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She’s All Over – Like White On Rice

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It all started with a 10 second appearance in a Superbowl Snickers ad. We were all taken by surprise when that grungy backyard football player slammed into Betty White and took her down in a gut-crunching and gut-busting tackle. Of course, you laughed, we all did. But now Betty is the one one laughing, guffawing, maybe, all the way to the bank. Betty White has been chosen as The Associated Press’ ‘Entertainer of the Year’. From that bit part in the Snickers ad, Betty has achieved more fame (and no doubt fortune) than any of her previous 70′s TV roles.

If you’ve followed Betty’s career, even remotely, you know she’s an adopted Minnesotan, if only in character roles.

If you’re over 35, you probably first saw Betty as the man-hungry TV cook-show host Sue Ann Nivens on the Minneapolis-based ‘The Mary Tyler-Moore Show‘. She was constantly trying to seduce poor Lou Grant and provide Mary with ‘man advice’. She scored two back to back Emmy’s for her smarmy performances.

After MTM called it quits in 1977, Betty re-surfaced a few years later as the eternally blond and mind-numbingly dumb Rose Nylund on ‘The Golden Girls’. Rose hailed from the fictitious city of St. Olaf, which of course, we know as Northfield, MN. Betty won a fourth Emmy for her role, and reprised it in the spin-off ‘Golden Palace’. White’s ‘Rose’ enigma even showed up in episodes of ‘Empty Nest’ and ‘Nurses’.

She hasn’t been out of work, though- She’s guest starred in several series, provides voice-overs for ‘The Simpsons’, ‘King Of the Hill’, ‘Family Guy’ and the kid’s show ‘The Wild Thornberrys’. And who could forget her stunningly nasty character in the giant alligator B-flick ‘Lake Placid’?

But it was that Snickers ad that brought her to a whole new audience. Being 87 at the time, you’d think she’d want to hang it up and relax. Not Betty. She parlayed that into a new series, and several movie roles. Betty even had a commanding presence in cyber-space, although she  admitted on her Facebook-fueled Saturday Night Live appearance that she “had no idea what the hell Facebook even is…”

So now Betty has been selected by 102 ballots submitted from U.S. news organizations that make up the AP’s membership. Voters cast their ballots for who had the most influence on the entertainment world and culture in 2010.

It was close: Betty scored 20 votes, narrowly beating the cast of “Glee,” , by only two votes. Tied for third were Conan O’Brien, James Cameron and Apple’s iPad. Jon Stewart followed.

Now 20 votes may not seem like a lot, but I can hear Sue Ann Nivens sum it up for us: ‘Screw you, Gleeks.’

Or maybe you can hear Rose: ‘Well, I don’t know what an AP is, but I’m sure I’ve got a cream that’ll clear it right up.’

We love you Betty, and you deserve all the attention and the accolades that come with it.

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