From PEOPLE Magazine Click to enlarge
1 SHE CAN'T KEEP A STRAIGHT FACE

Back when they were filming The Golden Girls, costars Estelle Getty, Bea Arthur and Rue McClanahan waited for her inevitable giggles. "I'm a pigeon for breakups; it doesn't take much," says White, now 88. "But Bea was the biggest breakup artist. If something tickled her, she was gone. One day it got so bad, we had to go home and come back the next day."

2 SHE HATES SAYING GOODBYE

The Mary Tyler Moore Show finale in 1977 (with Gavin MacLeod, Ed Asner, Georgia Engel, Ted Knight and Moore) "was a tough one. We coudn't do that last scene until we actually filmed it—and then the waterworks turned on." She and Moore still "are good buddies. How can we not be? You can't work that closely together and not be a family. Same with The Golden Girls."

3 SHE'S A BIG ANIMAL LOVER

"Animals make so much more sense to me than people half the time," says White (with orangutan Gail ca. 1970), whose love for animals began "in the womb." Why? "I just find them eternally fascinating. My favorite animal is anything with a leg on each corner. When they have more than four legs, I have a few reservations." Adds White, "My life is half animals and half show-business, the two things I love most. You can't ask for better than that."

4 SHE'S A ROMANTIC

After two short-lived marriages, White found happiness with Password host Allen Ludden, who died in 1981 after 18 years of marriage. "He was the most genuine man I've ever known," says White, who's never remarried. "I first fell in love with his enthusiasm. He was interested in everything."

5 SHE WAS A MODEL!

She was only in her 20s and quips, "I recognize the scarf but not me. They did a lot of retouching." Modeling wasn't her dream: "My first ambition was to be a forest ranger, but back in those days girls weren't allowed to be forest rangers."

6 SHE'D RATHER DO TV THAN MOVIES

She loved acting in The Proposal with Sandra Bullock ("She's a dynamite lady and very bright!"), but White prefers working on the small screen. "I love television because you do it, go home and move on. With films, you go over it so many times, you beat the whole joke to death."