Hollywood legend Betty White wants to be remembered as an animal advocate rather than a famous actress.
Betty White is a living legend who is known for all things good, including a Guinness World Record and starring in multiple hit shows. Be it her exceptional comic timing or her badass reputation, we are in complete awe of the 99-year-old. There is one other aspect of the progressive artist that not many know about and it is her unbridled love for animals. In her documentary, Betty White: First Lady of Television, White's close friends open up about her affection for animals. And White herself admitted how she wants to be remembered as an animal advocate rather than a famous actress, according to Do You Remember.
In the 2018 documentary, she explained, "That’s my life. The reason I work, the reason I do anything is for my love for animals." The only way you can understand the love she harbors for all animals is after you watch the 57-minute film. There's one particular clip in the film that has touched millions of hearts. It is when the actress is seen sitting beside a giant brown bear at the Los Angeles Zoo and showering the hairy beast with all her love. She did all this, despite knowing that one wrong move could turn things ugly. However, White manages to remain unfazed by it all and proceeds to feed the bear marshmallows before kissing the animal on his face.
This heartwarming interaction between White and the bear is followed by a statement by the late Georgia Engel which perfectly demonstrates White's selfless nature. "She says all the time, 'I have to keep doing my acting jobs so I can support my animal causes,'" said Engel in the video. White has been a regular contributor of the African Wildlife Foundation, Los Angeles Zoo Commissions, the Morris Animal Foundation, and several other animal conservationist groups, for more than the last half a century. Apparently, she has even served as a trustee at the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association, according to the Smithsonian. There she advocated for the zoo's causes, educated the public, and even assisted in conserving endangered species all over the world.
Back in 2012, she published a book titled Betty & Friends: My Life at the Zoo, which in essence was a scrapbook of her favorite animals. It has photographs of her along with the animals and little anecdotes from the time she spent with them. While speaking to the magazine, White shared her thoughts on what being an animal lover actually meant. When she was asked about her earliest memory of feeling a kinship for animals, she responded: "Oh, it is so embedded in me." White continued saying that her love for animals started when she was young thanks to her parents who were tremendous animal lovers. "They imbued in me the fact that, to me, there isn’t an animal on the planet that I don’t find fascinating and want to learn more about," she added.
The actress also shared that she wanted to be a forest ranger or a zookeeper before she began a career in acting. Unfortunately, this was not possible in the 1940s. But even after becoming a successful Hollywood personality, White did not forget her animal friends and that deep-seated desire in her heart as she received the post of an honorary forest ranger during the 2010s. "As far as a zookeeper, I have been such a zoo nut all my life that I am practically a zookeeper!" she said. Sharing her absolute favorite moment at the LA Zoo, she recalled witnessing a newborn camel trying to rise to its feet.
"He would get one leg up and then he would get a second leg up. He would try the third leg, and the first two would fall down. He really had to work at it. I stood there and watched the whole time," she recalled. "Just about the time he finally got all four legs under him, and you know how spraddle-legged they are when they first stand, not his mother, but it was like Aunt Maude, one of the adult camels, came over. As if to say, 'Oh, what a beautiful baby,' she touched him with her nose and splat! Down he went. He had to start all over again," White added.