Betty White

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Betty White
Betty White 2010.jpg
White at the Time 100 gala in 2010
BornBetty Marion White
(1922-01-17) January 17, 1922 (age 92)
Oak Park, Illinois, USA
Other namesGerrie, Betty White Ludden[1]
EducationHorace Mann School
Alma materBeverly Hills High School
OccupationActress, comedienne, writer
Years active1939–present
Home townBeverly Hills, California
TelevisionLife with Elizabeth
Date with the Angels
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
The Betty White Show
The Golden Girls
The Golden Palace
Boston Legal
Hot in Cleveland
Betty White's Off Their Rockers (host)
Spouse(s)Dick Barker (m. 1945; div. 1945)
Lane Allen (m. 1947; div. 1949)
Allen Ludden (m. 1963; his death 1981)
Awards
Emmy Awards
Outstanding Game Show Host
1983 Just Men!
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
1975 The Mary Tyler Moore Show
1976 The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
1986 The Golden Girls
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
1996 The John Larroquette Show
2010 Saturday Night Live
BAFTA Awards
Britannia Award
2010 Excellence in Comedy
Grammy Awards
Best Spoken Word Album
2012 If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won't)
American Comedy Awards
Funniest Female Performer in a TV Series (Leading Role) Network, Cable or Syndication
1987 The Golden Girls
Lifetime Achievement Award in Comedy
1990
Funniest Female Guest Appearance in a TV Series
2000 Ally McBeal
Screen Actors Guild Awards
Life Achievement Award
2009
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
2011 Hot in Cleveland
2012 Hot in Cleveland
 
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Betty White
Betty White 2010.jpg
White at the Time 100 gala in 2010
BornBetty Marion White
(1922-01-17) January 17, 1922 (age 92)
Oak Park, Illinois, USA
Other namesGerrie, Betty White Ludden[1]
EducationHorace Mann School
Alma materBeverly Hills High School
OccupationActress, comedienne, writer
Years active1939–present
Home townBeverly Hills, California
TelevisionLife with Elizabeth
Date with the Angels
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
The Betty White Show
The Golden Girls
The Golden Palace
Boston Legal
Hot in Cleveland
Betty White's Off Their Rockers (host)
Spouse(s)Dick Barker (m. 1945; div. 1945)
Lane Allen (m. 1947; div. 1949)
Allen Ludden (m. 1963; his death 1981)
Awards
Emmy Awards
Outstanding Game Show Host
1983 Just Men!
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
1975 The Mary Tyler Moore Show
1976 The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
1986 The Golden Girls
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
1996 The John Larroquette Show
2010 Saturday Night Live
BAFTA Awards
Britannia Award
2010 Excellence in Comedy
Grammy Awards
Best Spoken Word Album
2012 If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won't)
American Comedy Awards
Funniest Female Performer in a TV Series (Leading Role) Network, Cable or Syndication
1987 The Golden Girls
Lifetime Achievement Award in Comedy
1990
Funniest Female Guest Appearance in a TV Series
2000 Ally McBeal
Screen Actors Guild Awards
Life Achievement Award
2009
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
2011 Hot in Cleveland
2012 Hot in Cleveland

Betty Marion White (born January 17, 1922) is an American actress, comedienne, presenter, singer, author, and television personality. In 2013, the Guinness World Records awarded White with having the longest television career for a female entertainer.[2] To contemporary audiences, White is best known for her television roles as Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1973–77) and Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls (1985–92). Since the death of co-star Rue McClanahan in 2010, she is the only surviving Golden Girl. She currently stars as Elka Ostrovsky in the TV Land sitcom Hot in Cleveland for which she has won two consecutive Screen Actors Guild Awards. She also hosted NBCs practical-joke show Betty White's Off Their Rockers which resulted in two Emmy nominations.

Regarded as a television pioneer for being one of the first women in television to have creative control in front of and behind the camera,[3] White has gone on to win six Emmy Awards (five for acting), receiving 20 Emmy nominations over her career,[3] including being the first woman to receive an Emmy for game show hosting (for the short-lived Just Men!) and is the only woman to have won an Emmy in all performing comedic categories. In May 2010, White became the oldest person to guest-host Saturday Night Live, for which she received a Primetime Emmy Award. White also holds the record for longest span between Emmy nominations for performances—her first was in 1951 and her most recent was in 2012, a span of 61 years—and has become the oldest nominee as of 2013, aged 91. She is also the oldest winner of a competitive Grammy Award, which she won in 2012.

