Patty Sullivan

  • Location

    Palos Verdes Estates

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  • Special Section

    Women of the South Bay

During a summer spent on Cape Cod more than 50 years ago, Patty Sullivan met actress and comedian Betty White, becoming lifelong friends and family. In her book, Betty White’s Pearls of Wisdom: Life Lessons from a Beloved American Treasure, Patty honors and pays tribute to the woman she considers her most important mentor and surrogate mother. The book was released in 2022 on the first anniversary of Betty’s passing, and it is available online as well as at the Corners of the World shop in Malaga Cove Plaza, where Patty will be featured at a book-signing in late October. 

Tell us about your book.

My husband, Tom, and I have not only been privileged to know Betty White, but to consider her family. She was Gram III to our children, Blythe and Tom. There were so many beautiful and poignant moments we shared, and I never wanted to forget them. A few years ago I began writing them down, creating a journal of memories. As the years passed, the journal became a book of appreciation for her life values that she shared and the lessons she left for my family and me.

A few of her sage words: “You’ve got to taste and savor every minute of life.” “Don’t stand on the sidelines, get involved.” “If you listen to your pets, they will tell you everything.” “When you bring your best, you allow others to bring theirs.” “Be generous. It will always come back to you in spades.”

What was your inspiration for writing the book? 

The astounding wisdom and influence Betty White had on me and my family. She was an American treasure. Whether it was teaching us about the environment, engaging us with animals of all kinds, helping my husband’s career in show business, or simply making us laugh with a sense of humor unlike anyone I’ve ever known, she was one-of-a-kind. 

I don’t know anyone who didn’t love her, but very few people have a sense of the amazing contributions she made and the legacy she left behind—driven by her passion for a better world. Her knowledge and interests made her the greatest possible friend and mentor. There wasn’t a moment when she didn’t appreciate life and the people who shared it with her. The light she brought to the world with her smile, her dimples and her brilliance will forever shine.

Photographed by Lauren Taylor