The Golden Girls

Hallmark Channel Salutes Betty White on Her 90th Birthday

Betty Marion White was born on Jan. 17, 1922 in Oak Park, Illinois, which means that the lady who starred as the adorably ditzy Rose on the iconic TV comedy “The Golden Girls” turns 90 years old. And yet White still seems to be everyplace. She’s starring in a new comedy series (“Hot in Cleveland”), popping up on the Emmy® Awards, and is in general busier than actresses half her age — heck, even a quarter her age. Father Time simply doesn’t seem to affect the lady like it does the rest of us. With that in mind, Hallmark Channel salutes the world’s most beloved nonagenarian with a Golden Girls Marathon the day before birthday number 90. It begins on Monday, January 16 at 3 p.m. and runs for 11 consecutive hours, featuring 14 episodes that represent Rose’s Greatest Hits from the series that originally ran on NBC from 1985-92. The Rose-A-Thon kicks off with “Rose the Prude” (1985), which finds our favorite wacky dame reluctantly going on a blind date with Blanche (Rue McClanahan) only to have it blossom into a serious relationship. That’s followed at 3:30 by ”A Little Romance” (also from ’85), wherein Rose starts having second thoughts about marrying Dr. Newman since he’s a little person. Rose later battles age discrimination (4 p.m.); fends off a lesbian advance (4:30 p.m.); fears for her mortality (5:30); is forced to care for her late uncle’s pig (6:30); faces down stage fright while giving a eulogy at her aunt’s funeral (7 p.m.); deals with the intellectual friends of her college professor boyfriend, Miles (7:30 p.m.); crashes a high school reunion (9 p.m.); and undergoes triple-bypass heart surgery (9:30). What’s particularly amazing about Betty, besides her phenomenal endurance and vigor, is the fact that she’s appeared so effortless in switching character gears over the years. Consider that long before “The Golden Girls,” she’d starred as a completely different personality on the classic sitcom “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Let’s face it: This is Betty White’s world. The rest of us just look on in reverence and awe.

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