“Well I have been a Smithsonian fan forever. Just the thought of being invited knocked me out,” said White, speaking from her California home one morning. She squeezes in her interviews before her morning call on the set of “Hot in Cleveland.”
She’ll talk some about her career, now reaching seven decades. “Oh my career, everybody has had it up to here with that,” she said. She intends to talk about her passion for animal welfare and her latest book “Betty & Friends: My Life at the Zoo.”
“I wrote the book to try to show the good work zoos do,” said White. “The LA Zoo is like my other home. I worked with them for 50 years.”
In every city she visits, she fits in a visit to the zoo and has the National Zoo on her list. “The zoos do a wonderful job in saving endangered animals and educating the public,” she said.
While she talks, her golden retriever, Pontiac, is watching her. “He was trained as a guide dog for the blind,” said White. He’s named for the Native American chief, she said, adding, “When Pontiac car went out of business, I said ‘no honey, it wasn’t anything you did.’”
Because of White’s popularity and longevity — she said, “I started in television when television wasn’t invented yet” — the Smithsonian Associates booked George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium. Tickets for Associate members go on sale Sunday. The date for general admission tickets will be announced later.