Betty White Defends Her Friend Lucille Ball on ‘Super Password’ in 1988: ‘You Don’t Buzz a Legend’

by Josh Lanier
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Betty White wouldn’t stand for it when the producers of Super Password admonished Lucille Ball. The two were playing in a celebrity edition, along with Carol Channing and Dick Martin.

If you’re unfamiliar, Super Password is a fairly common parlor game where one contestant must get their partner to say a word using only a single adjective. All of these words collectively describe something that the teams must try to suss out after each round. But if a person takes too long to think of a word, or their partner gets it wrong, the show hits a buzzer.

Lucille Ball was doing well at first. She and Carol Channing were able to get “frightening” with little issue. But Ball froze on the next word — rigid. She stared at her monitor, trying to work out how to explain this to Channing when the buzzer went off. She’d taken too much time.

Comedy Legend Betty White saw her opportunity to get in a solid joke and help out a dear friend.

“You don’t buzz a legend!” she admonished the producers.

Dick Martin and Lucille Ball both double over laughing, and even host Bert Convy tried to get in on the fun.

“She’s absolutely right,” he said. “George (Choderker, director) how could you buzz Lucy? I mean, are you going to go home and tell your wife tonight, ‘guess what I did, I buzzed Lucy.’ You can’t do that!”

White’s help for her friend ended shortly thereafter, however. Her competitive streak returned, and she guessed the word and solved the puzzle almost immediately after that.

Betty White, Lucille Ball Called Each Other Family

Betty White and Lucille Ball were closer to being sisters than friends. White met Ball while she was shooting a sitcom on the same studio lot as I Love Lucy.

Closer Magazine said the two Hollywood legends found an instant kinship as they were miles ahead of comediennes of the time. For instance, they both owned their own production companies, something that was unheard of at the time for women.

“Their bond was their common accomplishment as businesswomen in a male-dominated industry,” Ann Dusenberry, who appeared on Super Password with Betty and Lucy.

But their 30-year connection went deeper than their shared ambitions.

“Lucy and Betty’s relationship spanned more than just being show business acquaintances,” a pal of the pair tells Closer. “They considered each other family.”

Unfortunately their time was cut short when Ball died in 1989.

“Betty really looked up to Lucy,” another friend said, “and Lucy saw that she and Betty were cut from the same cloth.”

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