Due to her legacy and continued success within the entertainment industry the American Comedy Awards, the Screen Actors Guild, and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts have all awarded White with lifetime achievement awards recognizing her contribution to television.

She made regular appearances on the game shows Password and Match Game and played recurring roles on Mama's Family, Boston Legal, The Bold and the Beautiful, That '70s Show, and Community.

Early life[edit]

Born Betty Marion White in Oak Park, Illinois, on January 17, 1922.[4][5][6] Her mother was of Greek, English, and Welsh descent, and her father was of Danish and English ancestry.[7][8][9] She was an only child of Horace White, a lighting company executive, and her mother was a homemaker.[10] White's family moved to Los Angeles, California during the Great Depression.[11][12] She attended Horace Mann School Beverly Hills and Beverly Hills High School. Hoping to become a writer, she wrote and played the lead in a graduation play at Horace Mann School and discovered her interest in performing.[1] This is where she decided to become an actress. Author Michael McWilliams said in his book TV Sirens, "If Lucille Ball is the Queen of Television, then its Princess is Betty White." But White didn't start off in television royalty.[10]

Career[edit]

1939–1973: Radio career, Life With Elizabeth and television pioneer[edit]

She made rounds to movie studios looking for work, but was always turned down because she was "unphotogenic." So then she started to look for radio jobs where being "photogenic" did not matter. Her first radio jobs included reading commercials and playing bit parts, and sometimes even doing crowd noises. She made about five dollars a show. She would do just about anything, like singing on a show for no money, or making an appearance on the local game show.[10] White began her television career in 1939, three months after high school graduation, when she and a classmate sang songs from The Merry Widow on an experimental Los Angeles channel.[13][1][14] White found work modeling, and her first professional acting job was at the Bliss Hayden Little Theatre. White's career was disrupted immediately, as World War II broke out, causing her to join the American Women's Voluntary Services. In the 1940s, she worked in radio appearing on shows such as Blondie, The Great Gildersleeve, and This is Your FBI. She then got her own radio show, called The Betty White Show.[15]

In 1949, she began appearing as co-host with Al Jarvis on his daily, live variety show Hollywood on Television on KLAC in Los Angeles.[3][14] White began hosting the show by herself in 1952 after Jarvis' departure,[3] spanning five and a half hours of live ad-lib television six days per week over a contiguous four-year span altogether. In all of her various variety series over the years, White would sing at least a couple of songs during each broadcast. In 1950, Betty was nominated for her first Emmy Award as "Best Actress" on television, competing with such legendary stars as Judith Anderson, Helen Hayes, and Imogene Coca (the award went to Gertrude Berg). This was the very first award and category in the new Emmy history designated for women on television.

In 1952, the same year she began hosting Hollywood on Television, White co-founded Bandy Productions with writer George Tibbles and Don Fedderson, a producer.[3] The trio worked to create new shows using existing characters from sketches shown on Hollywood on Television. White, Fedderson, and Tibbles created the television comedy Life with Elizabeth, based on a Hollywood on Television sketch.[3] White portrayed the title character on the sitcom from 1952 to 1955, which effectively boosted her career.[3] Life With Elizabeth was nationally syndicated by the mid-1950s, allowing White to become one of the few women in television with full creative control in front of and behind the camera at the time.[3] Although several sources state White won an Emmy for the show[3][5][14][16] this appears to be incorrect,[17] and may be a matter of confusing the 1950 nomination with a win. The show was unusual for a sitcom in the 1950s because it was co-produced and owned by a twenty-eight-year-old woman who still lived with her parents. White said they didn't worry about relevance in those days...usually the incidents were based on real life situations that happened to her, the actor who played Alvin, and the writer.[10]

White in The Betty White Show (1954)

In 1954, she briefly hosted and produced her own daily talk show, The Betty White Show, on NBC (not to be confused with her 1970s sitcom of the same name).[3] Following Life with Elizabeth, she appeared as Vicki Angel on the sitcom Date with the Angels from 1957 to 1958. The show later became another variety series before going off the air.[3] White performed in commercials seen on live television in Los Angeles, including a spirited rendition of the "Dr. Ross Dog Food" advertisement at KTLA during the 1950s.

