It’s hard to imagine anyone not loving Betty White. Why is that? Well, on top of being an award-winning actress and comedic performer, her long-time fans will know that she was also absolutely gorgeous when she was younger. Plus, she was even one of the Golden Girls! While viewers may have been singing “thank you for being a friend” during her days on the beloved show, there are plenty of people who feel that way about Betty White in real life.
Just take, for example, White’s castmates from 2009’s The Proposal, Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock. When the elder star turned 98 years old in January 2020, the younger pair recorded a message in order to send their friend celebratory wishes. After Bullock and Reynolds took turns singing “Happy Birthday” in the video that Reynolds posted to Twitter, the pair playfully fought over which one of them actually loves White more.
While it’s clear that White made some devoted admirers out of Bullock and Reynolds, they’re not the only famous friends she’s had. In fact, White has been buddies with other notable icons, including one particularly famous author.
Betty White and John Steinbeck met in an unexpected way
After Betty White established herself as a show business star, Emmys.com notes that she was “soon able to count as friends: Fred Astaire, John Steinbeck, Helen Hayes, George Burns, Lucy (there’s only one), Jimmy Stewart, even marvelous Buster Keaton.” While it makes sense that someone as iconic as White would make friends with other entertainment industry icons, how the heck did she become friends with a literary great like Steinbeck?
Although you might assume that the two met through their creative friends and influential acquaintances, it turns out that it was their spouses who first formed a connection. “Yes, his wife Elaine [Anderson Steinbeck] and my husband Allen [Ludden] went to Yale together,” White told Kirkus Reviews after writing her sixth book, If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won’t).
When asked if White had picked up any writing tips from Steinbeck, she admitted, “[N]o, not really. I don’t quite have the effrontery to copy him.” However, she did get something else from him. “I’ve actually got a handwritten first draft of his acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize,” she revealed. “He gave it to Allen one year for his birthday. I have it framed and hanging in my house.”
As for her favorite Steinbeck book: “Travels with Charley, of course.” We assume that because her own book includes “meditation[s] on her … loves — of both the human and animal variety,” she picked this particular Steinbeck story due to the fact that it features a prominent poodle.
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