Remembering Betty White: 10 Highlights From Her TV Guide Magazine Interviews

Betty White
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

There’s a reason Betty White, who died at 99 on New Year’s Eve, was dubbed the First Lady of Television: The actress’ TV career began at the advent of the medium. And TV Guide Magazine has been tracking White’s shows in the years since, from her Mary Tyler Moore Show breakout to her Golden Girls era to her Hot in Cleveland days.

In memory of the five-time Emmy winner, we’ve combed through more than a decade of White’s interviews with the magazine to round up the words of wisdom — and witticisms — in the gallery below.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show - Betty White, Ted Knight, Georgia Engel, Gavin MacLeod, Mary Tyler Moore, Ed Asner
Everett Collection

On the final episode of ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’:

“That’s probably the most emotional thing I’ve ever done on television,” she told TV Guide Magazine in 2010, looking back at her last days of playing Sue Ann Nivens on the classic CBS sitcom. “The writers didn’t finish that script until the last day, so we couldn’t even rehearse it. Finally, when we did it, everybody was just in tears.”

Hot on Cleveland - Jane Leeves, Wendie Malick, Betty White, and Valerie Bertinelli
TV Land/Courtesy Everett Collection

On her scene-stealing role of Elka Ostrovsky on ‘Hot in Cleveland’:

Valerie [Bertinelli], Jane [Leeves], and Wendie [Malick] play off each other so well,” White said of her costars on the TV Land comedy. “This show gives me the opportunity to walk in, throw out some bitchy line, and go off.”

Betty White on Bones
20th Century Fox Film Corp./Courtesy Everett Collection

On her guest-starring role on ‘Bones’:

“I am very glad that my day job doesn’t involve measuring how bones disintegrate after being buried,” White told TV Guide Magazine, after playing forensic anthropologist Dr. Beth Mayer in the first of two appearances on the Fox procedural. “I prefer living things—preferably with a leg on each corner!”

Betty White - Off Their Rockers
Justin Lubin/NBC/Courtesy Everett Collection

On her hidden-camera show ‘Off Their Rockers’:

“It’s silly fun and never mean-spirited. That’s the rule of the house,” White said of the NBC-turned-Lifetime show she hosted. “[South Korean singer] Psy will be showing me and our older pranksters how his ‘Gangnam Style’ dance is done. There’s no fool like an old fool!”

Betty White
Lifetime Television/Courtesy Everett Collection

On her title as the First Lady of Television:

“That means the oldest lady of television—and definitely gives a hint to my age,” the then-96-year-old told TV Guide Magazine in 2018.

Betty White
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

On first finding her groove on TV:

“When I started, TV was just being invented,” White explained to TV Guide Magazine in 2018. “That camera was the gateway to a large audience, but you learned to play to it as if it were one person. So it was just like having a conversation.”

Betty White
Everett Collection

On her legendary comic timing:

“It’s a rhythm thing,” she observed. “It’s tough to explain, but scenes have a rhythm and if you miss it, the joke doesn’t land or it doesn’t land the right way.”

Betty White
Scott Everett White/Discovery Family Channel/Everett Collection

On keeping up her energy:

“I have a two-story house and a very bad memory, so I’m up and down the stairs all the time!” she quipped to TV Guide Magazine in 2010.

Betty White
Mark Davis/Getty Images for TV Land

On her decades-long TV career:

“I’m just grateful,” White said. “I’m the luckiest broad on two feet to have the career I’ve had in this business I love… and I don’t take it for granted, believe me.”

Betty White
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

On comedy:

“I don’t know how you can get along without laughing,” White told TV Guide Magazine in 2010. “It sure beats the alternative. You’ve got to count your blessings and appreciate the good stuff while it happens. And when they carry me off feet first, I’ll still be trying to learn a script.”