In Oak Park, Illinois, Horace L. White and his wife Tess, brought a beautiful little baby girl into their lives in 1922. They named their bundle of joy Betty Marion. The family moved to Los Angeles, California during the Great Depression. Betty attended Horace Mann School in Beverly Hills, and then attended Beverly Hills High School. She graduated in 1939.
Betty found work modeling before her first professional acting job at the Bliss Hayden Little Theater. Her acting career abruptly stopped when World War II broke out. She joined the American Women’s Voluntary Services. She worked on various radio shows before gaining her own radio show called “The Betty White Show”. Betty debuted on television in 1949, with Al Jarvis on his variety show, “Hollywood on Television”. In 1952, White began hosting the show after Jarvis’ departure.
In 1952, White also co-founded Bandy Productions. George Tibbles and Don Fedderson, her associates in the venture, worked with her to create new shows using characters from sketches shown on “Hollywood on Television”. In the television comedy “Life With Elizabeth” White portrayed the title character on the sitcom from 1952 to 1955. White was one of the only women in television with full creative control in front of and behind the camera at the time. “Life With Elizabeth” gave White her first Emmy Award.
In 1954, White briefly hosted her own talk show, “The Betty White Show” on NBC. She also appeared as Vicki Angel on a sitcom called “Date with the Angels” through 1958. Betty also performed in commercials on live television in Los Angeles.
White’s film debut was as Kansas Senator Elizabeth Ames Adams in the 1962 drama “Advise and Consent”
White appeared on a number of late night talk-shows in the 1950s and 1960s. She made many appearances on the game show “Password” as a guest celebrity from 1961 through 1975. She married the host Allen Ludden in 1963. The game shows were popular during that time, and White made frequent appearances on many of them. She became the first woman to win a Daytime Emmy Award in the category of Outstanding Game Show Host for the NBC entry “Just Men”.
In 1973, White made a guest appearance on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”, as a result of the guest appearance; she landed a role as a full time cast member of the show. From this show, White won two back-to-back Emmy Awards for the role.
Betty White was given her own sitcom on CBS in 1977, called “The Betty White Show”. It was cancelled after one season. White was on the “Tonight Show With Johnny Carson” several times, and also guest starred in a number of television movies.
White’s recurring role of Ellen Harper Jackson, on the series “Mama’s Family” lasted three years. White originated this character in a series of sketches on The Carol Burnett Show.
White claimed her second famous role as Rose Nylund on “The Golden Girls”. This series ran from 1985 through 1992. White also won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series for the first season of “The Golden Girls”. In 1992, White, McClanahan, and Getty reprised their roles in the spin-off “The Golden Palace”. Beatrice Arthur had left the show in 1992. The series only lasted one season.
White was originally offered the role of Blanche in “The Golden Girls”, and Rue McClanahan was offered the role of Rose. The creator of the show instructed White to play Rose as someone who is “terminally naïve”. Betty White is the only surviving regular cast member.
After “The Golden Girls” ended, White guest-starred on several television shows. She won an Emmy in 1996 for “Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series” being herself in an episode of “The John Larroquette Show”.
White’s voice has been on several animated shows. In 1999, she had a supporting role in the comedic horror film “Lake Placid” as a seemingly sweet widow with a very foul mouth.
White joined the soap opera “The Bold and the Beautiful” in 2006. She portrayed Ann Douglas. She made 22 appearances as Ann Douglas, the last was 2009.
White had a recurring role in ABC’s “Boston Legal” from 2005 to 2008. She played the gossip-monger Catherine Piper. She originally portrayed this role as a guest star on “The Practice” in 2004.
White has returned to Password many times over the years. She has also appeared on “The Late Show with Craig Ferguson”, and “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” Betty guest starred as the “Witch Lady” on an episode of “My Name is Earl”. White made appearances on various other shows and thrilled audiences nation- wide.
White joined Sandra Bulloock and Ryan Reynolds in the 2009 motion picture “The Proposal”. She also appeared with Abe Vigoda in a Snickers commercial during the 2010 Super Bowl XLIV. The ad won the top spot on the USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter.
“Hot in Cleveland”, released in June 2010, is the next stop for Betty White. She will appear as Elka, the house caretaker on TV Land’s original sitcom.
White is an animal health advocate, and works with a number of animal organizations. Her interest in animal rights and welfare began in the early 1970s, while she was in the syndicated series, The Pet Set, which spotlighted celebrities and their pets.
White has won six Emmy Awards, three American Comedy Awards, and two Viewers For Quality Television Awards. She was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1995, and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6747 Hollywood Boulevard.
Betty Marion White has won numerous awards, great achievements, spectacular reviews, and deserving notoriety. Her brilliant performances through the years have captivated fans from every age. Her bubbly personality has given life to many characters through the film industry for more than 70 years. This Golden Girl is truly one of America’s biggest treasures. Betty White continues to be a wonderful “bundle of joy”