Betty White will always be remembered as the grande dame of television, with leading roles in Golden Girls and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, as well as her own talk show and sitcom, The Betty White Show and Life With Elizabeth, respectively.
Her career in entertainment — which spanned a record-breaking 80 years — wasn't confined to TV sets, though. White made plenty of appearances on the big screen, ranging from fun cameos (as in the Eddie Murphy-starring Holy Man) and animated movies (she voiced a teething tiger named Bitey White in the Oscar-winning Toy Story 4, along with roles in The Lorax and Ponyo) to scene-stealing and starring roles in comedies, dramas and even a horror flick. Whatever part she played, the actress always found a way to shine, from her earliest days onscreen and onward to her final roles.
White died in 2021, just 17 days shy of what would have been her 100th birthday. The late, great icon would have turned 101 on January 17 of this year, and in celebration of her legendary life and legacy, A.frame is looking back on our favorite Betty White movies.
Time To Kill (1945)
This WWII-era short encouraging servicemen to complete or continue their education post-war is White's film debut. In the 23-minute film, she appears briefly as "Lou's Girl," a young woman who wants her sailor boyfriend to finish high school once he is out of the Navy. Appearing in only one scene, she doesn't have much to play with in her role, but everyone starts somewhere.
Advise & Consent (1962)
After spending the '50s starring in Life with Elizabeth and other television programs, White made a small but significant appearance in this political drama. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name and directed by Otto Preminger, Advise & Consent explores the American political machine as the President (played by Franchot Tone) nominates a controversial candidate (Henry Fonda) for Secretary of State. White gets in a few laughs during the trial as Senator Bessie Adams of Kansas.
Hard Rain (1998)
Between The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Golden Girls, White dominated TV screens throughout the '70s and '80s. In the late '90s, she appeared in this thriller about a heist gone wrong during the titular storm. Christian Slater stars as the driver of an armored truck, with Morgan Freeman as the leader of a gang of robbers. White and Richard Dysart appear as Doreen and Henry Sears, an elderly couple who are held hostage and whose continued bickering despite the life-or-death situation provides Hard Rain with some much-needed levity.
Lake Placid (1999)
This creature feature has become a cult classic over the years due in large part to its memorable villains: A gigantic man-eating crocodile, and Betty White's Delores Bickerman. Playing against type, she delivers a delightfully campy performance as the elderly caretaker of said monster, providing as much trouble for the film's heroes (played by the likes of Bill Pullman and Bridget Fonda) as the monstrous reptile.
The Proposal (2009)
This might be White's most beloved role outside of television. As Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds try to pull off a fake engagement, White steals the show as Reynolds' eccentric but sweet grandma.
You Again (2010)
In a comedy filled with rivalries — Kristen Bell and Odette Annable play high school nemeses, as do Jamie Lee Curtis and Sigourney Weaver — White steals the movie as the matriarch holding the biggest grunge against none other than Cloris Leachman, reuniting the actresses more than 30 years after The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
This article was originally published on January 16, 2022.
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