Betty White, who is renowned, never had to undergo a “re-invention” or experience a “Act II” in her career. White, a stalwart of the entertainment industry since the 1950s, never stopped acting and working in movies and TV shows. It took audiences a while to realise that she was as productive as she was and that we had been taking her dependable presence for granted due to the nature of her profession. This author began writing about movies in 1999, and he recalls a moment around that time when Betty White’s genius started to gain widespread recognition. As “The Golden Girls” evolved from a modest television smash to a beloved mainstay in American homes, Betty White, who was only 77 at the time, was acknowledged as continuing to bring her hilarious brilliance to everything she was involved in. She would become recognisable, and audiences would stop taking her for granted.
Although she spent a significant amount of her career in cinema, White was more known for television. Despite the fact that White’s career began in movies, she didn’t appear in any movies from 1962, when she played a senator in Otto Preminger’s “Advice & Consent,” until she played Gretchen Claus in the CBS animated programme “The Story of Santa Claus” in 1996. Two years later, White would make an unlucky return to the genre in the disaster/heist mashup movie “Hard Rain.” The Eddie Murphy film “Holy Man” and the direct-to-video follow-up to “Dennis the Menace” dubbed “Dennis the Menace Strikes Again” were both released in 1998.
However, Betty White’s film career was essentially launched by Steve Miner’s 1999 horror/comedy “Lake Placid,” which was responsible for bringing her into the public eye.
David E. Kelley wrote the screenplay for his fourth feature picture, “Lake Placid,” which blends big-city neurosis with a gory creature feature. He has also written the screenplays for “From the Hip,” “To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday,” and “Mystery, Alaska.” Since she worked on so many popular TV shows, such as “L.A. Law,” “Picket Fences,” “Chicago Hope,” “The Practice,” and “Ally McBeal,” Kelley was better renowned for her work in television.
In the movie, Bridget Fonda plays a neurotic palaeontologist who is investigating reports of a crocodile in a freshwater lake in Maine. And this crocodile, which is around 30 feet long, is not an ordinary one. The crocodile starts assaulting and devouring supporting actors, real cows, and the occasional helicopter in classic monster movie style. We discover about halfway through “Lake Placid” that Betty White’s character Delores Bickerman, a sweet old widow who lives on the lake, has been feeding the crocodile for years. She treats the croc like a pet and guides the blindfolded cows to the water’s edge, where they are killed for food. Delores Bickerman’s lovely, carefree personality makes her endearing, even if she is hiding a terrifying man-eating monster.
Later yet, we discover that Delores has even more secrets, including the knowledge of a few phrases that are often only said by inebriated sailors and the knowledge of a very violent act she once committed with a cast iron pan. It is quite amazing to hear a 77-year-old Betty White swear up a blue streak. Although “Lake Placid” didn’t receive a lot of attention in 1999, the conversations that did happen were mostly focused on White, her character’s naïve love of a gigantic water monster, and her profanity-laced exchanges with Brendan Gleeson.
Let’s Go Betty
“Lake Placid” opened to only $10 million ($16 million in 2021 dollars), trailing “Eyes Wide Shut” and “American Pie” and received largely negative reviews (film presently has a 47% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes). On a $35 million budget, this was done. Although “Lake Placid” has many supporters, White is unquestionably its most notable aspect. In a strange way, White’s role as the standout performance in a generally despised mid-budget monster comedy was beneficial to her career since it allowed her to transcend the script and show viewers that the septuagenarian was still eager to work. plus more. plus more.
White’s career took off shortly after “Lake Placid”. She began providing a significant amount of voice work for feature films and acted in a number of supporting roles in well-known studio productions. White received twenty more film credits between 2000 and 2013, including roles in Hallmark movies, “The Lorax,” “The Proposal,” and more. White, a consummate professional, gave her all to each of these roles.
Her already prodigious TV production continued to grow as a result of White’s popularity in “Lake Placid,” which also attracted the attention of TV producers. This led to guest appearances on virtually every major show that was airing. It’s impossible to determine the exact sequence of events, but “Lake Placid” might have prompted White to appear as a guest on David E. Kelley’s “Ally McBeal.” Perhaps it was the opposite, though. However, White (now 88) was cast in a regular part on “Hot in Cleveland” in 2010. Her reputation as “sassy, knowledgeable, and completely adorable” was forever sealed.
White died on December 31, 2021, but he will always hold a special place in our hearts. Delores Bickerman’s extended family would later emerge in the frequently disregarded “Lake Placid” sequels as a way for “Lake Placid” to pay tribute to White’s appearance. In “Lake Placid 2” (2007), Cloris Leachman portrayed the Bickerman character; in “Lake Placid 3” (2010), there were three Bickermans; and in “Lake Placid: The Final Chapter” (2012) and “Lake Placid vs. Anaconda,” Robert Englund would portray a Bickerman (2015). The “Lake Placid: Legacy” reboot does not feature any Bickermans (2018).