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tv   All In With Chris Hayes  MSNBC  December 31, 2021 8:00pm-9:00pm PST

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♪♪ hate to have to do this, but we have sad breaking news from hollywood. the associate press is reporting legendary actress betty white has died at the age of 99. she was the longest-running woman on television, but there was so much more than television. she began her career on the radio in the 1940s, then tv in the 1950s, starring in more shows than i have fingers on my hands. her most famous, though, rose nylund on "the golden girls" that ran on nbc from 1985 to 1992. and then the movies, so many movies. just the other day her "proposal" co-star ryan reynolds
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said he was still holding out for her, waiting for her to giving up her crush on robert redford for him. she was beloved and only weeks away from her 100th buried january 17th. let us take a moment to celebrate the remarkable life and career of betty white. here's miguel almaguer. >> ladies and gentlemen, betty white! >> reporter: may 8th, 2010, betty white making history at the age of 88, becoming the oldest person to host "saturday night live," this after half a million people on facebook petitions to show to give her a shot at hosting. >> when i heard about the campaign to get he to host "saturday night live," i didn't know what facebook was. now that i do know what it is, i have to say it sounds like a huge waste of time. [ laughter ] born in oak park, illinois, she
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never wasted her time. in the 19.40, fresh out of high school, she appeared on nbc's ""the great guildersleeve"." >> merry christmas, mr. guildersleeve. >> i didn't go to college. i just went into show business. i just enjoyed it. >> reporter: she was on television from the very beginnings of tv. in 1952, coproducing her own show "life with elizabeth." >> what's so terrible about spiders? >> tell him, honey. >> they go doing. >> she revealed another talent, singing. ♪ to one who'd watch over me ♪ >> reporter: but she is best known for two signature tv roles, sue ann nevins, the
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home-maker on "the mary tyler moore show." >> surely that isn't how a strawberry swirl supposed to look. ♪ thank you for being a friend ♪ >> reporter: and rose nylund on "the golden girls." >> when i was growing up in minnesota, the doctor made house calls all the time, for us and the livestock. [ laughter ] >> you and the animals had the same doctor? >> sure. worked out fine. until the doctor started drinking and tried to neuter the brothers. >> twice divorced, she found the love of her life in allen lud. >> no, the password tonight is -- >> home. will you take me home please, mr. ludden. >> i certainly will. thank you, good night. >> reporter: they were husband and wife until his death from cancer in 1981. she never remarried. >> as far as a serious relationship, i just couldn't imagine it at this point in my life. >> there you go.
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there you go, sweetheart. >> reporter: during her spare time, betty white was a tireless advocate for the humane treatment of animals, serving with animal-related charities and on the board of the los angeles zoo. >> we're such a throwaway society. we treat even our animals like paper towels, you know, if it doesn't work out, you throw it away. >> reporter: white's own career seemed to have remarkable staying power as a new generation of fans loved her in films like "the proposal." >> let's see if we can find your boobs. they're in there somewhere. >> yes, they are. >> like an easter egg hunt. >> reporter: well into her 80s, white showed no sign of slowing down, with appearances on late-night comedy shows and commercial work. >> you're playing like betty white out there. >> that's not what your girlfriend said. >> reporter: the screen actors guild presented betty white with its lifetime achievement award in 2010. >> this is the highest point of
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my entire professional life. to the screen actors guild, to each and every one of you, thank you from the bottom of my heart. >> thank you for being a friend. ♪ traveled down the road and back again ♪ >> reporter: countless honors, fans, and friends. miguel almaguer, nbc news, los angeles. >> 2021 just keeps getting worse. listen to this. her longtime friend and agent said even though she was about to be 100, i thought she would live forever, he said on friday in a statement about her death. he says i will miss her terribly and so will the animal world she loved so much. i don't think betty ever feared passing because shells wanted to be with her most beloved husband, allen ludden. she believed she would be with him again. littell hope they are reunited today.
