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Emmy Awards 2018: why everyone’s talking about Betty White’s speech

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Kayleigh Dray
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Emmy Awards 2018: why everyone’s talking about Betty White’s speech

The Golden Girls star isn’t called the First Lady of Television for nothing…

Betty White – who has had the longest career of any actor or actress in television history – received a standing ovation when she was honoured at the 2018 Emmys.

The Golden Girls actress was introduced by Alec Baldwin and Kate McKinnon as “the greatest of all time”, with the latter quipping: “There are very few people who were around then that are still working in television today, and we are lucky to be joined by one of them tonight.”

McKinnon added that White has won eight Emmy awards and been nominated a whopping 24 times. However, “at 96-years-old she still thinks about those Emmys she didn’t win. And she’s still bitter.”

The joke clearly delighted White, who couldn’t stop grinning as she stepped up to the podium. Cue her delivering a speech that melted hearts all around the world. However, touching upon career longevity and reputation, White wasn’t just adorable: she also left people – particularly women – feeling inspired about their futures.

Read her speech in full below: 

“Oh, my goodness. Oh, my goodness. Thank you. I’m just going to quit while I’m ahead! Oh, my goodness, goodness, goodness. This is very exciting. I thought the biggest, most exciting night I had ever had, I’m talking to [producer] Lorne Michaels now, was the night that he gave me an honour. But boy, you topped yourself tonight, Lorne.

[White pauses to let Alec Baldwin kiss her hand]. You think I’m going to miss a chance when I get it?

Somebody said something the other day about ‘First Lady of Television.’ And I took it as a big compliment. And then I heard her talking to her daughter a little later, she said, ‘First lady, yes, she’s that old, she was the first one, way, way back.’ But little did I dream then that I would be here. It’s incredible that I’m still in this business, that I’m still – and you are still putting up with me.

No, I’m thanking you. It’s incredible that you can stay in a career this long and still have people put up with you. I wish they did that at home. I want to thank Lorne Michaels for doing not only this tonight, but all the wonderful things he’s done with me – no, for me. And all I can say is, it’s such a blessed business to be in, and how lucky can I be, and how much I say, thank you to each and every one of you. Thank you so much.”

Image: Getty

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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