Jan. 17, 2012 at 9:56 AM ET
On Monday night, NBC helped Betty White celebrate her 90th birthday with "A Tribute to America's Golden Girl," and today she officially becomes a nonagenarian. Rather, make that America's favorite nonagenarian. Just 10 years shy of her centenary, White continues to make new fans and inspire more reasons to love her. Right now we've got a list in our heads of approximately 1.89 million of those reasons, but for the sake of space we've pared it down to just six. Here's to Betty and her seemingly endless stream of marvelous moments and comedic characters. Betty, we know it: You're still hot!
1. Naïf Betty
As the St. Olaf, Minn.-born Rose Nylund on "The Golden Girls” from 1985-92, White became the ditzy grandma figure we all wish we had. As Rose, Betty was kind, naïve and prone to telling rambling stories about her native town -- which is also home a giant black hole, if we're to believe Rose. Other facts about Rose: She studied Pig Latin at university (despite not having graduated high school) and had a very active sex life with her husband Charlie, who died of a heart attack ... in action, if you know what we mean. Rose may have been infuriating, but she was always warm and wise in her own way.
2. Tarty Betty
Perhaps the opposite of Rose Nylund was Sue Ann Nivens, who Betty played on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” from 1973-77. Though Nivens was the host of “The Happy Homemaker” (tip: buy goldfish for the elderly, then use them as fertilizer once they went to Fishy Heaven) she was nothing like "Leave it to Beaver's" June Cleaver, with her various manipulations and man-hungry behavior. She also had a thing for boss Lou Grant -- and even once managed to bed him, which Lou went to great lengths to hide from his staff.
3. Gridiron Betty
During the 2010 Super Bowl XLIV, White appeared as a football player in a Snickers ad. In it, she gets tackled in a mud puddle, gets called “Mike” and when she’s told she plays like Betty White, shoots back “that’s not what your girlfriend says.” Later on, Abe Vigoda also makes an appearance, but it’s Betty we remember best. The ad won the USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter’s top spot placement and proved she was solid in pretty much every demographic, ever.
4. Dancing Machine Betty
White may start out looking fairly ridiculous standing out in the woods, garbed in Native American apparel in "The Proposal," but her encouraging words to Sandra Bullock to chant to the universe quickly has Bullock releasing her inner Lil Jon. Bullock flummoxes White -- who eventually also joins in -- as the two women “Get Low,” at least until a confused Ryan Reynolds shows up.
Note: The video includes some salty language, and Lil Jon's lyrics are, well, colorful.
5. Hostess Betty
A fervent Facebook fan campaign led to White becoming the oldest person to ever host “Saturday Night Live" in May, 2010. And not only did her May 2010 appearance boost ratings, she made an instant classic appearance as Florence Dusty, a pastry cook with a specific specialty. “If there’s one thing I’m known for, it’s my muffin,” she tells the double-entendre-wielding NPR radio show hosts, and it all goes downhill from there.
6. Rapper Betty
Luciana Caporaso is hardly a household name, but she certainly raised her profile by featuring White in a video for her 2011 song "I’m Still Hot." Now, sure, it’s a digital single and it’s promoting a life settlement program (“The Lifeline Program”), but who doesn’t want to hear an auto-tuned Betty White rapping “I’m Betty from the block, I love my Emmys and my beatbox” while surrounded by beefcake while eating cheesecake? Answer: No one.
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