Comedy legend, Golden Girl and America’s saucy sweetheart Betty White spent over eight decades in the limelight, leaving an indelible mark on radio, and the small and silver screens alike.

Born in 1922 in small-town Illinois, White embarked on a showbiz career in the early days of radio and TV entertainment, where she quickly established herself as a pioneer of the medium. Her breakthrough came in 1953 with the sitcom Life with Elizabeth, which not only showcased her comedic prowess but also marked her as one of the first women to have creative control behind the camera.

White continued to show off her effervescent humor and endearing presence in the groundbreaking sitcoms The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Golden Girls, where her role as the sweet and naive Rose Nylund earned her a fervent fan base and multiple accolades. With a career resurgence in the digital age – including appearances on Saturday Night Live and a starring role on sitcom Hot in Cleveland – White became a beloved figure among younger generations as well.

Beyond acting, White is also celebrated for her philanthropic endeavors and lifelong advocacy for animal welfare. Working well into her 90s, she passed last year just shy of her 100th birthday, remembered as a trailblazer of the American entertainment industry and enduring emblem of pop culture.

White compiled lessons from her illustrious life and career in the 2011 biographical memoir If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won’t). In honor of its release, she was asked to name her favorite books of all time in an interview with Goodreads. From Wuthering Heights to the iconic Oz series, explore her recommendations below and complement with the reading lists of other legendary actors and comedians.

Betty White’s Reading List

The Oz Series

“I have 43 Oz-related books. The first 14 were written by L. Frank Baum, and next Ruth Plumly Thompson took over, and then John R. Neill—these were known as the ‘famous forty,’ but there were even more. Back when I was a girl we’d go camping in the High Sierras, carrying a bare minimum of supplies because we transported them on muleback. My dad always made room for a couple of Oz books.” -BW

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (also rec’d by Brian Cox, Ernest HemingwayJoan DidionPatti Smith & Stevie Nicks)

“I know it’s obvious, but I’m an incurable romantic, and I love rereading this novel.” -BW

Lost Horizon by James Hilton (also rec’d by Deepak Chopra)

“One of my all-time favorites featuring Shangri-la. Again, you can tell who’s a romantic!” -BW

On the Beach by Nevil Shute

“I loved this book. It was such a page-turner for me, and so imaginative at the time.” -BW

Portrait of Jennie by Robert Nathan

“I’ve read this one about six times. It’s absolutely haunting.” -BW

(via Goodreads; photo by Amanda Edwards)

Looking for an Amazon alternative? Support local, independent booksellers by shopping Betty White’s reading list – and hundreds of other celebrity book recommendations – through Radical Reads’ Bookshop profile.