Iconic actress and comedian Betty White would have been celebrating her 100th birthday today, on Jan. 17, 2022. The world is still mourning her passing of just weeks ago; she died at age 99 on New Year’s Eve.
Still, the native of Oak Park, Ill., left quite a legacy, including her hugely successful career in radio, TV, and film spanning more than 75 years. She was called “America’s Sweetheart” and the “First Lady of Television.” She was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1995, the same year she earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
She won eight Emmy Awards in a variety of categories, plus many other awards.
Best known for her television sitcom roles on “Hot in Cleveland” (2010-2014), “The Golden Girls” (1985-1992), and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” (1970-1977), White — a fierce animal lover as well — stood out for her array of one-liners over the years about life, love, laughter, and a whole lot more.
As millions of fans think of her on January 17, here are 75 memorable Betty White quotes from over the years.
Read these wise and witty Betty White quotes
1. “Get at least eight hours of beauty sleep, nine if you’re ugly,” she said in 2011.
2. “My mother always used to say, ‘The older you get, the better you get. Unless you’re a banana.’”
3. “I may be a senior, but so what? I’m still hot.”
4. “If one has no sense of humor, one is in trouble.”
5. “You don’t luck into integrity. You work at it.”
6. “I don’t have a sweet tooth, but I do have a cocktail before dinner.”
7. “It’s fun to show appreciation to the ones you love.”
8. “So you may not be as fast on your feet, and the image in your mirror may be a little disappointing, but if you are still functioning and not in pain, gratitude should be the name of the game,” she wrote in her book, If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won’t).
9. “Anger tears me up inside … My own … or anyone else’s.”
10. “I think older women still have a full life.”
11. “There is even a funny side to aging, if one has a warped sense of humor.”
12. “Since I am turning 99,” she said last year, “I can stay up as late as I want without asking permission.”
13. “That’s a lot of candles!” she said in 2018 when she turned 96.
14. “I get bored with people who complain about this or that. It’s such a waste of time.”
15. “I have no idea what color [my hair] really is, and I never intend to find out.”
16. “My philosophy for staying young is [to] act bubbly every day. Drink bubbly every birthday!”
17. “I don’t get political.”
18. “It’s good to mix things up as an actor. Or else you can grow too accustomed to a character.”
19. “I like double entendre because then the people who get it enjoy it, and the people who don’t get it don’t know about it.”
20. “My mother and dad were big animal lovers, too. I just don’t know how I would have lived without animals around me. I’m fascinated by them — both domestic pets and the wild community. They just are the most interesting things in the world to me, and it’s made such a difference in my lifetime.”
21. “I got an award for everything: inhaling, exhaling. I’ve been so spoiled rotten. I’m the luckiest old broad on two feet. Truly! I’ve always been working at something.”
22. “A lady likes to be complimented on her looks, her eyes, her figure. But the personality comments are much appreciated.”
23. “I feel good that I’ve turned down roles for the right reasons.”
24. “I like those touches of chivalry that are fast disappearing. If I sound old-fashioned, it’s because I’m as old as I am! But it’s just polite.”
25. “It’s fun once in a while to do a serious part but I really enjoy doing comedy because I love to laugh.”
26. “When I pontificate, it sounds so, you know, ‘Oh, well, she’s preaching.’ I’m not preaching, but I think maybe I learned it from my animal friends. Kindness and consideration of somebody besides yourself — I think that keeps you feeling young. I really do.”
27. “It is important that you not believe your own publicity. Be grateful for whatever praise you receive but take it with a grain of salt.”
28. “Accentuate the positive, not the negative,” she said in 2018. “It sounds so trite, but a lot of people will pick out something to complain about, rather than say, ‘Hey, that was great!’ It’s not hard to find great stuff if you look.”
29. “Friendship takes time and energy if it’s going to work. You can luck into something great, but it doesn’t last if you don’t give it proper appreciation. Friendship can be so comfortable, but nurture it — don’t take it for granted,” she wrote in If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won’t).
30. “I think it’s your mental attitude. So many of us start dreading age in high school and that’s a waste of a lovely life. ‘Oh … I’m 30, oh, I’m 40, oh, 50.’ Make the most of it.”
“People say, ‘But Betty, Facebook is a great way to connect with old friends.’ Well, at my age, if I want to connect with old friends, I need a Ouija board.”
— Betty White
31. “You’re never too old for anything.”
32. “I’ve always enjoyed the opposite sex a lot. Always have. Always will.”
33. “I have never lied about my age, but these days I seem to work it into the conversation at the drop of a hat.”
34. “I don’t seem to require a lot of sleep … If I get four, five good hours, I’m fine. But sleeping is sort of dull. There’s a lot of other good stuff that you can do without just lying down and closing your eyes.”
35. “All creatures must learn to coexist. That’s why the brown bear and the field mouse can share their lives in harmony. Of course, they can’t mate or the mice would explode.”
36. “Keep busy and don’t focus everything on you — that wears off pretty fast. It’s not hard to find things you’re interested in, but enjoy them and indulge them,” she said when she was 95.
“Don’t try to be young. Just open your mind.”
— Betty White
37. “Best thing about being in your 90s is you’re spoiled rotten,” she said in 2013. “Everybody spoils you like mad and they treat you with such respect because you’re old. Little do they know, you haven’t changed. You haven’t changed [in the brain]. You’re just 90 every place else. Now that I’m 91, as opposed to being 90, I’m much wiser. I’m much more aware, and I’m much sexier.”
