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"I don't want to be just a name on a piece of stationary" (White qtd in Golden). Throughout her career, Betty White has proven herself as much more than a name on a piece of stationary. Born in Oak Park, Illinois, she developed her love of animals at a very young age through her parents. She became famous through her acting career, in shows such as 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' and 'The Golden Girls,' but is now well known as an animal activist also. White has volunteered at a number of zoos and charities for the past few decades. Also sacrificing many roles in her acting career in order to protect animals, White has made an everlasting difference in the animal community. Moreover, White inspires many people to fight for what they believe in, and is a great example of how celebrities can use their fame to benefit the world. Although many see Betty White as just a movie star, she has proven herself to be much more; an inspiration due to her strong sense of sacrifice, compassionate towards others, and philanthropic towards the animal community.
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In order to protect and care for animals, White has given up many opportunities in her acting career. "Because of her animals, Betty's limit for going out of town is two nights" (Golden). When asked why she puts her animals first, White replied with, "It's not easy. My problem is that I just enjoy them more than I do other things. I've turned down a Broadway Play because this is where my heart is" (White qtd. in Golden). White gives up acting jobs in fear that her animals would be left alone. She has a passion for acting, but sacrifices parts of her career in order to ensure that her animals are safe. At one point in her career, White was offered a promising role in the film 'As Good As It Gets,' yet decided to turn it down. Betty explained that, "I turned it down because of Jill, the adorable little dog, being thrown down the garbage chute. Jim Brooks was kind enough to offer me the role, but I called him and told him that I just couldn't. He said, 'but the dog is fine. The dog is safe. The dog is the star of the movie.' I said, 'I know that, but there are a lot of kooks out there.'"(White qtd. in Golden). Although the dog wouldn't have been injured when thrown down the chute, White felt it would give people bad ideas about animal treatment. The movie had a very promising cast and script, but White gave up a once in a lifetime opportunity so she could stay to true to her morals. Unlike many other celebrities, White didn't take a role based solely on the fact that it could end up making her wealthier. Betty White has sacrificed promising advances in her career in order to do what she feels is morally correct.
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Betty White loves and cares about the animals all over the world throughout any given situation. In an article written about her in USA Today, White was described as "a longtime trustee, benefactor, and volunteer at the Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens" (Minzesheimer). At the age of 91, White feels compelled to do all that she can to help out distressed animals. Whenever she has a chance, she is out doing something to benefit animals, such as volunteering the local zoo or planning a new fundraiser, and doesn't expect anything in return. White won the 2012 National Humanitarian Award, and the American Humane Association President and CEO Dr. Robin Ganzert characterized her as the following, "We bestow the National Humanitarian Medal, our highest honor, on those who reflect our core values of compassion, caring and hope, and Betty more than reflects these values: she radiates them. Betty has more than earned the Legacy Award by dedicating herself to protecting and improving the quality of life for animals" ("Betty White to Receive the National Humanitarian Medal").Â She will long be remembered as someone who has made an everlasting difference in thousands of animals lives, and has left a legacy behind. She is recognized for her kindness, and her support towards animals, and will forever be remembered as a devoted humanitarian.
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Throughout her career, Betty White has supported various organizations creating an everlasting difference in the animal community. Over years of charity work, Betty White has been impactful on many charities, "In keeping with her long record of compassion, White will celebrate her 90th birthday this year by matching up to $25,000 in charitable contributions made by the public to American Humane Association via Betty White's Humane Heroes Club on Crowdrise.com. Contributions will benefit animals in need by supporting American Humane Association's Red Star RescueTM teams across the nation who provide emergency food, first aid, shelter and adoption services to animals affected by natural disasters and other catastrophic events" ("Betty White to Receive the National Humanitarian Medal"). The money that White donates to the American Humane Association will change the lives of thousands of animals. She is giving neglected animals the chance to have a safe and loving environment despite their previous circumstances, and is using her fame and wealth to make a difference for those less fortunate than her. White supports charities such as SPCALA, and the Morris Animal Foundation. When questioned about the purpose of The Morris Animal Foundation, she stated, "It's a health organization that funds studies for the specific health problems of dogs, cats, horses and wildlife. I'm so proud of this organization. We helped develop the Feline Leukemia vaccine, the Parvo Virus vaccine, and the Potomac Horse Fever vaccine. The list goes on and on" (White qtd. in Golden). By volunteering with the Morris Animal Foundation, she is making a difference for the lives of many. White is a devoted philanthropist, and is impactful in a positive manner towards the animal community.
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Betty White will forever be remembered for her sacrificial nature, compassionate acts towards others, and her humanitarian qualities. Through her own actions, White inspires people to support charities and organizations that are near to their hearts. She has stayed grounded and feels the need to stick up for the little people, even though she has proven herself to be much more. She devotes time in her cluttered schedule to support the charities and organizations that she deems worthy. When questioned about Betty White's role in the upcoming 'Friends For Life Pet Telethon,' Madeline Bernstein, President of SPCALA said, "Having Betty White host our previous 'Friends For Life Pet Telethons' has been an honor. Betty White's animal welfare advocacy is knows throughout the world. She's a strong voice for animals and has been a friend of SPCALA for over 40 years. Her involvement with the telethon has made it the success it is today." (Bernstein qtd in Golden). White uses her fame and power to help out animals that are in unfortunate situations.Â She is an inspiration for aspiring activists hoping to make a difference in the world, and proves how much a difference one can make if they fight for what they believe in. White showed how gracious and thankful she is when she stated, "I'm actually the luckiest old broad alive. Half my life is working in a profession I love and the other half is working with animals. I couldn't ask for more." (White qtd in Koseluk). Although she is considered to be one of the most influential performers of all time, she has stayed true to herself and her passions. She has a need to do good for the world, and will always be considered a hero. Betty White is an inspiration to all, and has proven herself to be much more than just a name on a piece of stationary.
"Betty White to Receive the National Humanitarian Medal and Legacy Award at American Humane Association's Second Annual Hero Dog Awards." Betty White to Receive the National Humanitarian Medal and Legacy Award at American Humane Association's Second Annual Hero Dog Awards. American Humane Association, 25 Sept. 2012. Web. 08 May 2013.
Della Cava, Marco R. "Betty White keeps laughing." USA Today 2 May 2011: 01D. Biography In Context. Web. 6 May 2013.
Golden, Lori. "Betty's Animal Activism." Betty's Animal Activism. The Pet Press, Jan. 2011. Web. 29 Apr. 2013.
Koseluk, Chris. "Golden girl: White has devoted her life to acting and philanthropy." Hollywood Reporter 22 Jan. 2010: 14. Biography In Context. Web. 3 May 2013.
Minzesheimer, Bob. "For Betty White, it's all happening at the zoo." USA Today 29 Nov. 2011: 09B. Biography In Context. Web. 3 May 2013.
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Last edited 5/25/2013 12:00:00 AM