One thing I enjoyed very much about the recent run of Celebrity Big Brother was that 70-year-old Julie Goodyear was assumed to be a sweet little ole’ granny figure, when really, her personality is far from that. She behaved like a scheming, back-stabbing minx. Much like my dear mama in fact (whom I’ve called in print ‘Arthur Daley in a skirt’ – and usually a mini skirt at that. And why not? At 76, she’s got better legs than most 20 year olds).
Julian Clary loved this about Julie Goodyear. All the young things were shocked and appalled. Bollocks to them. I like my old ladies to be Machiavellian. It’s so much more fun. Apple pie my eye. There ain’t nothing like an evil old Dame. I certainly plan to be one.
And on that note, but with a more gentle Miami spin, I’d like to dedicate this post to the fabulous Florida queens, The Golden Girls (1985-1992). I loved them, one and all. And what a joy it was to have a programme, not just focussing on women, but on (reasonably) badly behaved older ones. Tiny Estelle Getty, glamorous Rue McClanahan and elegant, acerbic Bea Arthur have sadly all died in recent years. But the ditsy Minnesota-born Rose (from the glorious town of St Olaf. Even typing that made me laugh) played by Betty White, still lives on.
Betty White was born January 1922. Over an enormously long career, she’s been in countless TV programmes, from the sweet-faced sharp tongued Sue Ann Nivens in the Mary Tyler Moore Show to a guest spot in 30 Rock to being oldest-ever guest host of Saturday Night Live, she’s been in the business since the early 195os. Scene stealing all the way.
My favourite of her recent-ish roles was Catherine Piper in Boston Legal alongside the delicious James Spader. Betty, playing Catherine, looks like the archetypal dear little old lady. And yet, and yet, it turns out she has a nasty habit of murdering people with frying pans. She’s a calculating, blackmailing gossip. And I love her for it.
The idea to write this kick ass woman column on Betty White came from reading an interview with her in the Guardian Guide, because it seems she’s still working, in Off Their Rockers and Hot in Cleveland.
Anything with Betty White in it has got to be worth watching. Long live the remaining queen of the Golden Girls.
Posted by Inkface