Author Ray Richmond has written a book on the late great Betty White, who died on Friday. The tome is titled Betty White: 100 Remarkable Moments in an Extraordinary Life and it includes her time as Ann Douglas on The Bold and the Beautiful.
Betty White Told Two Important Stories on B&B
While Betty White will likely be best known for her comedic and Emmy-winning turns as man-hungry Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and the dim but loveable Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls, the actress did a turn on daytime as Stephanie Forrester’s (Susan Flannery) mother Ann on B&B. She appeared on the show in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009.
“My book is about Betty and it loves and honors her,” Richmond tells Soap Hub. “It’s a shame she didn’t live another few weeks to get to 100 years old but this is a woman who lived 99 years and 347 days. That’s pretty damn good. I would certainly argue that she’s the most versatile and beloved entertainment figure in American history.”
Richmond says that White’s career, which began in the 1940s, was so varied and rich he could have included 500 moments — not a ‘mere’ 100. Why did her turns as Ann Douglas on B&B make the list? Richmond says White taking on the challenging and demanding role is congruous with how White lived her life. “You’re supposed to ‘go away’ [from the workforce] in your 70s and 80s,” he notes. “Betty was just getting warmed up to have another career into her 90s. That was unprecedented.
White Sunk Her Teeth Into Ann Douglas
“What’s remarkable about her going onto B&B is that working in daytime requires such stamina,” Richmond continues. “As John McCook [Eric] said; Betty had 40 pages of dialogue [on her first day] to perform to people she’d never met and she just nailed it. She was self-possessed, calm, and focused. That spoke to her work ethic. She could have spent the rest of her career doing cameos on David E. Kelley shows [The Practice, Boston Legal] the rest of her life but she wanted the challenge. That’s what appealed to her. That’s what got her up in the morning.”
White worked in television in its early years “in the 1940s doing 5 1/2 hours of live TV a day — before there were commercial breaks,” Richmond notes. “If she had to go to the bathroom, she would say, ‘Hold on!” She was producing these shows she did, too. There were no glass ceilings with Betty.”
Betty White: Nice Ladies Finish First
When authors set out to research celebrities for books, Richmond says, “Often times you find skeletons in their closets — there was none of that with Betty. She was genuine and lovely to everyone.”
As B&B fans recall, the first storyline White was involved in helped shed light on why Ann’s daughter Stephanie was so controlling. She was making up for when she was a helpless child, powerless against her father’s physical abuse. Stephanie accused Ann of standing by and doing nothing despite having knowledge of the situation.
A few years after her initial B&B debut, Betty White reprised Ann who was terminally ill and she insisted on dying on her own terms — not in a hospital bed but by the ocean with Stephanie and her other daughter Pam Douglas (Alley Mills) by her side. To order your copy of Betty White: 100 Remarkable Moments in an Extraordinary Life, click here.
The Bold and the Beautiful (BB) airs weekdays on CBS. Check your local listings for airtimes. For more about what’s coming up in Los Angeles, check out all the latest that’s been posted on B&B spoilers, and for an in-depth look at the show’s history, click here.
Our deepest sympathies to the family & loved ones of #BettyWhite who graced us with her joyful presence and remarkable talent as Ann Douglas. Betty was as Bold and Beautiful as they come and she will be greatly missed. pic.twitter.com/HIz7iKc8Cy
— Bold & The Beautiful (@BandB_CBS) December 31, 2021