The Bold and the Beautiful honored former cast member Betty White (ex-Ann Douglas) by dedicating its Monday, January 17, episode to the actress, the day that would have been the late star's 100th birthday. And B&B cast members are keeping the celebration of White going by sharing some of their memories of working with the beloved actress during her time as Pam (Alley Mills) and Stephanie's (Susan Flannery) mom.
"These tributes to Betty White, all of them focus on her comedy, which is perfectly appropriate -- [she had] decades and decades of that. But I think it's great to take a look at the drama that she accomplished," shares McCook in a Toronto Sun video in which he, Mills, and Jennifer Gareis (Donna Logan) reminisce about White and her time on the CBS soap opera.
Mills shares that it would have been easy to be intimidated by sharing scenes with such a legend, but rather than experiencing that feeling, she was "blown away" by White's work ethic and natural, charming personality.
"She came in, she wasn't dressed up, she didn't care about what anybody thought about her, but she cared about everybody else," Mills recalls. "She got to know the names of everybody on the crew, she'd be like, 'Hi, how are you doing?' The first time I saw her, she was in the makeup room, and she was chatting with everybody, cracking jokes with everybody."
Mills continues, "She had a lot of pages [to film] that day, so she and I got together to run lines, and she said to me, 'Honey, do me a favor -- memorize my lines, too... so, if I don't remember it, throw it to me so we can keep moving.' [That was] for Susan's sake, since it was really a story about her character, so, I did memorize Betty's lines with her in the room, because I ran lines with her, and then she said to me, 'I'm going to teach you a trick: if you don't like the take, just throw the F-bomb. They can't print it!'"
Gareis recalls that she's pretty sure White was aware of the fact that her presence might make some people feel intimidated, and she did what she could to put everyone at ease.
"I think Betty knew that I was intimidated, so she comes waltzing on the set, just saying her one-liners, joking around, making everybody laugh, and putting everybody at ease," Gareis shares. "She had that talent to just kind of bring herself to your level -- because look at her, she's done everything -- and she'd put you at ease and you're not nervous after that. You're not nervous if you're laughing!"
McCook shares a story about how White put him at ease after she took over his dressing room. "We decided while Betty was there that she could use my dressing room because it's the nicest one, or one of them, and it's very close to the set; you don't have to do a lot of walking -- it's right there," he says. "So, on her first morning, I put my head in, and I said, 'Welcome, Betty. Welcome to the show, good morning.' And she said, 'Oh, John! Thanks for the use of your room.' And then she said, 'You know, we could share, you know..." and she gave me a big wink. And then she gave me a sly wink every day from then on, and I really enjoyed that."
McCook also addresses those "rumors" that he and White were dating. "You would think that any rumor of an on-set romance between Betty and me would have been started by her, but, in fact, I started those rumors," he jokes. "And they still persist!"
In closing, Gareis shares that it's really special to see the tributes to White pouring in from legions of fans around the world.
"Although [her death is] sad, what a celebration to be almost a hundred years old and living a life like she lived," the actress enthuses. "She was just always so positive, and she was an optimist and just so funny, and [she was] able to make every generation laugh. Everybody in the world appreciated Betty White."
What do you think about the memories that John McCook, Alley Mills, and Jennifer Gareis shared about Betty White? What were your favorite moments from White's life and career? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.