She made her feature film debut as Kansas Senator Elizabeth Ames Adams in the 1962 drama, Advise & Consent. Despite her performance being well received, it would be her only big-screen appearance for decades.

Betty White's greatest fame during the 1960s and early 1970s with the general public was likely from her long stint as hostess and commentator on the annual Tournament of Roses Parade broadcast on NBC, often co-hosting with Lorne Greene. White began a nineteen-year run as host on the program in 1956; NBC replaced her in 1975, feeling she was too identified with rival network CBS due to her new-found success on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. White admitted to People magazine it was difficult "watching someone else do my parade",[18] although she soon would start a ten-year run as hostess of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade for CBS.

White would receive her second and third Emmy's from her part on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. White considers her part as Sue-Ann in the show one of the highlights of her professional career, but she describes her television image as "icky sweet." She felt this way because she was willing to satirize her own small screen persona, her character was the definition of feminine passivity.[10]

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, White appeared on a number of late night talkshows and daytime game shows, including Password.[3] White made many appearances on the hit game show Password as a celebrity guest from 1961 through 1975. She married the show's host, Allen Ludden, in 1963.[3] She subsequently appeared on the show's three updated versions Password Plus, Super Password, and Million Dollar Password, having been on versions of the game with five different hosts (Allen Ludden, Bill Cullen, Tom Kennedy, Bert Convy, and Regis Philbin). White made frequent game show appearances on What's My Line? (starting in 1955), To Tell the Truth (in 1961 and in 1990), I've Got a Secret (in 1972–73), Match Game (1973–1982), and Pyramid (starting in 1982). Both Password and Pyramid were created by White's friend, Bob Stewart.

1973–1985: Continued success, comedic endeavors and The Mary Tyler Moore Show[edit]

In 1973, White made a guest appearance in season four of The Mary Tyler Moore Show as The Happy Homemaker.[3] As a result of her guest appearance, White landed her most significant role at that point as the sardonic, man-hungry Sue Ann Nivens, The Happy Homemaker, on The Mary Tyler Moore Show as a full-time cast member.[3] The running gag was that Sue Ann's hard-edged private personality was the complete opposite of how she presented herself on her show. "We need somebody who can play sickeningly sweet, like Betty White," Moore herself suggested at a production meeting, which resulted in casting White herself. White won two back-to-back Emmy Awards for her role in the hugely popular series.[3]

Following that show's end in 1977, she was given her own sitcom on CBS, her second series entitled The Betty White Show[3] (the first having been broadcast a quarter century earlier), during the 1977–78 season, in which she co-starred with John Hillerman and former Mary Tyler Moore co-star Georgia Engel. It was canceled after one season. White appeared several times on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson appearing in many sketches, and began guest-starring in a number of television movies and television miniseries, including With This Ring, The Best Place to Be, Before and After, and The Gossip Columnist.[3]

In 1983, 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!.[19] Due to the amount of work she has done on them, she has been deemed the "First Lady of Game Shows".[20]

From 1983 through 1985, she had a recurring role playing Ellen Harper Jackson on the series Mama's Family,[3] along with future Golden Girls co-star Rue McClanahan. White had originated this character in a series of sketches on The Carol Burnett Show in the 1970s. When Mama's Family was picked up in syndication after being canceled by NBC in 1985, White left the show (with the exception of one final appearance in the show's syndicated version in 1986).

1985–2000: The Golden Girls and new career heights[edit]

White at the 1989 Emmy Awards.

In 1985, she scored her second signature role and the biggest hit of her career as the St. Olaf, Minnesota-native Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls.[3] 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, for the first season of The Golden Girls[3] and was nominated in that category every year of the show's run (the only cast member to receive that distinction – Getty was also nominated every year, but in the supporting actress category). When Beatrice Arthur left in 1992, White, McClanahan, and Getty reprised their roles Rose, Blanche, and Sophia in the spin-off The Golden Palace.[3] The series was short-lived, lasting only one season. In addition, White reprised her Rose Nylund character in guest appearances on the NBC shows Empty Nest and Nurses, both of which were set in Miami.[3]

