Beloved actress, comedian and TV and radio pioneer, Betty White, has died, just weeks before a milestone birthday. She was 99. White had the longest-running career for any woman in TV prior to her death. The cause of death, according to TMZ, which broke the story, was natural.
Born in Oak Park, Illinois in 1922, White’s family would move a year later to Alhambra, California and later to Los Angeles during the Great Depression. White was eight years old when she made her radio programming debut in 1930.
Several years later, she began working as a radio personality in Los Angeles under the guidance of disc jockey Al Jarvis. After making the transition to television, White would earn the name, “The First Lady of Game Shows,” as she became a staple panelist of American game shows, including Password, Match Game, Tattletales, To Tell the Truth, The Hollywood Squares, and The $25,000 Pyramid.
It’s on Password, White would meet her husband, Allen Ludden. The two were married in 1963. Her legal name was changed to Betty White Ludden.He proposed to White at least twice before she accepted.
The couple appeared together in an episode of the ABC 1970s series, The Odd Couple featuring Felix’s and Oscar’s appearance on Password.
In 1973, White became one of the main supporting of the ground-breaking Mary Tyler Moore Show in which she played Sue Ann Nivens, the blunt, man-lusting star of the WJM-TV show The Happy Homemaker. White would win two Emmys for outstanding continuing performance by a supporting actress in a comedy series after joining the series in its fourth season.
After White’s breakout role on Mary Tyler Moore, she got her starring role in The Betty White Show. She co-starred with John Hillerman and former Mary Tyler Moore co-star Georgia Engel, but it was canceled in 1978, after only one season.
As host of the game show, Just Men!, White became the first woman to receive the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host.
In 1985, White scored her second signature role and the biggest hit of her career as the St. Olaf, Minnesota native Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls. The series chronicled the lives of four widowed or divorced women in their “golden years” who shared a home in Miami. The Golden Girls, which also starred Bea Arthur, Estelle Getty, and Rue McClanahan, was immensely successful and ran from 1985 through 1992. White won one Emmy Award, for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series.
With 115 acting credits to her name, White had roles in Life with Elizabeth, Date with the Angels, The Love Boat, Mama’s Family, The Golden Palace, Ladies Man, That ’70s Show, Higglytown Heroes, Boston Legal, The Bold and the Beautiful, Pound Puppies, Hot in Cleveland, and many, many, many other shows and films. White would also star in the movie The Proposal with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds.
In 2010, White would have a comedic impact during Super Bowl XLIV, appearing in a Snickers commercial:
The news has spread quickly throughout the world and White’s peers have already began tweeting their condolences:
Even the U.S. Army tweeted their condolences.
White was listerally just featured in People Magazine and it was announced that White’s 100th birthday would be celebrated on January 17, 2022, at theatres across the United States with the showing of a new documentary-style movie celebrating White’s life and career titled; Betty White: 100 Years Young – A Birthday Celebration.
During her career, she won 5 Primetime Emmy Awards — including 2 for Mary Tyler Moore, 1 for Golden Girls and 1 for her 1975 SNL appearance — along with Screen Actors Guild Awards, American Comedy Awards and even a 2012 Grammy.
We leave you with this quote from Betty that sums up her attitude about her delightful life, “Why do people say “grow some balls”? Balls are weak and sensitive. If you wanna be tough, grow a vagina. Those things can take a pounding.”