Believe it or not, Betty White hangs out with gorillas in her spare time. One in particular, an ape name Koko who talks through sign language.
“Oh, Koko is my girl,” the “Hot in Cleveland” actress and author remarks at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on Sunday (April 22). “She’s this enormous girl and she is so beautiful. The lady who raised her…lives with Koko up in Koko’s own house in Northern California. So, I go up and see her once in awhile.”
White continues. “She calls me ‘Lipstick.’ That’s my name. Because not too many people who come to see her wear lipstick.”
The 90-year-old comedian spoke at the festival to discuss her recent book release, “Betty and Friends: My Life at the Zoo,” along with her passion and altruistic endeavors for animals. Quick to the punchline and utterly cool, per usual, White advocated against both breeding animals and keeping exotic pets, recalling a negative childhood memory of owning a duckling she named, “Skippy.”
While the actress wouldn’t specify a preference for any one kind of critter, she did say she embraces, “anything with a leg on each corner. I find them all fascinating. If they have more than four legs, I’m not quite enthusiastic.”
The actress was also asked about the “zoo” that she’s lives in now — Hollywood.
“Oh speaking of zoos…,” the former “Golden Girls” star laughs before disclosing her secret to success. “I think it’s honesty. I’ve been, as I say, 63 years in the business, and a lot of the kids today still relate to me because they grew up, well they know me now, but their parents grew up knowing me, and in many cases, their grandparents grew up knowing me. So I think, it’s the fact of familiarity. ‘Oh yeah, that’s Betty, we know her’…It’s a deep privilege. I never take it for granted.”