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with me now is a tv critic for npr. what can you say about betty white? i mean, she was everything. >> yeah. and what was amazing about her was that she was a star in so many eras of television, from its earliest beginnings all the way through the game show era. she was known as the first lady of game shows and, of course, married one of the best-known game show hosts in allen ludden. and then became the queen of the sitcoms, costarring on "the mary tyler moore show" and having one of her biggest roles on "the golden girls," and then in her later years becoming an elder stateswoman of television and becoming the oldest person to who's "saturday night live" after there was a petition to push the show into bringing her on. and always being a symbol of grace and good nature and -- and
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someone who always indeed on the right sides of issues. she was an animal rights activist and she was pressured to drop a black performer from one of her early shows, she refused. even though it angered some tv stations in the south. so this is someone who always seemed to stand for -- on the right side of history and as someone who was just a really talented and long-lasting tv performer. >> how did she do it? i mean, to have the career that she did in the entertainment industry, which is pretty filling and supertough and certainly for women wasn't easy for so many decades. i mean, how do you not only survive, but thrive in it for as long as she did? not only that, for everybody that came into contact with you to love you? >> well, i mean, seems to me she had this way of making what she did look effortless.
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and she did so many things. as you all pointed out in your obituary for her, she could sing, she was very funny, she could be a game show guest or a great cast member in a sitcom. you know, she had a wide range of talents, but she seemed to do it so effortlessly, so you never felt intimidated by her. you just felt endeared and entertained by her. and i think that was sort of her secret appeal was that she was so good at everything she did, but she did it in such an effortless and such an open-hearted way that you enjoyed it and you weren't intimidated by it or overshadowed by it. >> there was a recent hidden camera practical joke show called "betty white's off their rockers" which featured senior citizens pranking people young enough to be their grandkids, which i just think is a
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hilarious premise. what's going to happen to that big special that was planned for her 100th birthday? >> yeah, we don't know what's going to happen. there was a documentary-style film that was planned to be shown in theaters across the country on january 1st, which would have been her 100th birthday. i hope they go through with it and convert it into a tribute to her. i wouldn't be surprised if that's what they did. but this news is so fresh, that it's hard to know what's going to happen with that project. >> i guess my question is she's on the cover of "people" magazine right now. there were interviews being done with what is her secret to long life and her answer was i've never eaten anything green. this was all just in the past few days. there was also the special, so i wonder, i mean, she was 99, which is obviously quite old, but it does still seem like this came out of nowhere. >> yeah. well, you know, one thing that
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was interesting to me about betty white is that as open hearted as she seemed, she also indeed careful about her personal life. so we don't have a lot of information yet on, you know, what her health status was or what she died from, least coworkers and my sense was that she was aging. there wasn't a lot of information out there about how she was doing or what, you know, sort of health challenges she might have been facing. so that's also something that i think we'll find out more about as the days and weeks progress and we find out more about what her situation was. >> eric, stick with us. i'll bring in liz win stead, cocreator of the daily show. her comedic typing was remarkable. there's an interview she did with david letterman for late night. she asked her how she spent her time and she rambled on about
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animals before ending it with vodka is kind of a hobby. i mean, that's really funny, and that's great timing. >> katy, she was so brilliant. i was born and raised in minnesota, and so to sort of be introduced to betty from being on "the mary tyler moore show," a great thing for us in minneapolis, and then she was from st. olive on the golden girls, and sue ann nivens, that character on mary tyler moore was this incredible sex-positive single woman out doing what she needed to do. and i think betty white just rolled with hilariously stereotypes around women and shattering that. she was somebody who was funny. she never said "no." she was the most relevant human maybe ever. and that is just such an accomplishment to be 99 years old. and when you look at twitter right now, and i apologize my
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phone's been blowing up with every female comedian like what are we going to do? carry on her success. but she just went with it. and i think eric's point was so great. the most beloved people are the people who are so confident in their talent, and she had nothing to prove. she was full of joy and she excelled at everything. she just was hilarious, whether it was a comedy central roast where she was hilariously filthy, where she was on mary tyler moore just being her best self as a single woman in the '70s, to the "golden girls" were the assemble of the women were incredible. she's like an aspiration that it doesn't matter who you are. if you're working in comedy, you point at betty white and you go that is the career i want. please somebody help me achieve that. >> the problem is most of us aren't as charming or as -- i
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don't know. we don't have the same longevity. she was nice without being saccharin. i have literally never heard a person ever in my life, young, old, no matter who they are say a negative thing about betty white. i mean, the news of her passing, it's blowing up our phones. twitter is going nuts. people were screaming at me for not reporting it as quickly as other networks and we were trying to get it confirmed. i mean, the passing of betty white just feels like, liz, just the most horrible-fitting ending to a horrible year. >> it is. and i have to tell you, i'm doing -- every year i do a year in review stand-up show i'm doing tonight. and i was, like, mother of god, are you kidding me? i have to hit the stage tonight and open with your beloved grandmother is dead.
