Betty White Pens 'If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won't)'

'Golden Girl' actress reflections on life and her enduring career.

ByABC News via logo
May 2, 2011, 11:27 PM

May 3, 2011 — -- Betty White's name is synonymous with the popular 1980s sitcom "The Golden Girls," but the the 89-year-old actress is enjoying a tremendous resurgence in popularity and her career is hotter than ever.

The Hollywood funnywoman and seven-time Emmy Award winner also is an author and in her new book -- "If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won't)" -- she looks at life through the lens of her time in show business. White shares her thoughts on life's most important topics with her customary humor.

Read an excerpt from "If You Ask Me" below, then check out some other books in the "GMA" library.


One thing they don't tell you about growing old— you don't feel old, you just feel like yourself. And it's true. I don't feel eighty-nine years old. I simply am eighty-nine years old.

If I didn't feel so well, I might have a different philosophy altogether.

But I fall into traps sometimes.

Let's say I meet someone I find attractive. I have to keep reminding myself of how old I am, because I don'tfeel like I'm that old. I fight the urge to flirt and try to shape up. No fool like an old fool.

But I don't get depressed as the number climbs. Perhaps because I don't fear death. To some it is such a bêtenoire that it ruins some of the good time they have left.

Estelle Getty was so afraid of dying that the writers on The Golden Girls couldn't put a dead joke in thescript. This was early on—long before she ever got ill.

Again, I'm quoting my mother, but her take on the subject I thought was great. She said we know so muchand can discover so much more, but what no one knows for sure is what exactly happens when we pass on. Whenwe'd lose someone we would grieve, of course, but she would say, "Now he knows the secret." Somehow thathelped the pain for me.

And now—she knows the secret.

If you've ever lost a loved one, or witnessed it, you can't help but see that the body is an envelope for theletter.

My friends kid me that when it happens to me, Allen's going to be up there waiting for me and probablymy mom and dad. That's my family. But before I can get to them I'm going to have to wade through Bootyand Binky and Bob and Panda and Kitta and all my pets through the years—

Picturing that always starts me laughing.


In show business, the mirror obviously plays a big part in one's life, but early on—long before I startedworking—my beloved mother taught me another role the mirror plays. I can still hear her:

"Bets, you can lie to anyone in the world and even get away with it, perhaps, but when you are alone andlook into your own eyes in the mirror, you can't sidestep the truth. Always be sure you can meet those eyes directly.Otherwise, it's big trouble, my girl."

It may sound like a cliché, I realize, but oh, it's so true. On rare occasions I have tried to prove my momwrong. I stare back at my reflection and try to rationalize my way out of something, but it never works. Thoseeyes in the looking glass take on a life of their own.

It still works, Mom. Even after all these years.