38. “People say, ‘But Betty, Facebook is a great way to connect with old friends.’ Well, at my age, if I want to connect with old friends, I need a Ouija board,” she said in 2010.
39. “If a joke or humor is bawdy, it’s got to be funny enough to warrant it,” she said in 2012. “You can’t just have it bawdy or dirty just for the sake of being that — it’s got to be funny.”
40. “I always wanted to be a zookeeper when I was growing up, and I’ve wound up a zookeeper! I’ve been working with the Los Angeles Zoo for 45 years! I’m the luckiest old broad on two feet because my life is divided absolutely in half — half animals and half show business. You can’t ask for better than two things you love the most.”
41. “I go out to the kitchen to feed the dog, but that’s about as much cooking as I do,” she said in 2012.
42. “I think I’ve been spoiled enough, don’t you think? Might as well quit while I’m ahead! But I’m not going to quit, that’s for sure.”
43. “The bottom line is, I’m blessed with good health. On top of that, I don’t go around thinking, ‘Oh, I’m 90, I better do this or I better do that.’ I’m just Betty. I’m the same Betty that I’ve always been. Take it or leave it.”
44. “I love bawdy humor, but not dirty humor.”
45. “Don’t try to be young. Just open your mind. Stay interested in stuff. There are so many things I won’t live long enough to find out about. But I’m still curious about them.”
46. “It’s your outlook on life that counts. If you take yourself lightly and don’t take yourself too seriously, pretty soon you can find the humor in our everyday lives. And sometimes it can be a lifesaver.”
47. “Does desire melt away with age? I’m waiting for that day to come.”
48. “I don’t have time to miss much. Because I’m still working. I just love to work, so I’ll keep working until they stop asking,” she said a few years ago.
49. “If a guy’s a cutie, you’ve got to tap that booty.”
“I have a two-story house and a bad memory, so all those trips up and down the stairs take care of my exercise.”
— Betty White
50. “I just make it my business to get along with people so I can have fun. It’s that simple.”
51. “You can always tell somebody by the way they put their hands on an animal.”
52. “My answer to anything under the sun, like, ‘What have you not done in the business that you’ve always wanted to do?’ is, ‘Robert Redford.’”
53. “I am interested in a lot of things — not just show business and my passion for animals. I try to keep current in what’s going on in the world. I do mental exercises. I don’t have any trouble memorizing lines because of the crossword puzzles I do every day to keep my mind a little limber. I don’t sit and vegetate.”
54. “I’m a health nut. My favorite food is hot dogs with French fries.”
55. “I have a two-story house and a bad memory, so all those trips up and down the stairs take care of my exercise.”
56. “There’s no formula [for handling grief or loss]. Keep busy with your work and your life. You can’t become a professional mourner. It doesn’t help you or others. Keep the person in your heart all the time. Replay the good times. Be grateful for the years you had,” she said in 2011.
57. “I don’t get tired. I have a good energy level, but I’m blessed with good health and love what I do for a living. That’s a good combination. I’m a very lucky old broad,” she said in 2012.
58. “I’ve always liked older men. They’re just more attractive to me. Of course, at my age there aren’t that many left!” she said in 2010.
59. “I am still to this day starstruck. I look out at this audience and I see so many famous faces, but what really boggles my mind is that I actually know many of you. And I’ve worked with quite a few … maybe had a couple … and you know who you are,” she said on live TV in 2009 while accepting her Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award.
60. “I do a lot of crossword puzzles. I’m an addict. It keeps your mind limber.”
61. “Animals don’t lie. Animals don’t criticize. If animals have moody days, they handle them better than humans do.”
62. “About being called a ‘legend,’ I just laugh. Have I got them fooled.”
63. “Gravity has taken over. So there’s not much I can do about it … My problem with [plastic surgery] is you’ll go to a women’s press conference or something like that, and old friends will come up and I kind of don’t recognize them. I recognize the voice, but I don’t — all of a sudden, there’s this whole new face that I don’t know who that is,” she told CNN in 2010.
64. “Why retire from something if you’re loving it so much and enjoying it so much, and you’re blessed with another group of people to work with like the gang on ‘Hot in Cleveland’? Why would I think of retiring? What would I do with myself?”
65. “I’m not looking forward to death; it’s important to live while we are here. But those who have died, [as] my mother said, now they know the secret. And someday we all will.”
66. “Laughter keeps everyone feeling wonderful.”
67. “I’m a teenager trapped in an old body.”
68. “Just looking at the positive side and not dwelling on the downside. Takes up too much energy being negative,” she told People in 2020.
69. “Butterflies are like women — we may look pretty and delicate, but baby, we can fly through a hurricane.”
70. “I think everybody needs a passion. Whether it’s one passion or a hundred, that’s what keeps life interesting. If you live without passion, you can go through life without leaving any footprints.”
71. “Animal lover that I am, a cougar I am not.”
72. “For me, humor is about rhythm. It’s like an ear for music. It’s hard to explain.”
73. “People greet me on the street as a friend, not a celebrity. ‘Hi, Betty!’”
74. “Mind your own business, take care of your affairs, and don’t worry about other people so much.”
75. “Guys all come on strong, that’s fine. But don’t forget to be a little bit romantic now and again. There’s a sweetness that appeals to girls and gets ’em every time.”
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