|First appearance||Pep Comics #22 (December, 1941)|
|Created by||Bob Montana|
|Portrayed by||Lauren Holly (Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again)|
|Voiced by||Rosemary Rice (radio)
Jane Webb (The Archie Show; speaking, The U.S. of Archie)
Toni Wine (The Archie Show; singing)
Lisa Coristine (The New Archies)
Danielle America Young (Archie's Weird Mysteries, The Archies in Jugman)
|Significant other(s)||Archie Andrews,
|Relatives||Chic Cooper (brother), Polly Cooper (sister), Hal Cooper (father), Alice Cooper (mother)|
Elizabeth "Betty" Cooper is a fictional character of Archie Comics, the blonde-haired love interest of Archie Andrews. Betty was created by Bob Montana in December 1941. She first appeared in PEP#22, on the first page of the first Archie Comics story, along with Archie Andrews. Betty was created as a love interest for Archie, but Archie has almost always preferred Veronica Lodge, and uses Betty as a back-up plan. Betty's infatuation with Archie makes her strive for his attention using whatever means possible, and that is one of the running themes in the Archie Comics stories. Betty Cooper was ranked 66th in Comics Buyer's Guide's "100 Sexiest Women in Comics" list.
History and character
Betty is portrayed as a nice, beautiful, smart, sweet, tomboyish and funny girl with blonde hair. Her eyes are typically described as blue, but are only drawn as such in later years and during close-up shots of her face; at all other times, her eyes are simply drawn with black ink.
Betty Cooper is the daughter of Hal Cooper and Alice Cooper. Her older brother Chic Cooper and older sister Polly Cooper have both moved out of Riverdale, their hometown. Chic moved to New York City and Polly to San Francisco, but both occasionally appear in flashbacks to Betty's childhood, and both occasionally visit their family. The quintessential 17-year-old girl next door, Betty's middle class upbringing is a world apart from the flashy lifestyle of her wealthy friend and rival, Veronica Lodge. Nowhere is this more evident than when she and Veronica are competing for Archie Andrews' heart, and yet they remain best friends (Veronica once told Archie that she and Betty are only rivals in unimportant matters, like boys.)
In the late 1960s, the two girls joined Archie's band, a garage band appropriately named The Archies. Both sang (usually backup), and Betty played tambourine, while Veronica played organ. This implies that Veronica is more musically talented, but this is not necessarily true. Some stories indicate that Betty is the better vocalist. Additionally, there is little consistency in the instruments she is able to play. Betty has played the recorder, tambourine, maracas, guitar, banjo, keyboard, saxophone, cello, and the bongos.
Interests and personality
Betty is friends with everybody, and is a loving daughter and sister. She likes to help the homeless, read to the senior citizens, and rescue wounded animals and birds.
Betty's hobbies include sports (including baseball), cooking, and making her own clothing. She loves fashion and driving around the block. Betty has a talent with animals (she owns a cat, Caramel) and often operates small businesses concerning them no matter how troubling they turn out. She is very concerned with the environment and other social issues and encourages the rest of the gang to clean up after themselves. She keeps a small garden in her backyard, to which she tends occasionally. She loves children and sometimes babysits Jellybean with Jughead as well as other children in Riverdale. Occasionally, families hire Betty to keep their elderly members company. Betty is very good at fixing cars, and she frequently helps Archie with his broken down car Betsy. Betty is very good at skiing, car-racing. She is often said to be the best pitcher in the girls' baseball team. Betty is a scuba diver, wearing a red shorty wetsuit, breathing with a scuba tank she carries on her back and a regulator in her mouth, wears red flippers on her feet and a mask on her face, but she swims underwater.
Contrary to the "dumb blonde"-stereotype, Betty actually has an above-average intelligence and is one of the smartest students at Riverdale High School. In one story she won an award and was sent to compete in New York and has won numerous academic awards. At one point, she gained ESP when an encyclopedia accidentally fell on her head. This ability took away all hope for the future; Archie asked her for a date, but she knew that Archie would dump her for Veronica. She lost her ESP power when a ball that Reggie kicked accidentally hit her; in her gratefulness, she gave him a thankful kiss.
Betty's many talents and accomplishments often make her rival Veronica jealous, who then tries to sabotage Betty to steal her glory and make her look bad.
