Betty White has been quoted as saying “Of all the characters I have ever played, Rose Nylund is my favorite.” Well of course she was! Not only was ‘Rose’ a part of the dynamic foursome that was The Golden Girls, she was a loving, caring, most of the time naive, and always simple minded character that was good for more than a few laughs! Playing Rose Nylund must have been a blast for Betty White, and amazingly enough, these amazing ladies (even though one was fiction) had a few things in common!
Being The Golden Girls lovers that we are, we know of Rose’s many charity events, volunteer works and so on. Right from the beginning in Season 1, Rose was introduced as grief counselor in a grief counseling center, showing her inner warmth for the fellow human being. She was also nominated (along with Blanche, Dorothy and Sofia) for the ‘The Friends of Good Health, Best Friend’ award. Sadly, Rose did not win that one, but Sophia did!
Rose however DID win ‘St. Olaf’s Woman of the Year’, even beating out Emma Immerhauffer (please forgive my spelling if that is wrong, I am unsure of how to spell this Scandinavian name) who had won consecutively for years. Of course Rose had Blanche and Dorothy to thank for that! My favorite part of that episode was when Rose was reminiscing about her good friend Ingrid. Blanche suggested that Rose give her a call while in town and so Rose did…from her seat in the hay wagon, she called out into the night “Heeeeeyy Ingrid!” And Ingrid answered!! Too funny!
Rose was also dedicated to her volunteer work. In one episode, she and Blanche were part of the “Be A Pal” program for young motherless girls, although that didn’t turn out as well as it could have! She was also a troop leader for the Sunshine Cadets, she helped organize the talent show to save the McKinley Light house, and she tried to help Dorothy find the emcee for the charity fundraiser. Rose was convinced her “father” would be there! Rose had some big “HOPES”!
There are countless other examples I could give, but I digress.
Just like Rose’s, much of Betty White’s adult life has been dedicated to volunteering and charity work as well. In the 1970’s Betty’s love for animals took front and center stage. Betty hosted ‘The Pet Set’ which spotlighted celebrities and their pets.
As of 2009 Betty has been named President Emerita of the Morris Animal Foundation, where she was a trustee since 1971. She has been a member of the Board of Directors of Los Angeles Zoo since 1974 and even the Zoo Commissioner for eight years.
It has been reported by the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical member newsletter that Betty donated nearly $100,000 in April 2008 alone! She has been the recipient of various awards and honors over her years of being an animal right activist and volunteer.
In 1987 for her work with animals, Betty was awarded with a ‘Humane Award’ by the American Veterinary Medical Association. She has been honored with a bronze plaque near the gorilla exhibit at the Los Angeles Zoo and was named “Ambassador to the Animals at the dedication of the plaque.
Those are quite some accomplishments and I don’t think she is done yet. I read somewhere, that Betty has said she needs to continue to work to support her charities and volunteering!
I say, ‘Well done Betty White’! If only there were more people like her in this world to show their love and compassion and devotion to living things and other fellow human beings, this world would be an even better place! Let’s all take a lesson from our dearly beloved Rose Nylund and Betty White!
*I’d like to dedicate this article to one of my best friends, my cousin/sister Justine who is a Veterinary Technician! See Justine, you’re more like Rose than you thought!