Blogs: Cutting Remarks / Industry / Retail

The Time Betty White Advertised A Jewelry Company


On Dec. 31, just three weeks shy of her 100th birthday, Betty White, famed for her roles in The Golden Girls, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and, most recently, Hot in Cleveland, died.

In 1970, White had two decades as a working television actress under her belt and was a popular game show contestant. That same year, she was by hired Jewelcor Catalog Showrooms to be its spokesperson by its president and CEO, Seymour Holtzman.

“Seymour wanted to get a spokesperson that would reflect well on the company,” his wife, Evelyn, tells JCK. The couple now owns C.D. Peacock, a three-store jeweler based in Chicago.

It was not surprising that White worked well as a spokesperson. What surprised Evelyn was how much she enjoyed White’s company.

“When you’re with someone like that, it’s not supposed to be easy,” Evelyn says. “But it was. It was so much fun.

“She was so beyond lovely,” she continues. “If you have in the dictionary, the words, fabulous, lovely, and beautiful, it would have her picture there. She was charming, she was friendly, she was easy to talk to, the kind of person you’d want as your best friend. We were both animal lovers and she would share pictures of hers, and I’d show pictures of mine.”

It was around this time that White staged the first of several career comebacks. In 1973, the producers of Mary Tyler Moore were looking for a “Betty White type” to play Sue Ann Nivens, the seemingly sweet host of a homemaking show who behind the scenes was nasty and far from wholesome. They ended up casting White herself. She won two Emmys for the role.

But White was nothing like her MTM character, Evelyn says: “She could only say some of the things she did [as Sue Ann], because she was so likable.” And despite the sometimes-cutting character she played, she was adored by Jewelcor customers.

Even after she stopped being a spokesperson for their company, she kept in touch with the Holtzmans, at one point sending them a handwritten note about a piece of Steuben glass she was sent.

White later won new fans with roles in The Golden Girls and Hot in Cleveland. In 2010, a Facebook petition urging Saturday Night Live to have her host the show garnered 1 million signatures. She hosted and won another Emmy for her performance.

But Evelyn believes it was White’s innate decency that made her so popular—and so widely mourned.

“The way she came across was the way she was,” she says. “There were no scandals about her. There was never any kind of bad publicity. To have that kind of life in Hollywood is a miracle. We were proud to have her as our spokesperson.”

Fans have issued the Betty White Challenge, which asks people to donate to their local animal shelters in honor of what would have been her 100th birthday on Jan. 17.

Top: A vintage shot of Betty White and Evelyn Holtzman (photo courtesy of Jewelcor)

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By: Rob Bates

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