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You could always choose to be more like Betty White
On the passing of America's most popular celebrity
It's unclear who are the 4% of Americans who disliked Betty White, but every society contains some ne'er-do-wells. For the rest of us, she was fittingly rated the most popular celebrity in America -- edging out even Denzel Washington and Sandra Bullock. And now we are left to mourn her passing on the final day of 2021, not even three weeks shy of her 100th birthday.
■ She was both exceptionally popular and highly respected, even if her persona was disarming and cheerful. She was a volunteer servicemember in WWII, an ally to the civil rights movement in 1954 (who may have paid a career price for her choices), and a spokesperson for anti-bullying campaigns into her 90s.
■ Benjamin Franklin wrote, "'Tis a shame that your family is an honor to you! You ought to be an honor to your family." Not everyone will have the kind of fame or the consequent platforms of a performer like Betty White. She was gifted with enormous talent (even if acting was runner-up to her dream job of being a forest ranger), and she worked hard for her success over a long and full lifetime. So while she was an only child and had no children of her own, she was undoubtedly an honor to her family.
■ Was she exceptional? Certainly. Trailblazing, even, both on-camera and as a producer. And along the way, she managed to win over the public in a way literally no other American did. Everyone chooses some kind of path through life, and all of us are free to choose our role models. We could do a lot worse than for lots of Americans to cast Betty White in the part.