Betty White discusses Jeanette and Nelson

As we know, Betty White is an avid fan of Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy. Here’s an excerpt from a 2012 New Zealand interview in which she discusses her film The Lorax:

Q: Do you ever wish you were someone else in Hollywood? You have always been successful, you’ve been working your whole career, but has there been any point where you wished you had the career of someone else?

Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy. I would not be in this business if it weren’t for them. I know people laugh and they like to make fun of it, but I saw Naughty Marietta 48 times, and I didn’t just like Jeanette MacDonald, I was Jeanette MacDonald. I just thought she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life. I did Summer stock [summer theatre festival] one year, many years later, and Jeanette Mac Donald and I we were doing the same play. She closed [the show] on Saturday night, and I was opening the next day, so I was introduced to her and my chin just dropped. I was old enough to know better than to do that, but she said, “Betty, I have so many beautiful flowers in my dressing room, would you take them and would you take care of them? I don’t want them to die.” So the whole week I was there, I was thinking, “These are Jeanette MacDonald’s flowers!” Those flowers never got such good care their entire life! She was so lovely. Meeting Nelson Eddy was just the end of the world, for me.  One day I was over at NBC, and Nelson Eddy was standing down at the other end of the hall, as if he was waiting for someone. I saw him and I turned around and ran. That was as close as I got to him. He had no idea what a deep impact he had on my whole life.

Note: The play referred to above is Jeanette’s 1959 starring in the play Bitter Sweet at the Packard Music Playhouse Hall in Warren, Ohio, for the Kenley Players. Betty White had the subsequent show starring in The King and I.