APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – A documentary celebrating the life of Betty White comes out Monday, Jan. 17, and the producer who made it is an Appleton native. The name of the documentary is ‘Betty White: A Celebration.’
When it came time to make a documentary celebrating what would have been White’s 100th birthday, there was only one production team she wanted to work with.
“We felt like we were in a seat of privilege and humbled to be the ones to tell her story about her life,” says Steve Boettcher who produced ‘Betty White: A Celebration.’ “She always made the joke that Steve had been embedded with me for the last ten years and she would always wink.”
“(I’m) very proud (of him) and very thankful,” says his mother Shirley Boettcher.
Steve Boettcher grew up in Appleton. He says his father and a next-door neighbor were magicians and that helped him become interested in entertainment at a young age. He studied radio, television, and film at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
He spent time as a photographer for local news stations in Green Bay and Milwaukee and now is the owner of Boettcher Media Group.
“It’s very stressful being the person responsible for telling her life story, I feel like I have to leave the country if this goes, poorly,” says Boettcher.
The documentary is a celebration of her life and looks at every chapter of her life from her earliest days in television, to ‘Golden Girls’, to her appearance on Saturday Night Live. Boettcher says White hand-picked the people she wanted to be interviewed for the documentary.
Boettcher had met White about 15 years prior to her death and had featured her on a PBS documentary series called ‘Pioneers of Television.’
“There’s something magical about Betty when you meet her and you know her,” says Boettcher.
White passed away on New Year’s Eve, just a couple of weeks before the movie was supposed to premiere on Jan. 17. Boettcher and his crew had to stick to that deadline because that is the date of what would have been her 100th birthday.
So, they quickly re-edited the film to reflect the fact that she had recently passed away. Boettcher says White’s team insisted that they still go ahead with the documentary even after she passed away because they believe that is what Betty would have wanted.
Boettcher said White hoped that the documentary would be able to bring people together.
On Monday, Jan. 17, the documentary will be released in 1500 theaters around the country. Steve’s mom Shirley says her son usually gets her a copy of the film to watch at home. As far as what she is most looking forward to in her son’s new documentary.
“I like the humor of it, the silliness, and the funny parts of Betty White,” says Shirley.
If you’re interested in watching the documentary go on fathomevents.com, click on the button on the home page that says ‘buy tickets’ under Betty White’s picture, and you can search to see if the documentary is being shown in a city near you.