Today we look back at the career of one of television’s most prolific star
Iconic TV star Betty White of the popular 1980’s sitcom “The Golden Girls” turns 99 Today
Born January 17, 1922, in Oak Park, Illinois, Betty White has been in show business since the 1950s. In these 70-odd years, White has appeared in sitcoms, on game shows, and, on “Saturday Night Live” as the host, after a Facebook-fueled effort to get her to host the show. She grew up as the only child of Horace and Tess White, an electrical engineer, and a homemaker. When she was 2, she moved to Los Angeles with her family. She got her start working as an assistant at a local television station. In the early 1950s, she launched her first television series, “Life with Elizabeth”, which she developed with George Tibbles. White’s career received an enormous boost from her next big television series, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”. Playing Sue Ann Nivens, White showed audiences that behind her sweet smile lay a sharp wit. White played the sweet and naive Rose Nylund on the popular 1980s sitcom “The Golden Girls”, along with co-stars Rue McClanahan, Bea Arthur and Estelle Getty. The show looked at the lives of four, elderly, female friends, and its success proved that there was an audience for programs featuring older characters. The series landed among the top-ranked shows during its seven seasons on the air, and it won numerous awards, including an Emmy Award for White. After “The Golden Girls” went off the air in 1992, White appeared in the short-lived spin-off, “Golden Palace”. But she had better luck as a guest star, appearing on numerous television series. She even played herself on “The John Larroquette Show” in 1996, which earned her another Emmy Award-win. She also had a supporting role in 2009’s romantic comedy “The Proposal”, starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds. While she worked steadily over the years, White’s career caught fire again in 2010. She appeared in a humorous candy bar advertisement during that year’s Super Bowl, which quickly became an audience favorite. Thanks largely to a Facebook campaign, White became the oldest person to host “Saturday Night Live”. Also in 2010, White returned to series television with a role on the sitcom “Hot in Cleveland”, alongside stars Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves and Wendie Malick. On June 14, 1963, White married television host and personality Allen Ludden, whom she had met on his game show “Password” as a celebrity guest in 1961. The couple was married from 1963 until Ludden’s death in 1981. White said that her third husband, Ludden, was the love of her life.
By Ken Warren, 2018
Watch Betty White’s best and funniest moments as Rose on the hit 80’s TV show “The Golden Girls”
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