Q&A: Betty White on her world record, her favourite works, and getting started on TV

By Mike Janela

Betty White (USA) holds the record for the longest TV career for an entertainer (female).

Making her debut in 1939, the queen of the small screen has appeared in some of television’s most popular shows, including "The Golden Girls," "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," and "The Carol Burnett Show."

The legendary entertainer recently took a few moments to answer some questions from GWR.

GWR: How does it feel to be the Guinness World Records title holder for having the Longest Television Career as an Entertainer?

BW: "I was astounded when they called to tell me. 'Who? Me!?!' It's such an honor."

Any fond memories of the Guinness World Records book?

The book has always been fascinating to me. I can't believe I'm now associated with it. I am amazed at some of the records they keep. The longest fingernails?!?

Throughout all of your appearances, which project was your absolute favourite.

I had many favourites. The 'Pet Set' and 'Golden Girls' just to name a few. Especially the former, as I wrote and produced it and could have on any animals I wanted.

What advice would you give to any fledgling young actors?

I would advise actors to do their homework and take the time to appreciate their profession. It is a privilege to do what we do.

On the other hand, what do you miss most about the good ol' days?

I don't think about it. I take it a day at a time and love it.

White receiving her Guinness World Records certificate from adjudicator Jamie Panas

Give us some good, PG-rated gossip - any stories of legendary Hollywood parties or behind the scenes shenanigans with other celebrities you can share?

You're probably asking the wrong person. I'm not a party girl, but if I were it would be lovely to be at the same party as Robert Redford. I have a chronic crush on him.

What's one thing about you that people would be surprised to find out - any secret talent, unique fears, favourite foods, etc.?

Having been around for as long as I have, there are no secrets left. I am an avid crossword puzzle addict, and although I am known for my animal health and welfare work, people might be surprised to hear I am a nature nut as well!

Tell us about your very first appearance on television in 1939.

I danced on an experimental TV show, the first on the west coast, in downtown Los Angeles. I wore my high school graduation dress and our Beverly Hills High student body president, Harry Bennett, and I danced the Merry Widow Waltz. Later, Al Jarvis (a disc jockey) asked me to sit in as his girl Friday (5 1/2 hours a day, six days a week.). Four years later, I inherited the show.

Betty featured in the Guinness World Records 2014 book

If you weren't an actor, are there any other professions you might have considered?

Hands down, a zookeeper.

In your 75 year tenure, do you have any career regrets?

I have no regrets at all. None. I consider myself to be the luckiest old broad on two feet.