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in fact, if you didn't like betty white, that is the barometer of someone you should run far, far away from. okay, bye-bye, blockers delete, cancel, see ya. >> it's also a great excuse to go back and watch old "golden girls." a friend of mine showed me a great clip the other day that still has me laughing. i'm glad you said mother of god. i thought you were going somewhere else. it is live tv. we're going to talk about this at length, so please don't go anywhere. we'll sneak in a quick break. it's very sad news, but let us celebrate her life. betty white, dead at the age of 99.
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again, still talking about the depressing news that betty white has died at the age of 99. still, let us celebrate her life. she gave us so much, so much. the president, in fact, is speaking about the passing of betty white. that is what a big deal she is. mike memoli joins me now. mike, what does president biden have to say? >> yeah, katy, i think the death of betty white is the last thing i, as a white house correspondent, would get called to the camera to talk about, but a measure of the impact of the life she had. it came from the president of the united states. she and the first lady, just across the street here in wilmington, on the way out he was asked if he had a reaction. he said it was a shame, she was a classy lady, and he quoted his mother, 99 years old, god love her.
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the first lady also chimed in to say, who doesn't love betty white? obviously the impact of her passing being felt here. i should mention, katy, the president also did talk about ukraine, his called with president putin yesterday. he made it clear if he were to invade, that he would face severe economic sanctions and also nato retaliation. also talked about the wildfires in colorado and said he's considering going there and has spoken with the governor there as well. so a quick conversation in what's otherwise been a quiet week, including the death of betty white as well. we still have liz, eric, and -- let's bring in dean. host was the dean obeidallah show. also a comedian. dean, we were talking with liz about betty white's comedic timing. i'm curious. i know there's so many female
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comediennes out there saying she was their north star. she was the person they were trying to be. she inspired so many. >> she did. having liz on, katy, to talk about that was great. i worked at snl not when betty white hosted, but i worked there with tina fey, amy poehler and other great performers. you could see the love by them when betty white came to host in 2010? comedy keeps you young? spirit. i was so much younger. and political news. betty white at 99, i really encourage -- go watch clips when she hosted snl at 88 years old. there's a great sketch with her and tina fey, and living in a house with tina comes to take the census. it was hilarious. she was 88. i challenge anyone to stay up until 1:00 in the morning, to 1:00 in the morning.
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if you're 50 or 60, she was 88. when i worked at "snl," i can assure you, the host, it was late night after late night, not just saturday night. she had the energy to carry a show. tina and aim poehler were part of her 90th celebration for her birthday, commented on how she inspired them, and countless other women, from "the golden girls to "mary tyler moore show." when you look back at her life, she was game for anything. you see her on game shows, having things thrown at her. she didn't care. she cared about the life. she didn't care about a certain image. she was there to bring joy to americans. 99, goes bless you, she lived that long. >> listen, i'm 38. i cannot stay up until 1:00 at any given night. let alone multiple nights. >> it's hard, right.
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>> it might be because i have screaming children. but we're talking about all she gave us, movies, and radio, and one-liners. it's just so heart hard to appointed to one thing. but, dean, the fact that she gave us -- or helped give us tina fey and amy poehler, i mean, forever in her debt. i think "the golden girls" had a big influence of people in comedy. not just women, but a lot of women. she was saying don't give up on your dreams, celebrating her birthday, it was also a little racy. that's what betty white would do. that made it perfect. i know people, look, it's sad, she was going to be 100 in a few weeks, but celebrate this remarkable woman. through generation after generation.
