Betty White’s friend and former co-star Vicki Lawrence pays tribute to the TV legend nearly a year after her death.
Lawrence penned an essay reminiscing about all the good times she had with White on the set of “Mama’s Family” and what made the actress so special. Above all, Lawrence opened up about how much she missed her friend, how much she learned from her during their time together, and how much she wished she was still there.
“I miss being able to pick up the phone and talk. I’m getting older too, and no one tells you how complicated that half of your life is,” Lawrence wrote in an essay for People magazine. “Boy, would I ask you a lot of questions. I always used to say, ‘I hope I become Betty White. I feel so lucky to have known you.”
The ‘Cool Kids’ actress also spoke about White’s sense of humor, recalling how much she “loved bawdy, corny jokes” and the surprising adjective she found to be a compliment.
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“After you were described as ‘a big broad,’ someone asked, ‘Aren’t you offended by that? You said, “Oh, honey, that’s such a nice compliment! We’ve reached an age where we’ve seen and done enough, and we’re allowed to be big chicks,” Lawrence recalled. “Bold, hot, go around the block so many times you giddy broads.”
Lawrence and White starred on “Mama’s Family” together for a short time in 1983, and while White left the show after just 16 episodes, the friendship between the two women continued to grow.
It was during her time on “Mama’s House” that White got the script for “The Golden Girls,” in which she played what would become her most famous character, Rose Nylund. According to Lawrence, White had a feeling, based on the script, that the series would be a huge success.
“When we were doing ‘Mama’s Family’, you told me about a new pilot – ‘I think this will be the one’, you said – and I lost you to ‘The Golden Girls'”, Lawrence wrote. “Wow, that has been that’s why I wrote to you. So many young people are still devoted to it.”
Lawrence also told the story of the time White helped her save her cat after the animal was hit by a bicycle, and she thought she should put it down.
“Sophie got run over by one of the neighborhood kids on her bike, her two front legs were broken and she looked like a little Frankenstein with braces,” Lawrence recalled. “The children were devastated. My husband, Al [Schultz]said, ‘Go get yourself a glass of wine and call Betty.'”
Lawrence recalled White telling him, “You’re not going to put her down. Take her to my orthopedic surgeon.” After that phone call, Lawrence said she “grabbed Al’s credit card.”
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“After you bought a dog from a pet store window, you gave me a talk about rescue dogs that needed love,” Lawrence continued of White. “What was I thinking? I want you to know that every dog since then has been a rescue. We now have two crazy pooches.
White’s love for animals is well known among her fans, and it was something they decided to honor when she passed away last year on New Years Eve. Some fans created “The Betty White Challenge,” which challenged others to donate all they could to various animal charities on what would have been White’s 100th birthday in January this year.
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Some of the charities White associated with throughout her life included the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association, American Humane, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Endangered Wolf Center, and BraveHearts Therapeutic Riding and Educational Center.
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