarkable career, which spanned nearly eight decades, left an indelible impression on the entertainment industry.
Her unapologetic commitment to inclusion — as well as her special brand of blunt, foul-mouthed humor — endeared her to audiences over and over again, leading to White's continued popularity from the 1950s up until her death on Dec. 31, 2021, at age 99.
For many, White was best known for her roles in iconic TV shows like The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Golden Girls, but younger generations came to know her through her roles in The Proposal and Hot in Cleveland. While many beloved entertainers approaching 100 years old live quiet lives away from the spotlight, White was continuously in demand. She became the oldest person to ever host Saturday Night Live in 2010 when she was 88, giving the series a season-high in ratings.
Though the success of her various television shows (including four separate iterations of The Betty White Show) varied, there wasn't a long period in which White wasn't on television in some capacity following her success on Hollywood on Television.
Her company produced the sitcom Life With Elizabeth and the daytime talk show The Betty White Show. With those shows, she became the first woman to produce a national television show. She paved the way for other women, deliberately hiring female directors.
By the time The Golden Girls premiered on Sept. 14, 1985, White had already been on television for 40 years. She was 63 years old at the time it premiered, and by the end of its seven seasons, The Golden Girls had churned out many episodes that critics have called some of the greatest in television history, and it won several Emmy Awards. White's character was a major hit with audiences and was a favorite of hers to play. "I like Rose Nylund the best of all my characters," she told the Television Academy.
White's passions also included her love and advocacy work for animals. "I've been an animal freak all my life," she told the Television Academy. "I inherited it naturally from my folks." If she hadn't been an actress and comedian, White told Guinness she would've become a zookeeper.
On National Classy Day, we celebrate those who are graced with the ability to live their lives with class, and passion, and who are driven to share it with others. On January 17th, honor those class acts and commemorate the birth of one of the most legendary comedians ever to walk the Earth, Betty White.
Classy people draw others to them. They have a grace and knack for bringing light into a room with humor, beauty, or inspiration. For example, American comedian, Betty White, was graced with a seemingly unlimited ability to make us laugh. Her humor transcended age, gender, and race, and her vibrant energy was contagious. Knowing her or someone like her is an unforgettable experience that lives far beyond a single moment.
We are not all graced with the same qualities as Betty White's immaculate timing or delightful humility. However, we are all given traits that make us unique. We can exercise those abilities to the benefit of everyone around us.
Those endearing traits that leave an indelible mark on our memories fall within a narrow spectrum of terms. Words like kindness, generosity, humility, knowledge, and steadfastness come to mind. Being classy magnifies these qualities and makes the person even more unforgettable. While we can't always name the specific trait that charms us, we often understand when we've been in its presence. That's why National Classy Day encourages us to recognize those talents and abilities in others.
On National Classy Day, reflect on those who've graced the world with their best qualities and made it a better place. Who would you recognize on January 17th? There are other ways to celebrate the day, too! Bring joy, laughter, or a smile to someone. Share a funny story, pun, or joke. Remind someone of their goodness by complimenting them on a talent, skill, or accomplishment. Encourage someone to strive for their goals. Look for the positive in your day. Give someone a little grace. We all have bad days and a little kindness goes a long way.
"Kindness and consideration of somebody besides yourself keeps you feeling young."
~ Betty White