White was originally offered the role of Blanche in The Golden Girls, and Rue McClanahan was offered the role of Rose (the two characters being similar to roles they had played in Mary Tyler Moore and Maude, respectively). Jay Sandrich, the director of the pilot, suggested that since they had played similar roles in the past, they should switch roles, Rue McClanahan later said in a documentary on the series. White was originally afraid to play Rose, feeling that she would not be able to play the role – until the show's creator took her aside and told her not to play Rose as stupid but to play her as someone "terminally naive, a person who always believed the first explanation of something." Despite being the eldest of the four women, White is the only surviving regular cast member, following the deaths of Estelle Getty in July 2008, Bea Arthur in April 2009, and Rue McClanahan in June 2010.[21]

After The Golden Girls ended,[3] White guest-starred on a number of television programs including Ally McBeal, The Ellen Show, My Wife and Kids, That '70s Show, Everwood, Joey, and Malcolm in the Middle. She received Emmy Award nominations for her appearances on Suddenly Susan, Yes, Dear and The Practice. She won an Emmy in 1996 for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series, appearing as herself on an episode of The John Larroquette Show. In that episode, titled "Here We Go Again", a spoof on Sunset Boulevard, a diva-like White convinces Larroquette to help write her memoirs. In one bit, Golden Girls co-stars McClanahan and Getty appear as themselves. Larroquette is forced to dress in drag as Beatrice Arthur, when all four appear in public as the "original" cast members. White comically envisions her Rose as the central character with the other cast members as mere supporting players.

The actress has lent her voice to several animated shows, including The Simpsons, King of the Hill, The Wild Thornberrys, Family Guy, and Father of the Pride.[3] In 1999, she had a supporting role in the monster film Lake Placid, as a widow who later is revealed to have raised the giant crocodile (which accidentally ate her husband).

2000–present: Hollywood mainstay and career resurgence[edit]

White at the premiere for The Proposal in June 2009

White's career has been in revival throughout the first decades of the 2000s, and her continuing cultural relevance is reflected in the numerous television and film projects she has been a part of. In December 2006, White joined the soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful in the role of Ann Douglas, the long-lost mother of the show's matriarch Stephanie Forrester, who was played by Susan Flannery. In February 2007, White returned as Ann, who had an intent to move to Los Angeles to be near her daughters.[22] The characters of Ann and Pamela Douglas (Alley Mills) disappeared after their March 27, 2007, appearance and were not mentioned again until October 19, 2007, when Ann appeared briefly. White would go on to appear in three more episodes following that, one on December 10, 2007; August 28, 2008; and October 28, 2008. She returned to the show on November 18, 2009 and in the November 19, 2009 episode her character revealed that she was dying of advanced pancreatic cancer. To date she has made 22 appearances as Ann Douglas. In the November 23, 2009 episode Ann passes away due to complications from her illness, with both of her daughters at her side on the beach at Paradise Cove.

In the broadcast of the 2007 TV Land Awards, White starred in a parody of Ugly Betty, aptly titled Ugly Betty White, in which she played America Ferrera's title character, with Charo playing White's sister Hilda, and Erik Estrada playing her father Ignacio.[23] Her performance earned her a part on Ugly Betty as herself, the victim of Wilhelmina Slater's temper as they vie for a cab in the episode "Bananas for Betty", which aired December 6, 2007.

White had a recurring role in ABC's Boston Legal from 2005 to 2008 as the calculating, blackmailing gossip-monger Catherine Piper, a role she originally portrayed as a guest star on The Practice in 2004.[3]

White appeared as a roaster on the Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner in 2006. On May 19, 2008, White appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, taking part in the host's Mary Tyler Moore Show reunion special alongside every surviving cast member of the series.

Beginning in 2007, White was featured in television commercials for PetMeds, highlighting her interest in animal rights and welfare.[24]

She was honored at the Sixth Annual TV Land Awards with the Pop Culture Award on June 8, 2008. She accepted it along with co-stars Bea Arthur and Rue McClanahan.

White returned to Password in its latest incarnation, Million Dollar Password, on June 12, 2008, (episode #3), participating in the Million Dollar challenge at the end of the show. Her quick correct responses helped the contestant win $100,000. White returned to the show again on December 28, 2008 (episode #9), helping the contestants win $25,000 each. White has made a number of appearances in skits on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, playing the part of an Exxon representative, a Girl Scout, an accountant with a briefcase full of cocaine, a nurse who just got her medical license from El Salvador, a newspaper delivery girl, a prison guard, and an Apple representative. She appeared as herself with a shoe box full of receipts, explaining that she was doing her taxes. She appeared as herself to promote Together: A Story of Shared Vision by her and Tom Sullivan. On July 18, 2008, she appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in a skit entitled "Can You Make Betty White Flinch".

