NBC aired a Monday night special called “Celebrating Betty White: America’s Golden Girl” that brought together Betty White’s friends and co-stars to reflect on her trailblazing career and legacy filled with love and laughter.
On Friday, Cher teased the final moments of the special when she shared a video of her performing “thanks for being a friend”, the unforgettable opening number of “The Golden Girls”.
The musician sang his impeccable performance from the same stage where White taped the beloved sitcom every week as Rose.
“She was a true American icon, but what really stood out about her is that she was exactly what we all want in a friend: warm, caring, authentic and always funny,” Cher explained before singing the lyrics.
The special also featured celebrities and other notable names such as President Joe Biden, Drew Barrymore, Valerie Bertinelli, Cher, Bryan Cranston, Ted Danson, Ellen DeGeneres, Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey, Ana Gasteyer, Goldie Hawn, Vicki Lawrence, Jane Leeves. , Jay Leno, Anthony Mackie, Wendie Malick, Joel McHale, Tracy Morgan, Jean Smart and Mary Steenburgen.
The hour-long event also featured clips from the countless shows White has appeared on. Leno referred to her as “the first woman on television”.
Here are the five most touching and hilarious moments from the special, which aired exactly one month after White died at the age of 99.
1. Dramatization behind the scenes of “The Proposal”
One of the first funny moments to come up was a bit between her and “The Proposal” co-star Ryan Reynolds on the set of the 2009 romcom.
In the clip, White mistakenly refers to Ryan as “Bryan” and asks him to bring her a cup of coffee.
“No, my name is Ryan,” he corrected her. “We have been working together for weeks.”
With a serious look, White replied, “When Betty White says she wants a cup of coffee, you give her a cup of coffee.”
2. Praise and memories of his fellow actors.
McHale, who shared the television screen with White in 2010 on “Community,” noted how “unprecedented” it was for White to star in hit sitcoms across three different decades: “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “The Golden Girls “. ” and “Hot in Cleveland”.
Fallon recalled hosting the 62nd Emmy Awards, saying White improvised her sexy dance number with Jon Hamm during the opening. His comedic skills were so impressive that they only filmed one take.
Later in the special, Fallon told a story about one of White’s appearances on “The Tonight Show.” A clip of Fallon teaching White how to play beer pong played on the show. At the end of the segment, he said, White had had a beer, pretended to show Fallon, and finally punched him.
After a scene from White’s guest announcement on “30 Rock” was shown, Tracy Morgan shared, “I’ve worked with a lot of people in my career, a lot of top dogs in my career. Betty White was the Lebron James of comedy. She is scoring.”
Cher might have been the biggest fan included in the special. He recalled being around 7 years old when he first saw White on television on the sitcom “Life with Elizabeth.”
The “Believe” singer said, “I met this face. It was very sweet. She looked like a beauty queen. He had big dimples and I think that was the beginning of my love affair with Betty White.”
White later appeared as a guest star on “The Sonny & Cher Show” in 1977 and the musician was able to express his love in person.
3. Mary Tyler Moore reveals that Sue Ann was supposed to have a brief appearance on her show
White’s character, Sue Ann, was introduced on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” in the sitcom’s fourth season. She quickly became a fan favorite for her flirty and witty lines.
“Celebrating Betty White: America’s Golden Girl” included a moment from an interview with Mary Tyler Moore in 1997 when she discussed the development of Sue Ann.
“Well, Betty was added after Valeric (Harper) did his own show,” said the actor, who died in 2017. “It was supposed to be a one-time shop. But she was so good, so cool, so inventive that you couldn’t help but have her back.”
Moore described Sue Ann as “everyone’s luscious pixie”. He added that White’s character “represented all the little evil corners and dark places that we have inside of us. And they cheered her on.”
4. Greeting from President Joe Biden
Midway through the special, President Biden delivered a heartfelt message about White.
“Betty White was an American treasure, an icon and a trailblazer,” she began. “She defied convention. With every laugh and smile, he opened our hearts. But most of all, it touched our souls and the soul of our nation.”
He concluded the short speech with: “What a gift we will always treasure. God bless you Betty. We all love you.”
5. Betty White’s legacy as a trailblazer.
Jean Smart said that White was a “pioneer” because she produced her own talk show in the 1950s, something “unheard of” at the time.
When clips from White’s self-titled show were shown, Goldie Hawn noted that White used her show to talk about racial injustice.
One of the best-known examples of “The Betty White Show” as a groundbreaking show was in 1954 when White had a black dancer named Arthur Duncan on the show.
Anthony Mackie explained: “She was asked to take Arthur Duncan off the show and she said no. Her doing that in 1954 on a variety show paved the way for many people after him.”
Speaking further about the importance of how White used his platform, Mackie praised the late actor for being “the biggest influence on his career in life.”
He continued: “I’m here for that. For her to say no, it changed the face of television. It was that kind of humility and strength and backbone that I try to bring into my career every day.”
The special will also be available on Peacock to stream on February 1.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism