As The Mary Tyler Moore Show's Sue Ann Nivens, aka "The Happy Homemaker," Betty White once joked, “When I die, I want to be cremated and have my ashes thrown on Robert Redford." In real life, Betty’s wish for her 96th birthday present on Wednesday, January 17, isn’t all that different. “Robert Redford,” she recently quipped. “But it never works. I try every year.”
But seriously, as the beloved sitcom icon celebrates her big day, Betty would rather have fans donate to one of her favorite animal charities such as the Los Angeles Zoo than shower her with gifts. She’ll have a small celebration with friends at a local restaurant such as the Pacific Dining Car in Santa Monica, California, and the menu will likely include hamburgers and hot dogs. “We tease her that she has the diet of a 15-year-old boy,” a friend exclusively told Closer Weekly. “She figures she’s made it this far in her life eating whatever she likes, so there’s no reason to stop now.”
On her birthday, Betty expects to hear from such celebrity pals such as her Mary Tyler Moore co-stars Ed Asner and Valerie Harper as well as the cast of her most recent sitcom, Hot in Cleveland. And she’ll have a special celebration with her longtime friend and Carmel, California neighbor, Doris Day, a fellow animal advocate who turns 96 herself on Tuesday, April 3. Shared an insider, “They’ve made plans to have lunch at Doris’ home in early February and celebrate their birthdays together.”
Despite her age, Betty has no plans to retire from acting. Noted the insider, “She still has an actress’ heart and an artist’s soul.” As Betty, herself has said, “I just love to work, so I’ll keep working until they stop asking.” And how does she want to be remembered by fans? “Warmly,” she shared. “I hope they remember a laugh.”
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Closer Weekly.