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i was watching the clips online before we came on. the sincerity, what she did in touching them and telling them you can do this, you can achieve this and don't give up on your dreams, there's a funny thing tina celebrating her birthday, was also a little, you know, racy. that's what betty white would do with her comedy. so i hope people will get sad. she was going to be 100 in a few weeks, but celebrate this remarkable woman who gave us so much and we had the privilege of seeing after generation after generation of laughs she gave us, the joy she brought us, and i think the goodwill that was left behind. >> i have people out there saying what about "hot in cleveland"? she was so good in that show. >> absolutely. her co-stars like valerie bertinelli, were part of the 90th birthday celebration as well. s in what's remarkable.
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the betty white was on tv from the beginning of tv. she is literally the first lady of television. she was there making people life right through an verse have i special of her life, which will post date her, sadly, but will remember her. and another generation might get to know her. >> just take this, for instance. this is in a "washington post" article. she was approached by nbc in the early 1960s to be the, quote, new girl, in a program called "today" that was just getting started. but she declined because she didn't want to live in new york city. and she said they had to make do with barbara walters. that's what she told npr. another quick break, but please don't go everywhere. everyone is staying with us. betty white, debt at the age of -- dead at the age of 99. f 99 what if you could see the details of your great-grandparents wedding day... ...or the record that welcomed your great-grandmother
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the 1940s before becoming a pioneer and trailblazing television star, starting in the 1950s. she became the first lady of television, stars in dozens of shows, as well as a frequent panelist on game shows. her most famous role being that of rose nylund on "the golden girls," which aired on nbc from 1985 to 1992. in 2010 she became the oldest person to host "snl" at 88 and also one of the funniest, frankly. she went on to win eight emmy awards, but her talent were limited to the small screen. she a star on big screens as well, with roles in a number of movies, including 2009's "the proposal." she was beloved for her work with animals, spending decades with the los angeles zoo. when president biden learned of her death today, he called her a
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lovely lady and an incredible person. back with us is liz nguyen stead, cocreator of "the daily show." just going through her biography it's hard to overstate all she's accomplished. she was approached to be one of the first hosts of the "today" show. back in the '60s. barbara walters got the job she -- instead. she was one of the first to produce a television show called "life with elizabeth" stars -- starred herself. that was 1954. so a long time ago. she wanted to initially be a forest ranger, but women weren't allowed to be a forest ranger back then. they were allowed to be actors, but in 2010 she was given the honor designation of forest ranger by the u.s. forest service. she had an emotional speech and said her parents would be more proud of this than any other award i have won. almost a "today" show anchor,
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a producer of one of the first female producers of a tv show, comedienne, actress, a host, and now an honorary forest ranger. i mean, that's just incredible. >> so, you know, it's the story of so many women who started their careers early, right? pioneers, wanted to do something that they were prevented from doing, and then honored later. you know, i really want to just talk about -- some friends of mine were texting me, and they were like, tell the story of "password." my group of friends shall a great home padword game going. we had a massive feud about a clue on password whether or not you can use a proper noun. the clue i gave was farrah, and the word was faucet.
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there was a massive feud. so when i was booking "the daily show," betty white was the guest. i said, betty, you have to clear this up because i need to win. can i use a proper noun in password? and she was like, liz, you are the winner. and i was, like, yes! it was so great. it was just the best. i have to say that, as we're talking about all the inspirations for things that betty has done, let us not forget that betty white and "the golden girls" had to be an inspiration for "sex and the city." i don't think we could have had "sex and the city" if we didn't have "the golden girls" first. it was almost like "sex and the city" without -- in reverse. if we were to do the reboot of the reboot, would they all by living in florida together? when i think about everything she's done and the evolution of her work and who she is, let it also be a reminder that we shouldn't be so ageist when we're talking about humor, comedy and who we're celebrating.
