Like many, I was saddened to learn of Betty White’s passing, just a few weeks shy of her 100th birthday.
Many would remember her best for her role as the dim-witted Rose on The Golden Girls or for some of her later cameo appearances like the legendary Snickers commercial or her hosting of Saturday Night Live.
I knew of Betty from The Golden Girls. My parents watched it fairly regularly when I was young so I saw plenty of episodes, although most of the jokes went over my head at that age.
Her impressive body of work from earlier on all came before my time and I must sheepishly admit I’ve never seen any of it that I recall.
For me, the moment I came to adore Betty White was in the 1998 monster movie Lake Placid. It wasn’t the greatest movie ever made but it was good fun with a good cast, and as she so often did, Betty stole the show.
Her cameo as an elderly widow living by the lake feeding the giant crocodile was hilarious, with her sweet old lady disposition contrasting starkly to her sarcastically crude acid tongue.
That performance made me respect Betty so much more. How many other women of her age, generation and career would be willing to take on such a role, calling people c..ksuckers and such? It was a performance that suggested Betty was equal parts brave and good-humoured.
Of course, for a woman of her comedic ability, the delivery of such profanity was perfect, mixing sweet innocence with blunt honesty.
Admittedly, Lake Placid is probably more of a guilty pleasure for most and few would regard Betty White’s performance as the highlight of her career. It pales in comparison to some of her other successes.
Still, like everything Betty did, it brought me great laughter and joy.
If anyone deserved to reach 100 it was Betty. It saddens me she came so close, but 99 is a tremendous innings nonetheless and she leaves us with so many wonderful performances to remember her by.
Personally, I think it’s time to watch Lake Placid and enjoy my favourite Betty White performance again in her honour.
Rest In Peace, Betty White. We thank you and we will not forget you.