White guest starred as the "Witch Lady" on an episode of My Name Is Earl, and starred on Chelsea Handler's late night show Chelsea Lately. Some of her other most recent television credits in the 2000s include Stealing Christmas, Annie's Point and The Retrievers.[3] Her film credits in the late 1990s and early 2000s included Hard Rain, Dennis the Menace Strikes Again and Bringing Down the House, in which she co-starred with Steve Martin and Queen Latifah.[3]

White appeared in the 2009 motion picture The Proposal with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds.[3] White provided the English-language voice of Yoshie in the anime film Ponyo,[3] which was released in Japan in 2008 and in the United States and Canada on August 14, 2009. She co-starred with Kristen Bell in the 2010 film, You Again.[3]

White appeared alongside Abe Vigoda in an advertisement for Snickers during the 2010 Super Bowl XLIV. The ad won the top spot on the USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter.[25] The slogan was, "You're not you when you're hungry".[26]

A grassroots campaign on Facebook called "Betty White to Host SNL (Please)" began in January 2010. The group was approaching 500,000 members when NBC confirmed on March 11, 2010 that White would in fact host Saturday Night Live on May 8. The appearance made her, at age 88, the oldest person to host the show, beating Miskel Spillman, the winner of SNL's "Anybody Can Host" contest, who was 80 when she hosted in 1977.[27] The May 8 SNL episode garnered the show's highest ratings since November 1, 2008, when Ben Affleck hosted.[28] In her opening monologue, White thanked Facebook and joked that she "didn't know what Facebook was, and now that I do know what it is, I have to say, it sounds like a huge waste of time."[12] The appearance earned her a 2010 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series, her seventh Emmy win overall.

In June 2010, White took on the role of Elka Ostrovsky the house caretaker on TV Land's original sitcom Hot in Cleveland.[29]

A Betty White calendar for 2011 was published in late 2010. The calendar features photos from her career and her pictured with various animals.[30] She also debuted her own clothing line on July 22, 2010, which features shirts with her face on them. All proceeds will also go to various animal charities she supports.[31]

White with President Obama in the Oval Office in June 2012.

She guest-starred in the second-season premiere of NBC's Community as an anthropology professor.[32] In 2010, she also guest starred in The Middle and 30 Rock.[33] She also had a role as Mrs. Claus in Prep & Landing: Operation: Secret Santa,[34] the sequel to Disney's Prep & Landing, and began providing the voice for recurring character Agatha McLeish on The Hub's Pound Puppies.[35]

White also starred in the Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation of The Lost Valentine on January 30, 2011. This presentation garnered the highest rating for a Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation in the last four years and according to the Nielsen Media Research TV rating service won first place in the prime time slot for that date.[36]

White has published several books over the span of her career. In August 2010, she entered a deal with G.P. Putnam Sons to produce two more books, the first of which, If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won't), was released in 2011.[37] In December 2011, White received her first ever Grammy Award ("Best Spoken Word Recording") for the audio recording of the book.[38]

NBC announced in early 2011 that White would be host and executive producer of a new show, Betty White's Off Their Rockers, in which senior citizens play practical jokes on the younger generation.[39]

In 2011, White appeared in the Visit California promotional film aimed at boosting tourism from the UK.

In September 2011, she teamed up with English singer Luciana to produce a remix of her song "I'm Still Hot". The song was released digitally on September 22 and the video later premiered on October 6.[40] It was made for a campaign for a life settlement program, The Lifeline. White served as a judge alongside Whoopi Goldberg and Wendy Diamond for the American Humane Association's Hero Dog Awards airing on The Hallmark Channel on November 8, 2011.[41]

A special Betty White's 90th Birthday Party aired on NBC a day before her birthday on January 16, 2012. The show featured appearances of many stars with whom White has worked over the years.[42] Betty White's Off Their Rockers aired following the celebratory event, and returned in April 2012 as a recurring show which resulted in an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program. White's success continued in 2012 with her first Grammy Award for a spoken word recording for her best seller If You Ask Me. She also won the UCLA Jack Benny Award for Comedy, recognizing her significant contribution to comedy in television, and was roasted at the New York Friars' Club.[43] Hot in Cleveland continued its rating success, with White receiving her third consecutive Screen Actor's Guild Award nomination. In January 2013, NBC once again celebrated Betty White's birthday with a TV special featuring celebrity friends, including former president Bill Clinton; the special aired on February 5.[44]