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we want a lot of betty whites we are celebrating when they're 99. we don't want to cast people aside. when i think about her being the oldest person to host "snl," it's white-collar why aren't there more older comedians hosting snl? there's plenty of old people to satirize certainly in power, so let's use her life and legacy as an example of how we want to celebrate people who have paved the way, who have remained relevant and interesting. >> it's just a golden girls mom -- moment my friend showed me just a couple days ago that had me and my husband both laughing in hissterics. it's dorothy saying, so you're five years older, so am i, so is blanche. okay, so you're a little thicker around the middle. so is blanche. the comedy, the timing in ha
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-- is that show was amazing. it's 2021 and it holds up. it's so hard to have something still be funny this many years later. >> katy, that is what is so wild. you go back also to everything she's done. you go back to mary tyler moore, and go back to the first thing i did when i heard the news, there was a great episode of when chuckles the clown dies, they're all hugging, walking across the set in a hug, saying i think we all need a kleenex. and it's -- the relevance of how you can make humor, you know. and it speaks to when humor is good and when comedy is good, it holds up -- that's my rescue dog, by the way, as tribute to betty white barking in the background. i'm giving you everything i can. >> as we're talking about "the
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mary tyler moore show," my stage manager, joe, was nodding his head in agreement for that story. i am just so thankful -- i was talking about this with dean obeidallah, for the women she inspired, you being one of them, co-creating one of the greatest shows that's ever been on television, "the daily show." but tina fey and amy poehler, you put them on anything, it could be them reading the phone book and i'd watch it. thank god she was there to be a role model, to inspiring, to lead the way for so many of these women that i count as absolutely essential for my sanity nowadays. >> for sure. you know, i think of sarah silverman and issa rae, and all the folks that have persevered, kathy griffin. she just has a great thread on twitter right now with her experiences with betty white that i encourage everyone to read.
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look at the women who are in comedy now, and i would say take time to look at betty's work, but look at some of the older comics who are out there now, people in their 40s and 50s who have that had certain of knowing betty and a career and just reading their thoughts and their recollections of having betty white as their inspiration. it's really heartfelt. katy, it is so wild to look at how many people are -- it's not just sad. people are overwhelmed with grief, like in a way that is, like, if there was going to be a state funeral, which there should be. i feel like we should just do what they did, you know, with james brown, just tour betty white around every wonderful place, so that people could pay homage to her. can we have her lie in state?
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i don't know the rules of washington, but i feel like she should be lying in state in places so we could just go say goodbye to her. >> i think she's too good for that. don't drag her into politics. >> she is too good for that, katy, you are right. >> let's have her somewhere more appropriate for her amazingness than in state. >> where could she? i can't even imagine a place that deserves her, you know? >> i don't know. a walk of fame doesn't really fit. i'm trying to think. we're going to have to build our own spectacular monument where she can exist in her exceptionalism that's beyond what we currently have. >> that's correct. >> liz, i'm going to ask you to stick around. we do want to sneak in another quick break. stay with us, everyone. we are celebrating the life of betty white, dead today at the age of 99.
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we are celebrating her life here, so let's bring in people's east coast news editor liz mcneil who just wrote this cover story on betty white ahead of her 100th birthday, cover story. oh, the timing. talk to me about what she told you. >> hi. you know, it was just so wonderful that she participated. i think her sense of humor really came through. one thing i noticed is that, you know, the funniest questions were the things she responded to. i asked her, would you ever drink green juice, or something like that, and she said i don't touch anything green. so, you know, it was just wonderful to celebrate her. >> her secret to longevity is not touching anything green. [ laughter ] that and her hobby being vodka, when she told dave letterman a few years ago.
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she was very, very funny. you were celebrating her 100th birthday. she didn't quite make it to her 100th birthday. what are your expectations for the big special that was planned? >> when you say special, what do you mean? >> the movie celebrating betty white turns 100. >> i think that that movie is still going to play on her birthday, as far as i know, and i think it's just -- you just want to celebrate her even more. of course, i'm sad she didn't make it. you know, she was so close. i guess i just love knowing that her sparkling sense of humor was completely intact. >> "people" magazine having her on the cover, shows you what a draw she still was at the age of 99. i mean, this is a woman who captivated the country and the world for almost the entirety of her life and multiple generations.
