Putnam Acquires Listen Up! and The Zoo and I: Betty and Her Friends in Highly Competitive Auction

New York, New York, August 18, 2010 … Betty White, the Emmy Award-winning actress, whose singular talents and universal appeal have garnered her millions of fans around the world, will write two books for G. P. Putnam's Sons, it was announced today by Ivan Held, President, G. P. Putnam's Sons. The first book, titled Listen Up!, will draw upon life lessons learned during her incredibly varied, decades-long career in Hollywood, with an emphasis on the extraordinary past 15 years of the star's life. With her unique brand of irreverent wit and wisdom, Ms. White will offer her personal observations on a wide range of topics, including television, aging, life, love, sex, and celebrity, as well as her most recent resurgence, including her headline-making turn as the guest host of "Saturday Night Live." The second book, titled The Zoo and I: Betty and Her Friends, will be filled with stories and photographs capturing the daily life of her animal friends at the zoo. Ms. White is a long-time member of the board of the Los Angeles Zoo, and she has been a passionate supporter of animal health and welfare her entire life.

North American hardcover and paperback rights as well as audio and eBook rights to the two titles were acquired in a highly competitive auction by Marysue Rucci, Vice President, Editorial Director, G. P. Putnam's Sons, from literary agent Loretta A. Barrett, President of Loretta Barrett Books, Inc. Putnam is planning to publish the first book in hardcover in Spring 2011 and the second book in hardcover in 2012. Berkley will publish the paperback editions thereafter.

Mr. Held commented, "Betty White is a national treasure. We are tremendously excited that she will be writing these two books for Putnam. Her wide-ranging appeal and irrepressible humor transcends generations, readers and cultures. She truly is one of a kind."

Ms. White said, "Much as I love what I do for a living in show business, I love writing even more — so I am thrilled to be working on not only one new book but two of them."

Note to the Press:

Betty White's illustrious, award-winning career in television and film spans seven decades.

Nominated for twenty Emmy Awards, she has won six — including her first in 1952 for the comedy series, "Life with Elizabeth," which she produced; two Best Supporting Actress Emmy awards during her tenure as Sue Ann Nivens, the Happy Homemaker, in "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" (1974-5 and 1975-6); a Best Daytime Game Show Host Emmy in 1983 (the first ever awarded to a woman) for "Just Men;" the Best Actress Emmy for her role in "The Golden Girls" in 1985 (she was nominated seven times); and an Emmy for Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series in 1996 for her work on "The John Larroquette Show." She was also nominated for an Emmy for Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series in 1997 for her role in "Suddenly Susan."

In recent years, Ms. White had recurring roles on "That '70s Show," "Boston Legal," and on the daytime drama, "The Bold and the Beautiful." She currently is playing a character in the series "Hot in Cleveland," which earned TV Land its highest ratings in the network's history when it debuted in June 2010.

In February of the same year, Ms. White charmed sports fans with her role as a football player in a top-rated Snickers candy Super Bowl commercial. A subsequent campaign launched by her fans on Facebook led to her hosting "Saturday Night Live" on May 8, 2010, and the episode was one of the highest rated in the show's history.

Ms. White has appeared in several movies made for television: including "Chance of a Lifetime," in which she starred with Leslie Nielsen; "The Retrievers" for Animal Planet; "Stealing Christmas," with Tony Danza, for the Hallmark Channel; and "Annie's Point" with Richard Thomas and Amy Davidson.

Her endeavors on the big screen include, most recently, the 2009 romantic comedy, The Proposal, with Sandra Bullock, and 2003's Bringing Down the House, with Steve Martin. In September 2010, she will appear in Disney's You Again, starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Sigourney Weaver.

Ms. White has frequently appeared on major television talk, variety, game and holiday shows. She hosted "The Betty White Show," a talk/variety show that aired daily on NBC in 1977-78. She was a regular on "The Jack Parr Show" (more than 70 appearances), "The Merv Griffin Show," and "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson," and subbed as guest host of all three shows. She was also a regular with Vicki Lawrence on "Mama's Family" as sister Ellen, a role she created with the rest of the company on "The Carol Burnett Show." She was host of the New Year's Day Tournament of Roses Parade on network television for 20 years and Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade for 10 years.

Ms. White is president of Morris Animal Foundation and has been a Trustee since 1971 and received the American Veterinary Medical Association's Humane Award in 1987. Since 1974 she has served on the Board of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo and was a Zoo Commissioner for 8 years. In February 2006, Ms. White was honored by the City of Los Angeles at the Los Angeles Zoo as "Ambassador to the Animals" for her life-long work for animal welfare — commemorated with a bronze plaque placed next to the Zoo's Gorilla Exhibit. In 2007, she received an honorary doctorate from Western University Veterinary School as "Doctor of Human Veterinary Sciences."

Among Ms. White's many other awards: in 1976, she received the Pacific Pioneers in Broadcasting "Golden Ike" award, and the Genii Award from American Women in Radio and TV. The American Comedy Awards presented her with the Funniest Female Award in 1987, and the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1990. In 1995, she was inducted into the Television Academy's Hall of Fame.

In 2000, she received the American Comedy Award for the Funniest Guest Appearance in a Television Series for "Ally McBeal." The Television Critics Association honored her with the Career Achievement Award in August 2009. The Disney Legends Award was presented to Ms. White in September 2009. She was honored by the Jane Goodall Institute with its Lifetime Achievement Award in October 2009. She received the Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award in January 2010. In April 2010, the American Women in Radio and Television honored her with a Lifetime Achievement Award in Acting.

Ms. White is the author of five previous books: Betty White's Pet Love; Betty White in Person: The Leading Lady; Dinah's Story, co-authored with Tom Sullivan; Here We Go Again: My Life in Television; and Together, co-authored with Tom Sullivan.

She was married for eighteen years to Allen Ludden, host of television's "Password" game show, until his death in 1981. She lives in Brentwood with her golden retriever, Pontiac.


Penguin Group (USA) Inc. is the U.S. member of the internationally renowned Penguin Group. Penguin Group (USA) is one of the leading U.S. adult and children's trade book publishers, owning a wide range of imprints and trademarks, including Viking, G. P. Putnam's Sons, The Penguin Press, Riverhead Books, Dutton, Penguin Books, Berkley Books, Gotham Books, Portfolio, New American Library, Plume, Tarcher, Philomel, Grosset & Dunlap, Puffin, and Frederick Warne, among others. The Penguin Group ( is part of Pearson plc, the international media company.


Marilyn Ducksworth
(212) 366-2564

Dave Zimmer
(212) 366-2687