Betty White’s friend and former co-star, Vicki Lawrence, is honoring the TV legend nearly one year after her death.
Lawrence penned an essay remembering all the good times she had with White on the set of “Mama’s Family,” and what made the actress so special. Most of all, Lawrence discussed how much she misses her friend, how much she learned from her during their time together and how badly she wishes she were still around.
“I miss being able to pick up the phone and talk. I’m getting older too, and nobody tells you how complicated this half of your life is,” Lawrence wrote in an essay for People magazine. “Boy, would I be asking you a lot of questions. I always used to say, ‘I hope I grow up to be Betty White.’ I feel so lucky to have known you.”
The “Cool Kids” actress also touched on White’s sense of humor, remembering how she “loved bawdy and corny jokes” and the surprising adjective she found to be a compliment.
“After you were once described as ‘a great broad,’ somebody asked, ‘Aren’t you offended by that?’ You said, ‘Oh, honey, that is such a great compliment! We’ve reached an age where we’ve seen and done enough, and we’re allowed to be great broads,'” Lawrence recalled. “Bold, raunchy, been-around-the-block-so-many-times-you’re-dizzy broads.”
Lawrence and White starred together on “Mama’s Family” for a short time in 1983, and while White left the show after only 16 episodes, the friendship between the two women continued to grow.
It was during her time on “Mama’s House” that White got the script for “The Golden Girls,” in which she played what would go on to be her most well-known character, Rose Nylund. According to Lawrence, White had a feeling based off the script that the show would go on to be a huge success.
“When we were doing ‘Mama’s Family,’ you told me about a new pilot — ‘I think this is going to be the one,’ you said — and I lost you to ‘The Golden Girls,'” Lawrence wrote. “Wow, it was the one. So many young people are still devoted to it.”
Lawrence also told the story about the time White helped her save her cat after the animal was hit by a bicycle, and she thought she would have to put it down.
“Sophie got run over by one of the neighborhood kids on a bicycle, both of her front legs were broken, and she looked like a little Frankenstein with splints,” Lawrence recalled. “The kids were devastated. My husband, Al [Schultz], said, ‘Go pour yourself a glass of wine and call Betty.'”
Lawrence remembered White telling her: “You’re not putting her down. Take her to my orthopedic surgeon.” After that phone call, Lawrence said she “grabbed Al’s credit card.”
“After I bought a dog from a pet store window, I got a lecture from you about rescue dogs who needed love,” Lawrence continued of White. “What was I thinking? I want you to know that every dog since then has been a rescue. We have two crazy mutts now.”
White’s love of animals is well known among her fans, and was something they decided to honor when she passed away last year on New Year’s Eve. Some fans created “The Betty White Challenge,” which challenged others to donate whatever they could to various charities benefiting animals on what would have been White’s 100th birthday in January of this year.
Some of the charities White partnered with throughout her life included the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association, American Humane, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Endangered Wolf Center and BraveHearts Therapeutic Riding and Educational Center.