Betty White: Woman of the Year
LOVE OF A 'LIFETIME'
During Super Bowl XLIV on Feb. 7, White set the tone for her sassy year with a smart-mouthed Snickers commercial. In the ad – which went viral overnight – a muddy, dirt-covered White is abused and tackled during a football game. "You're playing like Betty White out there!" snaps a friend, to which White replies, "That's not what your girlfriend said."
"She's a good librarian and she's an okay person," White said about her March role on ABC's The Middle as Mrs. Nethercott, a grudge-holding librarian who has a vendetta against Brick (Atticus Shaffer) for keeping 31 books out of the library. "I want them back – or you're not going into third grade," she threatens.
A grassroots Facebook campaign to get the star to host SNL caught the attention of Lorne Michaels, who booked White as the host on the show's May 8 Mother's Day special. "When I first heard about the campaign to get me to host Saturday Night Live, I didn't know what Facebook was," White deadpanned during her monologue.
Cheers! White returned to sitcom land in Hot in Cleveland, about three single women who move to Ohio to improve their social lives and wind up contending with their housemate, White's smart-mouthed Elka. Costarring Jane Leeves, Valerie Bertinelli and Wendie Malick, the show became the No. 1 comedy on basic cable and TV Land's highest-rated series when it debuted in June.
A beaming White joined Bradley Cooper and Scarlett Johannson at the MTV Movie Awards in June to present Sandra Bullock with the Generation Award. "You are grace defined, and I adore you madly," White said of her pal, who in January had been the one to present her with the SAG Lifetime Achievement Award.
BACK THAT THING UP
Now you can wear Betty love on your sleeve! This past summer, the actress teamed up with Jerry Leigh Apparel for "The Betty White Collection," a cheeky line of White-themed hoodies and shirts. "I'm Betty f–ing White!" the actress exclaimed in an ad for the line, which donates a portion of the proceeds to the actress's pet cause, the Morris Animal Foundation.
BETTY, BETTY EVERYWHERE
Fans showed their love of the TV icon at the Hollywood premiere of You Again. White joined costars Kristen Bell, Sigourney Weaver and Odette Yustman for a spoof of the Mean Girls-style comedy in a catfight clip for funnyordie.com. "You might be a quarter of my age, but I will take you down," White threatens Bell.
Playing out-there June Bauer on Community, White again showed off her stellar comedic chops as the blowgun-toting, urine-drinking anthropology professor who assaults her own students (like Joel McHale). The highlight of the show? As the credits rolled, White joined Troy (Donald Glover) and Abed (Danny Pudi) for a rap version of Toto's "Africa."
White joined You Again costars Kristen Bell and Jamie Lee Curtis on the November/December cover of AARP Magazine, in which she talked candidly about her marriages – and the love of her life, Allen Ludden, whom she was with until his death in 1981.
OH MY WORD!
TV, movies, fashion – now books! White closed a publishing deal for two tomes, Listen Up!, a self-help book due next spring, and The Zoo and I: Betty and Her Friends, about her furry pals at the Los Angeles Zoo. And she's no first-time author: White wrote the memoir Here We Go Again: My Life in Television in 1995, and signed copies of an updated version of the book in late October.
This year's over – but that doesn't mean you can't have a Betty-ful 2011! The 88-year-old (and some bronzed male models) posed for her own calendar this year. And while portions of the proceeds go to the Morris Animal Foundation, the real winner is anyone who gets to ring in the next 365 days with Betty.