Betty White Collection Archived, On Display At The National Comedy Center

Alan Light / CC BY 2.0

JAMESTOWN, NY (WNY News Now) – The National Comedy Center announced on Wednesday they have received rare artifacts, wardrobe pieces, and awards from the estate of late comedy legend and actress Betty White.

Officials from the Comedy Center said the collection features scripts that were hand-annotated by Betty White herself, plus several articles of  White’s on-screen wardrobe, including a Rose Nylund sweater from The Golden Girls, an Elka Ostrovsky tracksuit from Hot in Cleveland, and a gown worn by White at the 1986 Emmy Awards ceremony.

The collection also features five Emmy statuettes which span nearly 60 years, including Life with Elizabeth in 1952, The Mary Tyler Moore Show in 1975 and 1976,  The Golden Girls in 1986, and as guest host of Saturday Night Live in 2010. Career memorabilia will also be on display including the sweater White wore in her iconic Super Bowl XLV commercial and a Guinness World Record certificate for “Longest TV Career by a Female Entertainer.”

Betty White’s collection will be permanently archived at the Comedy Center, with the display now open to the public.

“Betty White has had a remarkable impact on the world of comedy. She brought laughter to millions and made it look effortless, when in fact, she was a true master of the art form,” said National Comedy Center executive director Journey Gunderson.

Gunderson went on to say that White’s story and work not only entertained generations of fans, but inspired fans with her genuine love for comedy.

“Her story is a remarkable one, not least because of the unerring grace and resilience she modeled as an artist navigating an evolving entertainment industry across seven decades – never losing relevancy and never failing to reinvent herself and her work to meet the moment. We are truly honored to celebrate Betty White in our galleries and to preserve her materials for generations to come.”

Glenn Kaplan, the representative for Betty White’s estate, says they were “delighted” to donate important pieces from White’s career to the National Comedy Center.

“Betty was so wonderfully gifted as an actress and comedienne. She loved to make us all laugh for nearly one hundred years, and she believed wholeheartedly in the power of comedy to entertain, to open our minds, and to change the world. Now her work is on exhibit side-by-side with her dear friends and fellow artists, including Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Mary Tyler Moore and so many others. We know that she would have been thrilled to be included in the National Comedy Center, and we hope her fans will visit to remember our beloved Betty and pay tribute her extraordinary legacy.”

Betty White’s close friends and colleagues have commented on the archival of her career at the Comedy Center:

“Betty would have been thrilled to be celebrated at the National Comedy Center, not only because it’s the official museum for comedy but because it’s located in her dear friend Lucille Ball’s hometown and based on Lucy’s vision. It was one of the honors of my life to have both Betty and Lucy as close friends and cherished mentors, and to have worked so closely with them through the years. Now their legacies are preserved, side by side, for generations to come, which makes me very happy. We all miss them both dearly but their comedy is timeless.” – Carol Burnett

“It was pure joy to work with Betty for five years on ‘Hot in Cleveland.’ I’m so very pleased that everyone who loved Betty can now visit the National Comedy Center and remember her incredible talent, her wonderful sense of humor and her extraordinary kindness.” – Valerie Bertinelli

“Betty White was truly a national treasure. I want to congratulate the National Comedy Center for honoring my friend with this wonderful tribute. I know that it would have meant so much to her. I hope she is somewhere celebrating this honor too — hopefully with her husband Allen, having a hot dog, a slice of pizza, a few gummy bears and some vodka.” – Jennifer Love Hewitt

Betty White’s career on television spanned over seven decades. She was beloved for her portrayal of Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls and Elka Ostrosky in Hot in Cleveland, in addition to her work in radio and film and as an author. Known as the “First Lady of Television,” White was a pioneer of early television as the star and producer of the comedy Life with Elizabeth, with full creative control, and the host of a live, daily television variety show as early 1949.

White received eight Emmy awards, three American Comedy Awards, three Screen Actors Guild Awards and a Grammy Award over the course of her career. She is the first and only actress to receive Emmy awards in all comedy performing categories: Lead Actress, Supporting Actress and Guest Actress.

Betty White died on December 31, 2021, just 17 days before her 100th birthday.

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