15 Amazing Facts About Betty White

Betty White at a Los Angeles Zoo event in 2015.
Betty White at a Los Angeles Zoo event in 2015. / Vincent Sandoval/GettyImages
6 of 8

10. If she hadn’t been an actor, White would have been a zookeeper.

Betty White holds a snake at a Los Angeles Zoo event in 2013
Betty White and a snake at a Los Angeles Zoo event in 2013. / Amanda Edwards/GettyImages

“Hands down,” she confessed in a 2013 interview. This should come as little surprise to those aware of White’s reputation as an avid animal lover and activist. Not only did she try to visit the local zoo of wherever she traveled, but she was also a supporter of the Farm Animal Reform Movement and Friends of Animals group, as well as a Los Angeles Zoo board member, who donated “tens of thousands of dollars” to the zoo, according to Entertainment Tonight. In 2010, White founded a T-shirt line to benefit the Morris Animal Foundation, one of her most beloved charities.

11. She passed on a role in As Good as It Gets because of an animal cruelty scene.

White was offered the part of Beverly Connelly, onscreen mother to Helen Hunt’s character, in the 1997 Oscar-winning movie As Good as It Gets. But the devoted animal lover was horrified by the scene where Jack Nicholson’s curmudgeonly anti-hero pitches a small dog down the trash chute of his apartment building. As White explained on The Joy Behar Show, “All I could think of was all the people out there watching that movie … and if there’s a dog in the building that’s barking or they don’t like—boom! They do it.” She appealed to director James L. Brooks in hopes of having the scene cut. Instead, he kept it and cast Shirley Knight in the role.