"I have to keep doing my acting jobs so I can support my animal causes," is what Betty White says all the time!
Betty White loves animals and will do just about anything for their welfare. In fact, during an interview with Entertainment Online, White said, "I just like animals more than I like people. It’s that simple." She might be 99 years old but her zest for life and animals is not going to fizzle out anytime soon! The Guinness World Record holder for the longest TV career started acting in 1939—which means she's been acting for over eight decades.
She once spoke about her love for animals, in her documentary titled The First Lady of Television. White said she'd rather be remembered as an animal advocate than a famous actor. "That’s my life. The reason I work, the reason I do anything is for my love for animals," said White, according to Do You Remember.
One of the most memorable clips in the 57-minute-long documentary is when White sits beside a giant brown bear at the Los Angeles Zoo, casually feeding it, hugging, and kissing the animal. Sure, for most of us, it might seem scary, but that isn't the case with White. She was completely at home with the bear, and it just shows how much animals mean to her.
In the clip, she can be seen chatting with someone while nonchalantly feeding the beast marshmallows. Fellow actor Georgia Engel reveals in the documentary that White's animal activism was the driving force behind her acting career. "She says all the time, 'I have to keep doing my acting jobs so I can support my animal causes,'" said the late Engel.
White has lent her support to many animal groups including the African Wildlife Foundation, Los Angeles Zoo Commissions, the Morris Animal Foundation, and several other animal conservationist groups over the last 50 years.
For nearly four decades, she's also served as a trustee of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association and has advocated for the zoo's work, educated the public, and helped to conserve endangered species in the wild, reported Smithsonian Magazine.
She's even written a book about the experience titled, Betty & Friends: My Life at the Zoo. It is a scrapbook of her favorite animals, with photographs and anecdotes. When asked about her first memory of her love for animals, she replied, "Oh, it is so embedded in me. Both my mother and father 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."
During the interview, she also spoke about zoos and the myth that surrounds them. "So many people have a closed mind on zoos. They think no animal should be in captivity, they should all be in the wild in their own habitat. Well, of course, that is a myth," said White, adding that we humans took so much of their space for our own development.
"What the zoos do, that some of the “zoophobes” don’t understand, is work not only with the captive animals but also with the dwindling populations in the wild. What they learn from the captive animals they can apply to the populations in the wild. In many cases, species are still around that would not be without zoos," added the actor.
There really is no one like Betty White and she's here to prove it.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Joe Scarnici