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>> absolutely. one thing that's so great about writing about her is you hear, well, you know, i used to watch "golden girls" with my grandmother. i would hear from from my younger colleagues. her appeal gave her longevity and that longevity gave her more appeal. you just loved her more and more, as she got older because of her incredible appeal and her longevity. liz, thank you so much for joining us. what timing for a cover. i know now that would be used to celebrate her life, not just her 100th birthday, but for the entirety of her life. let's bring in dean obeidallah again. i have no sway here, but i'm going to petition lorne michaels at "snl" to replay the betty white episode this saturday. it would be good timing. also petition everybody out there who might be in charge of
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a television network that has the ability to air a betty white rerun, maybe a "golden girls" marathon is probably out there every day. when you look back, what is the clip that you want to -- that you're going to turn to first after you get finished talking to me? do we have dean? hello? see, if i was betty white, i would have something to say to that. i don't think we have dean. do we have liz? >> liz is here. >> liz, you would never leave me. okay, so when you get finished talking to me, when i finish holding you captive here, what are you going to turn to? >> i'm going to turn to "the mary tyler moore show." it was just so formative for me growing up in minneapolis,
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having that show happen here, having sue ann nivens be one of the most profoundly seminal characters in formulating who i was as a comedienne, showing that things are possible. also, let's just talk about these shows where "golden girls" and "mary tyler moore show" were shows about women who didn't rely on men. they passed the bechtel test. they were shows that centered around their power and who they were and their comedic timing, their lives, and their lives didn't surround themselves with anything else. sure, sue ann was a hilarious character always looking for some action, but it was always on her terms. and i feel like i was trying to think of things that wouldn't get me censored, so action works
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out there. and the "golden girls" same thing, it was about friendship with women, the bond that women have. i love that so much of her career, when you look at it, is centered around giving women these massive platforms and showcasing our lives and who we were. that's just amazing. so going back and watching "mary tyler moore" and having that newsroom, i encourage you to do that too as someone that works in news, go back and take in that local news flavor and watching all that happened in sue ann's role in that. i think -- oh. i almost can't wait to do it. >> there are almost no television shows that have been able to capture what it's like to work in the news business. that is one of the rare ones. that and maybe "sports night" and just a couple movies that have gone and everlasting is wildly off base. but that one -- that show, "mary
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tyler moore show" was great, and her character was hilarious. we'll have our final thoughts, so don't go anywhere.
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back on the sad news betty white is dead at the age of 99, but we're celebrating her life. back with me is liz win stead of the daily show. i get a few quotes. if no one has no sense of humor, one is in trouble. that's true. get at least eight hours of beauty sleep, none if you're ugly. i have no regrets at all. i'm the luckiest old broad on two feet. what have you not done in the business that you have always wanted do is, robert redford. and on that i agree. i totally agree, especially robert redford, which is showing how much of a news geek i am. gosh, it is so hard to sum her up. it's so hard to encapsulate this incredible life, to celebrate it in such a small medium that we have right now, this cable news show.
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>> i know. but i think the one thing is, i think everybody can go back, embrace her work, embrace the work of the women that inspired her because there's so many great ones. i have my rescue dog now in my shot, but you can't see him. in honor of betty he decided to make an appearance. i think that we just really need to remember that betty white is somebody who is -- we should take life lessons from. her confidence, her talent and her genuine humility is what made her longevity. because she was incredibly talented. she was also incredibly kind and understood in every project she worked on everyone's role in it. you will not talk to a single person, no matter who they were on the set of what she did, that
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didn't appreciate -- feel appreciated because she was in the room. she set the example for a lot of people on how to be in situations. embrace her, embrace her comedy. be like betty is what i'm trying to be. >> when her husband, allen ludden, died, she said she was not going to remarry again because she found already the best. in talking about her passing, her agent told "people," i don't think betty feared passing because she wanted to be with her most beloved husband. allen ludden. she believed she would be with him again. here is hoping to that. liz, thank you so much. >> find old "password" episodes, something that people won't say a lot. he was the host of password. that was her husband. their chemistry, it was fun. i'm going to throw a "password" into the mix as well. >> we saw a short clip in the obituary we aired where she asked him to take her home. it was very charming. very charming.
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liz, thank you. betty white dead at the age of 99. [microwave beeps] [ahh] ♪ ♪ ♪ i'm so defensive, i got bongos thumping in my chest ♪ ♪ and something tells me they don't beat for me ♪ ♪ i love romance, but i got eggshells around me ♪ ♪ don't step on 'em, don't step on 'em ♪ ♪ don't step on 'em, don't step on me ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ he'd better not take the ring from me ♪
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hello and thanks for joining us this hour and nice to have you here. so, one thing that it has going for it is a nice view of the kremlin. this bridge in central moscow, you know, location, location, location. it sits right up against red square across from the kremlin, a few hundred yards to the east and has a great view. in the end it is where they got him. boris mensov, the leading opposition leader in rusch in

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