updated 01/09/2012 AT 8:00 AM ET
•originally published 01/09/2012 AT 10:15 AM ET
Betty White is getting the best of both worlds when it comes to celebrating her 90th birthday – a giant party with all her friends and a nice quiet afternoon at home.
The first part of the festivities happened Sunday in Los Angeles, where NBC taped a TV special, Betty White’s 90th Birthday: A Tribute to America’s Golden Girl, at which friends and colleagues feted White.
But come Jan. 17, her actual birthday, White – a renowned animal lover – plans to kick back with one special friend in particular.
“I’m going to sit back home with my golden retriever Pontiac,” she said at a press conference before Sunday’s taping. “Usually I’ll try to play catch-up with all the things I never will catch up on. I may just do crossword puzzles and indulge myself and have a wonderful time with my dog.”
Sunday’s soiree at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel – the special airs Jan. 16 on NBC – was all the party any girl would need, as stars lined up on the red carpet to talk about White’s professional accomplishments and personal charm.
“She knows when to pick up on something, ad lib what’s happening, but she’s also dedicated to getting the work done. She’s a very serious person,” said Mary Tyler Moore, on whose eponymous ’70s sitcom White was a favorite for many years.
“She’s just got that off-color sense of humor, and she’s just divine. I love her,” added Carol Burnett.
Joel McHale said White is “just so cool and so smart and so lovely and curious, and she’s a great performer, and she’s so funny. It’s just like, you want to be around her, that’s what you want.”
Jennifer Love Hewitt said her love of Betty White borders on the creepy. “When you work with Betty, you feel like you’re a kid who’s won one of those radio contests to get to go meet your favorite person on earth and just be in their presence,” she said. “I just sit there all day and stare at her. Sometimes I’m like, she must really think I’m weird, because I’m still looking at her. She’s the best.”
So, what’s next for Betty? At 90, she shows no signs of slowing down.
“I guess there are Tonys, there are Oscars. I think she has goals to shoot for,” says Ed Asner, a Mary Tyler Moore costar.
But White herself is modest about her future, saying her goal is “just to stay as lucky as I am right now Everybody says, ‘Why don’t you retire? Why don’t you quit?’ Why should I quit when I’m having such a good time? So my New Year’s resolution is to appreciate everything that’s happening to me, and hopefully, hopefully continue to do it.”