Betty White, everyone’s favorite foul-mouthed grandma, turned 97. Although everyone knows Betty best from “The Golden Girls,” there’s plenty more about this fantastic woman that you may not know. In honor of the Queen’s birthday, here are five fun facts about her… ahem… colorful life.
1. Her name is not Elizabeth
Yep, Betty began defying tradition from the moment she was born. Her parents didn’t like any of the nicknames for Elizabeth (Lizzie, Beth, Betsy) so they went the simple route and just named their newborn daughter simply Betty.
2. She won a Guinness World Record in 2014
Betty was awarded the Guinness World Record for Longest TV Career for an Entertainer (Female). Having started her career in 1939, she has spent more than 75 years in show business. You can read the whole Q-and-A between Betty and the Guinness World Record keepers here.
3. Betty has been nominated for 21 Emmy Awards
Yes, you read that right: Betty has been nominated for 21 (count ’em!) Emmy Awards. Her first nomination came from “Life With Elizabeth” for which she served as one of the few female producers in the entertainment industry at the time. Though the show has been eclipsed by White’s other numerous successes, it launched her to a 1951 Emmy nom—her first of those 21. Oh, and by the way, she’s won five times.
4. She’s a life-long animal lover…
…and she says the key to staying youthful is to interact with animals as much as possible. In an interview last year on the Today show, Betty told viewers that her secret to staying (and feeling) young was her passion for furry friends.
“My work with animals,” she told Al Roker during the interview. “Everybody should have or cultivate a passion. Don’t be afraid to really get hooked on something, because that will refurbish your energy.”
5. She has a big-time crush on Robert Redford
And she’s not shy about him knowing it! Betty has been quoted as saying, “My answer to anything under the sun, like ‘What have you not done in the business that you’ve always wanted to do?’ is ‘Robert Redford.’” Though she’s worked on over 100 film and TV credits, she’s never been cast with the rugged star. Although there’s still hope—she’s only 95 years old, after all!