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Four years into the show, the writers added Betty White as Sue Ann Nivens to the lineup—the sex-crazed host of The Happy Homemaker show with a sickeningly-sweet personality. Betty says it didn't take any convincing for her to want to join the all-star cast. "Actually, my husband, Allen Ludden, and I sweated the show out from the beginning," Betty says. "We were great and dear personal friends of Mary and Grant at that time, so we went to every show and we sweated out the pilot and we did all that, and we were pulling so hard for her."

The commitment of each cast member is what Betty thinks made the show such a success. Even if an actor wasn't in a scene, Betty says they would stay onset. "They wouldn't go back to their dressing room between scenes," she says. "They'd stand by and listen. 'Why didn't that get a bigger laugh? What went wrong?' They were so into the show and so tuned in."

Betty says Mary was a true leader because of her ability to captivate the audience's attention with ease. "She just was a class act and such a professional," she says.

Now a four-time Emmy winner, Betty went on to star in The Golden Girls and has kept us laughing for more than five decades. Although they live far apart, Betty says she still keeps in touch with the whole gang. "You can't work and live together that much and not become—it's the oldest cliché in the world, but family."
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FROM: The Cast of The Mary Tyler Moore Show Reunite!
Published on May 29, 2008

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