People Come Back Into Our Lives Like Betty White

Friday, November 30, 2012

This is the time of year people come back into our lives for a reason.
Some you don't want to see. They show up with drama and they teach you something about yourself and life. Others you are thrilled to see because they come back with love.
I had not seen actress Betty White in person for nearly thirty years, when I got a chance to hug her recently.
We met when she was starring in "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," and I was the publicist on the show for CBS Television Network.
Over the years I had seen Betty on TV, and I wanted to tell her how she influenced my path in later years.
She's a great animal lover, and on the board of the Los Angeles Zoo. When an opportunity came around for me to volunteer with the zoo and take animals to children's hospitals, I jumped on it because I remembered a special day in Betty's life that influenced me.
Betty had just finished an interview with TV Guide. It was moments before she was going to make her debut on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," a classic now in television history. She was about to act her way into the hearts of millions around the world.
I was in Betty's dressing room with her, the TV Guide reporter, and a studio publicist when there was a knock on her door. It was the assistant director.
"Time to go on stage Betty!"
This was it, an exciting time for the show and for Betty. The producers were looking for a Betty White type to play Sue Ann Nivens, a saucy, over-sexed host of a cooking show on the fictional network.
Mary Tyler Moore, a good friend of Betty's said, "Why not just get Betty herself." They did and the ratings went through the roof.
When Betty opened the door for the assistant director, he told her she had to hurry to get on set. We all started walking briskly with Betty to the stage, when a make-up artist on the show was passing us carrying a shoe box with care.
Betty asked what was in the box and the woman said, "A baby bird fell out a nest."
Betty stopped dead in her tracks, and the assistant director almost had a heart attack.
A studio audience was waiting, and thousands of dollars would be ticking away with crew time if Betty didn't get on stage immediately and deliver her lines. She peered into the box and melted. She wanted to nurture the poor nestling, when the nervous assistant reminded her it was time to go.
Betty began walking again, but she looked back over her shoulders telling the makeup artist to get a dropper to feed the bird. Her mind was on the bird, not on the upcoming biggest moment of her life.
Throughout the years whenever I saw Betty on a show, I thought about that moment. I thought about the love she has not only for animals, but for people. Her assistant who has been with Betty for years said, she has never heard her say a bad word about anyone. When someone was out of line, Betty made excuses for them.

I also thought that her resurgence back on television at her age, was a phenomenal achievement compared to thousands of actors like her, who have disappeared into the sunset. Besides her obvious talent, I have always felt that there was a spiritual reason.
Thirty years later, on a rainy afternoon at the Wildlife Learning Center where I also volunteer, Betty had come to shoot a documentary. Only one man with a camera, a few people, and the founders of the Center were there. Before I was able to say hello, I watched her greet everyone with love. They all were touched by her kindness, especially Walt, my husband who has always adored her.
It reminded me of the saying, "The bigger the star, the nicer they are."
After greeting and embracing Betty, we held hands and chatted about the old days on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." I felt like I was talking to a long-lost aunt. At 90 years young, Betty is radiantly beautiful and has the spirit and the quick-wit faculties of a 50 year-old or younger. But, she's not like some of our elderly relatives who ramble endlessly, and make us want to run away. There is something magical in Betty's eyes.
So what did Betty teach me coming back into my life?
I now know why she has had this crazy success for decades. The spiritual reason is love.
She also reminded me that physical beauty is radiant love. And that love is ageless and changeless. Love will not only give you everlasting success, but your love will touch and heal the lives of everyone in your path, especially those you haven't seen in years.
Love, light and blessings,


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