‘That 70s Show’ Star Kurtwood Smith Pays Tribute to On-Screen In-Law Betty White

by Suzanne Halliburton

Betty White was known most for the Golden Girls and Mary Tyler Moore Show. But she also blessed That 70s Show with her immense comedic talent.

That’s why Kurtwood Smith paid tribute to White, America’s Golden Girl, who died New Year’s Eve. She was 18 days short of her 100th birthday.

Smith, who played Red Forman, Eric’s dad, on That 70s Show, posted a snap of Betty White alongside Smith’s TV wife, Kitty, played by Debra Jo Rupp. The late Tom Poston, a prolific sitcom actor who co-starred in Newhart, played Red’s father-in-law. Family is family, whether you’re blood-related or co-workers. Betty White touched a ton of lives.

“It’s a sad end to the year,” said That 70s Show star. “Losing such a wonderful comedic genius. More than that, Betty White was a wonderful person! It was a treat to know her and a privilege to work with her.”

Betty White Liked to Nag on That 70s Show

Let’s drift back to 2003 for some of White’s work on That 70s Show. She portrayed Bea Sigurdson, wife to Burt and mother of Kitty. So that made her Red’s mother-in-law. And lots of folks, especially someone like Red, like to complain about their in-laws.

Bea Sigurdson had a nasty streak to her. She looked like a sweet grandmother type. Then she opened her mouth. Let’s just say Bea liked to nag and criticize.

Maybe you don’t remember White on That 70s Show. But she was part of the cast in season five. And she became a widow in one episode called Your Time is Gonna Come. The episode first ran Jan. 29, 2003.

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Here’s the plot summary from the IMDB entry for That 70s Show:

“Annette, Kelso’s girlfriend from his and Donna’s California exile, comes to visit Michael Kelso but stays with Donna, who insists Jackie must join them. Jealous Jackie hates Annette like bubonic plague, but seems to warm to her, until… Kitty’s parents turn up unannounced from Arizona. Burt has lost all their money on an ostrich farm which got wiped out by coyotes, then has a fatal heart-attack while sneakily watching the girls’ slumber party, like the boys before him. Grandmother as merry widow is a grim prospects for the Formans.”

This episode was named for a Led Zeppelin song.

A reboot of That 70s Show is in the works. The name will be That 90s Show and it will have at least a 10-episode run. This reboot will start in 1995. Smith and Rupp will both be part of the revival. But the show, like the original, will be about the teenagers. Leia Forman, daughter of Eric, moves in with her grandparents in their house in Point Place, Wisconsin.