Betty appears in all of the current Riverdale-related titles that are published by Archie Comics. Specifically, Betty stars in Betty, Betty and Veronica, and Betty and Veronica Spectacular.
Betty's best friend is Veronica. Although the two are often involved in disputes over Archie or something else that evokes jealousy, they have remained the best of friends since their childhood. The two have commented that Jughead's and Archie's friendship could not compare to theirs. In many stories, Betty and Veronica team up or help each other despite jealousy and competitiveness. Betty's other female friends include Ethel Muggs, Midge Klump, and Nancy Woods, all of whom share common interests and group activities such as shopping and cheer-leading.
Frequently, Betty has been shown to date Reggie Mantle early on in the titles' runs and occasionally still, more often than not as a casual date when Veronica has Archie take her out. Sometimes, Reggie and Betty are seen to be flirting with each other; when Betty is feeling sad, Reggie always tells her that she has won a date with the most handsome man in the world. Although Reggie does not appear to admit it, he seems to care about Betty, but his self-image sometimes is more important. In the Life with Archie magazines that depict a future timeline in which Archie marries Veronica, Betty and Reggie are portrayed as a loving couple. It has been hinted they may be planning to get married.
Betty's relationship with Jughead Jones has mostly been that of close confidant and close friend, as they normally discuss their issues more candidly with each other than anyone else; Jughead will provide commentary on her feelings for Archie, and Betty will attempt to "better" Jughead, by getting rid of his slothful attitude and laziness. Once when she had a sprained ankle, Veronica told both Archie and Jughead to visit her. The four of them were having dinner together when people from the school mistook Jughead as Betty's boyfriend because he was carrying chocolates to her house. Jughead appears to care more about Betty than other girls and there have been hints of a potential romantic relationship between them. In one story, Jughead even says that if the time ever comes that he would willingly kiss a girl, it would be Betty. A happy tear is seen sliding down Betty's face at this comment.
She had a friendship with an elderly woman named Lydia Wyndham, whom she found when doing research about World War I. With this acquaintance Betty got to know an accomplished writer and poet with a sharp mind (and a sad past—Betty's research had turned up a beau of Ms. Wyndham's who was killed in combat), but after a while Ms. Wyndham herself died.
At times, Betty is seen to have a close friendship with Cheryl Blossom, especially in Cheryl's own title. However, at other times, Betty and Veronica regard the seductive Cheryl as a threat because she tries to lure Archie away from them, and the two best friends unite against Cheryl to protect their interests. Jason Blossom, Cheryl's twin brother, is sometimes seen to have genuine interest towards Betty, which makes Archie jealous.
In the late 90s, Betty started dating Adam Chisholm. It was thought by some people that Betty had chosen Adam over Archie. This event made Archie jealous and he concentrated his attention on Betty, ignoring Veronica, as he always does when he thinks someone else may take Betty away from him. Though in actuality, Adam has rarely been seen in the stories after that story arc, and Betty has continued to prefer Archie.
Betty enjoys writing and keeps a diary that is featured in the series Betty's Diary. She wants to be a famous writer someday, an aspiration that her teacher Ms. Grundy approves of. She submits her work to writing magazines and has been published a number of times. At the same time, she takes various types of employment, including some work as a mechanic, which is also a career that she is interested in.
In some stories she finds employment as an assistant teacher at the local elementary school. In the TV movie Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again, and a comic book based on it, the characters are depicted as adults 15 years after their high school graduation. Betty is shown to be an elementary school teacher and aspiring novelist, engaged to a jerk named Robert, who is jealous of Archie. In the end, she breaks up with Robert, and switches to teaching at Riverdale High.
In the Life with Archie series Archie Marries Veronica, Betty runs a catering business with Reggie Mantle though it is somewhat of a front for a reality show starring both of them; in Archie Marries Betty, she is a teacher at Riverdale High. However, in both universes, Betty was a buyer for Saks Fifth Avenue in New York.
- "Obituary: Rosemary Rice Merrell, 87, started in TV and radio". New Canaan Advertiser. 2012-08-21. Retrieved 2012-08-26.
- Frankenhoff, Brent (2011). Comics Buyer's Guide Presents: 100 Sexiest Women in Comics. Krause Publications. p. 44. ISBN 1-4402-2988-0.
-  Archived February 2, 2009 at the Wayback Machine