Saturday, July 9, 2011

RIP Betty Ford

I'd just blogged about Betty Ford; today I read she's died at 93.

A former Martha Graham dancer, Ford had back problems and got hooked on the painkillers she took, along with alcohol. Though she is known for her drug abuse treatment center, she had a sensible outlook on marijuana.

Asked by Morley Safer as first lady what she thought about her children possibly using marijuana, Betty replied, "I think if I were their age I probably would have been interested to see the effect." She compared the use of marijuana at the time to her generation's consumption of beer.

(Source: Betty Ford, The Times of My Life, 1987)

UPDATE: AP's adieu to Betty by Connie Cass and Linda Deutsch has a beautiful lead:

Betty Ford said things that first ladies just don't say, even today. And 1970s America loved her for it. According to Mrs. Ford, her young adult children probably had smoked marijuana - and if she were their age, she'd try it, too....She mused that living together before marriage might be wise, thought women should be drafted into the military if men were, and spoke up unapologetically for abortion rights, taking a position contrary to the president's. 'Having babies is a blessing, not a duty," Mrs. Ford said.'

By contrast, CNN's David Frum wrote a nasty column about her and the "Me" generation (which was a whole lot better than the "Greed" one that followed).

UPDATE 2022: Michelle Pfeiffer played Ford in "The First Lady" on Showtime. 

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