"Don't take yourself too seriously. You can lie to others — not that I would — but you cannot lie to yourself," the icon said.
American television's reigning queen of comedy, Betty White, is gearing up to celebrate her 99th birthday this Sunday and the Golden Girl's wit is as sharp as ever. In fact, the national treasure credits her unfailing sense of humor for her forever young and sharp mind that we fans have come to love so much. Speaking to PEOPLE ahead of her upcoming birthday, White reflected upon what keeps her going and shared valuable tips for always finding the bright side of life. "I don't like the other side," she said. "The positive side is a lot more fun."
Born in 1922, in Oak Park, Illinois, White's life would've taken a completely different turn if she's been able to accomplish her first dreamt of becoming a forest ranger. However, women weren't allowed to be rangers at the time and Forest Service's loss became Hollywood's gain. White went on to make a name for herself in both radio and television through an illustrious career that has now spanned over eight decades and counting. The winner of multiple Emmys, the icon starred in some of TV's most memorable roles including the Happy Homemaker Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and sweet Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls.
White's sharp wit and sweet demeanor have always shined through in her countless charming talk show and game show appearances over the years as she candidly spoke about her life in a way few others have. Today, she's an example of how one can live well and live long without compromising on who they are. "I am blessed with good health," White noted simply of her eventful life, "So turning 99 is no different than turning 98." When asked about what keeps her going, she replied: "A sense of humor. Don't take yourself too seriously. You can lie to others — not that I would — but you cannot lie to yourself."
The renowned animal advocate reiterated the same life lesson for those hoping to lead a long and happy life like hers. "Again, having a sense of humor," White said. "Just looking at the positive side and not dwelling on the downside. Takes up too much energy being negative. Also having a good agent who keeps me busy all the time." Although her birthday this year will be a quiet affair due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, the legendary comedian admitted that she's looking forward to "visiting with close friends and bringing food to my animal friends" once life begins to return to normal and she can socialize again.
1. "I have no regrets at all. None. I consider myself to be the luckiest old broad on two feet."—To Guinness World Records
2. "Vodka is kind of a hobby."—On The Late Show with David Letterman
3. "In my head, I'm the ultimate cougar. Animal lover that I am."—To Piers Morgan on CNN
4. "I love children, the only problem with children: they grow up to be people, and I just like animals better than people. It’s that simple."—In a 2015 interview with Entertainment Tonight
5. "I married my first husband because we wanted to sleep together. It lasted six months and we were in bed for six months."—To AARP Magazine
6. "My only claim to fame: I'm the only woman in the world who has not slept with Tiger Woods."—On The Insider
7. "I'm a health nut. My favorite food is hot dogs with French fries. And my exercise: I have a two-story house and a very bad memory, so I'm up and down those stairs." —In a New York Times talk
8. "Get at least eight hours of beauty sleep, nine if you're ugly." —On The Late Show with David Letterman
9. "Guess what? I'm still hot." —In a promotional music video for The Lifeline Program in 2012
10. "People say, 'But Betty, Facebook is a great way to connect with old friends.' Well, at my age, if I want to connect with old friends I need an Ouija board."—During her opening monologue for Saturday Night Live
11. "He's the hottest thing since sliced bread." —To PopSugar about Jay Z