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Classic version of Betty Cooper
|First appearance||Pep Comics #22 (Dec. 1941)|
|Created by||Bob Montana, John L. Goldwater|
|Portrayed by||Lauren Holly (Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again)
Lili Reinhart (Riverdale)
|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)
|Spouse(s)||Archie Andrews (from #603-605), Dilton Doiley (from #606-present) (husband)|
|Significant other(s)||Archie Andrews,
|Relatives||Chic Cooper (brother), Polly Cooper (sister), Hal Cooper (father), Alice Cooper (mother)|
Elizabeth "Betty" Cooper is one of the main characters appearing in American comic books published by Archie Comics. The character was created by Bob Montana and John L. Goldwater, and first appeared in Pep Comics #22 (cover-dated Dec. 1941), on the first page of the first Archie story, serving as a love interest to Archie Andrews. Betty's infatuation with Archie making her strive for his attention using whatever means possible has been one of the longest running themes in the comics. In 2011, Betty Cooper was ranked 66th in Comics Buyer's Guide's "100 Sexiest Women in Comics" list.
Character and publication history
Betty was named for, and originally based on, Betty Tokar Jankovich, a Czech immigrant who briefly dated Archie creator Bob Montana in 1939 when she was 18. She is portrayed as a nice, beautiful, smart, sweet, tomboyish and funny girl with blonde hair and blue eyes. She was created to serve as a love interest for Archie Andrews.
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 and 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.
During a stay at the Lodge mansion, while the family are in Europe, Betty is waited on hand and foot by the servants and, keeping true to her caring, giving and rather unselfish nature, she feels absolutely guilty about being waited on.
Wanting to do something very special for them in appreciation for the tough jobs that they do (and for what also seems to be a very thankless job in serving someone like Veronica, who tends to be very snobbish towards those who serve her), she throws them a pool party which stuns Mr. and Mrs. Lodge, and aggravates Veronica. In return, Smithers, the butler, and the rest of the staff, who are quite appreciative of what Betty did for them (since they never seem to get any appreciation from Veronica), offer to help Betty with the next party she throws, for free. Mr. Lodge would then lecture Veronica about how servants were people too.
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. Once Betty said that sometimes the way Archie and Reggie fight over her, it sounds like she has the plague. 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. He once accidentally asked her out to a school dance. When he was telling Archie what to do, Betty walked up behind him and thought he was asking her even though he was just demonstrating how to ask Betty to the dance. 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. She once got to be an intern for a fashion magazine but ended up modeling as well. 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.
Life with Archie: The Married Life
Betty appears as a main character in Life with Archie: The Married Life. In Archie Loves Veronica, she runs a catering business while her boyfriend, Reggie Mantle, runs a repair shop. They both star in a reality show based on their lives. In Archie Loves Betty, she is an English teacher at Riverdale High. However, in both universes, Betty previously worked as a buyer for Saks Fifth Avenue in New York.
In other media
- Betty appeared in The Archie Show, a 1968 cartoon series produced by Filmation. She also appeared in the various spin-offs The Archie Comedy Hour, Archie's Funhouse, Archie's TV Funnies, The U.S. of Archie and The New Archie and Sabrina Hour produced in the same format. She was voiced by Jane Webb.
- Betty appeared in The New Archies, a 1987 re-imagining of Archie and the gang. Betty was portrayed as a pre-teen in junior high. She was voiced by Lisa Coristine.
- Betty appeared in Archie's Weird Mysteries voiced by America Young.
- Betty appears in the TV movie Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again portrayed by Lauren Holly, where she 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.
- Betty appears in Riverdale, a drama series for The CW with Lili Reinhart portraying the character. Elizabeth (Betty) is the the girl next door, who is pretty and highly over-achiever. She had a crush on her longtime friend Archie Andrews, he just blossomed into a good looking guy and became buff after spending the summer working in his father's construction company.
- Betty appeared in The Archies in Jugman, voiced by America Young. The film was released direct-to-video and takes place after Archie's Weird Mysteries.
- "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.
- At 94, the Real Betty Doesn’t Regret Dumping a Creator of ‘Archie’, by George Gene Gustines, in the New York Times; published October 1, 2015; retrieved October 8, 2015
-  Archived February 2, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
- Andreeva, Nellie (February 9, 2016). "'Riverdale' Archie Comics CW Pilot Casts Its Betty Cooper & Jughead Jones". Deadline.