Betty White gets the “Who-Manitarian of the Year” award at Universal’s Grinchmas event

Betty White, photo by Margie Barron

Betty White’s lifelong dedication to animal welfare earned her the “Who-Manitarian of the Year” award at Universal Studios Hollywood’s annual Grinchmas event.

Universal's Grinchmas launch, photo by Margie Barron

Much to White’s delight, her award was presented to her by Max, the Grinch’s faithful doggie-sidekick. “Everyone knows I love animals, and I am so happy to discover that Max is a rescue dog,” White told the crowd of VIPs and kids who gathered for the launch of the Grinchmas celebration at Universal, which includes a Who-ville show featuring the Grinch and Max (who is played by several rescue-dogs-turned-animal-actors throughout the performances).

White also learned about Universal’s fun holiday activities, such as lots of fresh snow creating a winter wonderland to play in at the tour center’s Who-ville. There’s also a nightly Who-bilation tree lighting ceremony, plus celebrities reading the Dr. Seuss classic “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” on the schedule from now until New Year’s Eve. “That’s just too much fun for one person. You have to bring your whole family to enjoy all of this,” White insisted.

The sassy star of Hot In Cleveland, starting a new season on TV Land, is a seven-time Emmy-winner, and has a Grammy and Screen Actors Guild award. Not only is she a comedy actress in TV and films, but also a veteran producer from the early days of television. “I was producing shows before Lucille Ball,” White revealed.

White said her background in comedy started when she was very young. “I was an only child with a wonderful mother and father, and they both had a delicious sense of humor. We laughed a lot and we were always making up a lot of jokes. I grew up kind of looking at the funny side of things rather than the negative side. That can get you through some really tough times.”

In addition to Hot In Cleveland and the NBC hidden camera comedy show Off Their Rockers, White does a lot of guest appearances and was featured in Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax movie this year. She’s had an enduring career and has great advice for young actresses today. “Don’t believe your own publicity, and don’t abuse your privileges,” stated the 90-year-old dynamo.

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Frank Barron is the former editor of The Hollywood Reporter, having served twice in that capacity. In between, he was West Coast news director for Billboard Publications, supervising their five magazines. Barron also created the western TV series “The Man From Blackhawk” for the ABC network. For more than three decades he and writer-wife Margie Barron have covered Hollywood for Production Update magazine, and they currently contribute to numerous publications. Frank started in showbiz as publicity director for the KHJ radio and television station. Before moving to California, he was a sports editor in New Jersey.

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