There are few national treasures with the amazing career Betty White has had. Thankfully, PBS knows this, and tonight, they celebrate the “First Lady of Television” with a special episode of Pioneers of Televison devoted to the delightful dame.
Filmed over the course of 10 years, PBS says the special:
is a warm look at the life and career of the beloved television and film legend who celebrates 80 years in show business this year — officially the longest career in the history of TV. Lauded for her roles as the bawdy Sue Ann on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” the innocent Rose on “The Golden Girls” and her more recent role as the worldly Elka on “Hot in Cleveland,” Betty White is also an industry pioneer. She was the first woman to produce a national TV show, the first woman to star in a sitcom, the first producer to hire a female director and the first woman to receive an Emmy nomination.
Granted exclusive access to Betty and her team, the producers were able to capture the magic of her performances at various venues, along with more personal moments at home and interacting with close friends — one of whom is a 900-pound grizzly bear. The film is packed with hilarious clips from her long career and comments from friends and co-stars, including Valerie Bertinelli, Georgia Engel, Tina Fey, Valerie Harper, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Gavin MacLeod, Carl Reiner, Ryan Reynolds, Tom Sullivan, Alex Trebek and many more.
“Betty White has created some of the most memorable characters in television history,”Jerry Liwanag, Vice President of Fundraising Programming, PBS said. “This new special reveals that she’s been a groundbreaking pioneer since her earliest days in the fledgling medium – both in front of and behind the camera. Her talent and creativity are timeless, transcending generations and cementing her legacy with each passing decade. She’s truly one of a kind.”
“The goal of the film from the beginning was to highlight the universal appeal that is Betty White…to showcase Betty’s life in front of and behind the curtain,” co-director Steven J. Boettcher said.