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Betty White Love-In Phenomenon All Over Show Business World

hollywoodexclusive1TV Land is getting absolutely swamped with interview requests for their hottest It Girl ever — 88-year-old Betty White, who has "Hot in Cleveland" coming up on the channel in June.

That, of course, is just the latest example of White's fresh wave of popularity, a love-in that includes the successful grassroots viewer campaign to get her on "Saturday Night Live" as a guest host (it'll be May 8, mark your calendar), her appearance as the special guest of Elton John's Oscar night party, her Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award and her hit Snickers Super Bowl commercial.

What a phenomenon! But then, Betty love has been building up for a long time in this town.

Sigourney Weaver tells us she had a wonderful time working with White in the forthcoming Disney comedy "You Again." "I just idolize her. She is so sharp and fun and gracious, and she's had such a great career. That's what actors want — to be working on one project after another and sort of mixing it up."

That film, also starring Kristen Bell and Jamie Lee Curtis, is due to open in September.

And then there are all the many animal lovers in Hollywood who revere White for her decades of devoted service to all creatures great and small. Guitar legend Slash buddied with White over their respective interests in the Greater Los Angeles Zoo, where she is a trustee, and he's been involved since donating much of his snake collection. Although Slash and White might seem like strange bedfellows, he insisted it's not so. "If the ages were closer, it wouldn't have seemed that strange. Betty and I could tear it up," he let us know.

Sandra Bullock is also among the stars who adore White, and it's mutual. "We're good friends, and we're going to stay good friends," as White herself put it. Her first day on the set of Bullock's "The Proposal," she recounted to us, "There was a knock on my trailer door, and it's Sandra — not sending someone over, but Sandra herself — with flowers and a dog book and a little rug with a dog on it. ' I wanted to make your trailer more like home,' she said. Isn't that something?'" The two also bonded over step-parenting, as White helped raise her late husband, Allen Ludden's, son and two daughters, and Bullock's been an active step-mom to Jesse James' children.

It's been reported that White's spitting mad at James over the current scandal of his affair with Michelle McGee. You know things can't get much worse if Betty White is against you.

POWER LAUNCH: Nickelodeon must have high hopes for Victoria Justice's "Victorious" series — granting the show a premiere in the very choice timeslot following the "Kids' Choice Awards" this Saturday (3/27). The former "Zoey 101" actress plays an aspiring singer who goes to a performing arts school, but unlike other shows of that nature, she says they're not promoting fame and fortune. "It's not about being a celebrity. It's more about inspiring people to follow their dreams," she tells us. "If you love something, discover that more and become better at it, and just have fun doing it. It's about overcoming your fears, too. If there's something you're afraid to do, then do it in front of people and face that fear. It will help you get over that and really make something of yourself."

In fact, Justice believes there's something for everyone in her show. "It deals with a lot of teenage issues, but it's not just a kids' show. My character in particular is a really relatable girl. She's not trying to be some superstar, and what's nice is that Nickelodeon doesn't restrict me from being me. I don't feel like I have to change my personality to be on this show," says Justice, who even gets to help come up with content from time to time. "I'm only 17 years old so some people might be like, 'Oh, she doesn't know what she's talking about,' but the writers will listen to what I have to say. Sometimes, they'll use my stuff, and other times, they're like, 'Yeah, you shouldn't be a writer.' I'm like, 'Yes, I understand,'" she adds with a laugh.

IT'S A QUARTER CENTURY THING: Singer Omarion, who is also busy judging "America's Best Dance Crew," tells us he's hoping to follow in the footsteps of some of music's greats, and he thinks this could be his year. "I really do feel like 25 is an age where a lot of people that I look up to really broke out. Michael Jackson was 25 when he did 'Thriller.' I believe Justin (Timberlake) came out with his first solo album when he was 25," notes Omarion, who recently released his third album, "Ollusion." "I feel like this album definitely shows how much I've grown as an artist. I'm giving myself time to grow even more, though, not only through my music and my album, but also through these different opportunities that I'm honored to have."

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster

To find out more about Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith and read their past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2010 MARILYN BECK AND STACY JENEL SMITH

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1 Responses »

  1. ...of course, Michael Jackson was 13 when he recorded his first solo album!