BEVERLY HILLS —When actress Betty White joined “The Bold and the Beautiful” a few years ago, everyone was excited about the potential for storylines on the hit show. Betty played the mother of Queen Stephanie Forrester, the toughest and most powerful woman in all of the Los Angeles fashion world. In fact, many could argue that Stephanie was by far the toughest woman on the planet. After facing a number of strokes both real and fictitious depending on when she wanted Brooke Logan out of her family, a string of infidelities by a philandering husband who couldn’t keep his lies straight or the younger son Thorne shooting older brother Ridge in the head over the beautiful Century City socialite Caroline Spencer. Fans knew that seeing Stephanie both homeless and in control she had to have some heavy baggage in her past to make her such a formidable character on CBS’s most successful daytime drama under the helm of mega producer Bradley P. Bell.
In came Betty White as Ann Douglas, a cruel, cold and calculating mother who didn’t mind protecting her younger daughter Pam and didn’t seem concerned that older sibling Stephanie was being beaten into a bloody pulp by her father, Ann’s husband John, very often in the girl’s childhood. When Eric and Stephanie went to Chicago to confront Mrs. Douglas about her apathetic behavior while her teenage daughter Stephanie was being abused, we saw a side of Ms. White’s acting that no one had quite seen before or even knew existed. The writing was exceptional, the acting was equally as mesmerizing.
Fast forward a couple years into 2009, Ann and Stephanie are at least tolerating infrequent visits with each other. Stephanie’s younger sibling Pamela has moved on from protecting mother Ann to protecting sister Stephanie against the latest slut, Donna Logan, who showed up in Eric’s life as his new mistress and soon Pam and her huge Doberman Pinscher named Tiny were frightening Donna and the viewers half to death. Fans of the most watched television show on the planet knew that Pamela had inherited less of John’s strength like Stephanie had, and that she’d inherited the almost demonic grip on power that mother Ann seemed to embody. Also one of Stephanie’s greatest attributes as well.
Ann returned at the end of last year to tell her feuding daughters that she was on her way to heaven. Heaven, you ask? Yes, Ann was suffering from stage four pancreatic cancer and the painful ailment seemed to give Betty White some of the best scenes any actress has ever had the opportunity to portray. Bradley Bell wrote the series of episodes which featured only the women of “B&B” brilliantly. White played the dying Ann with such amazing depth that I found myself clutching my side when she cried out in pain. Her one wish was that she not die in a hospital. After one pancreatic attack alone with daughter Pam was so frightening for Pamela, she called 911 and had her mother put in the hospital.
Soon after Stephanie arrived and the fireworks began. Stephanie accused sister Pam of not respecting their mother’s final wishes. All in all, there were two days of brilliant acting, incredible writing and directing as well as producing, which culminated into one of the most moving scenes ever produced in Hollywood. Not since Gene Tierney’s 20th Century Fox melodrama in 1947, “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” had there been such a poignant and moving ending to a death ever shown to the public. When Ann passed on and her grieving daughters held her body on the beach, while her spirit moved on down the beach in Malibu, tears streamed down the eyes of every “B&B” viewer.
Ms. White cannot be denied an Emmy for one of the best performances in her distinguished career. The 88-year-old actress trusted the writing of Bell and it surely paid off. Ms. White is a candidate for Best Supporting Actor in a Daytime Drama. She has my vote and hopefully many others in her quest for the gold.