In 2013, she voiced a character on the Disney Channel show Mickey Mouse. [45]

Charity[edit]

White is a pet enthusiast and animal health advocate who works with a number of animal organizations, including the Los Angeles Zoo Commission, the Morris Animal Foundation, and Actors & Others for Animals. Her interest in animal rights and welfare began in the early 1970s while she was both producing and hosting the syndicated series, The Pet Set, which spotlighted celebrities and their pets.[3]

As of 2009, White is the president emerita of the Morris Animal Foundation, where she has served as a trustee of the organization since 1971.[3] She has been a member of the board of directors of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association since 1974.[3] Additionally, White served the zoo association as a Zoo Commissioner for eight years.[3]

According to the Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Garden's "ZooScape" Member Newsletter, White hosted "History on Film" from 2000 to 2002. White donated nearly $100,000 to the zoo in the month of April 2008 alone.

Betty White served as a presenter at the 2011 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards ceremony at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on October 1, 2011 in Los Angeles.[46]

Personal life[edit]

White and Ludden in 1968.

In 1945, White married Dick Barker, a U.S. Army Air Corps pilot.[47] The marriage was short-lived. In 1947, she married Lane Allen, a Hollywood agent.[47] This marriage ended in divorce in 1949.

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,[48] and 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 Odd Couple featuring Felix's and Oscar's appearance on Password. Ludden appeared as a guest panelist on Match Game, with White sitting in the audience. (She was prompted to criticize one of Ludden's wrong answers on camera during an episode of Match Game '74). The two appeared together on the Match Game panel in 1974, 1975, and 1980.

Allen Ludden died from stomach cancer on June 9, 1981, in Los Angeles.[6][49][50] They had no children together, though she is stepmother to his three children from his first marriage. White has not remarried since Ludden's death. In an interview with Larry King, when asked whether or not she would remarry, she replied by saying "Once you've had the best, who needs the rest?"[51]

When asked about her real-life heroes, White told Vanity Fair, "Charles Darwin".[52]

White is a practicing member of the Unity Church.[53]

She is also a registered Democrat.[54] She endorsed President Barack Obama in 2012 saying she "likes how he represents us".[55]

In a 2011 interview, White said that she always knew her close friend Liberace was gay and that she sometimes accompanied him to premieres.[56] A supporter of gay rights, White said that "If a couple has been together all that time – and there are gay relationships that are more solid than some heterosexual ones—I think it's fine if they want to get married. I don't know how people can get so anti-something. Mind your own business, take care of your affairs, and don't worry about other people so much".[57]

Awards, honors and nominations[edit]

White at the 1992 Emmy Awards

White has won six Emmy Awards, three American Comedy Awards (including a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1990), 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 alongside the star of her late husband Allen Ludden.

White was the recipient of the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters Golden Ike Award and the Genii Award from the American Women in Radio and Television in 1976.[3] The American Comedy Awards awarded her the award for Funniest Female in 1987 as well as the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1990.[3] She was formally inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame in 1995. In 2009, White received the Career Achievement Award from the Television Critics Association.[3]

The American Veterinary Medical Association awarded White with its Humane Award in 1987 for her charitable work with animals.[3] The City of Los Angeles further honored her for her philanthropic work with animals in 2006 with a bronze plaque near the Gorilla Exhibit at the Los Angeles Zoo.[3] The City of Los Angeles named her "Ambassador to the Animals" at the dedication ceremony.[3]

In September 2009, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) announced plans to honor White with the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award at the 16th Screen Actors Guild Awards. Sandra Bullock presented White with the award on January 23, 2010, at the ceremony, which took place at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.[3] She is a Kentucky Colonel.[58] In 2009, White and her now-deceased Golden Girls cast mates Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan, and Estelle Getty were awarded honorary Disney Legend awards. Betty was inducted into the California Hall of Fame in December 2010. In 2010 she was chosen as the Associated Press's Entertainer of the Year.[59]

On November 9, 2010, the USDA Forest Service, along with Smokey Bear, made actress Betty White an honorary forest ranger, fulfilling her lifelong dream.[60] White said in previous interviews that she wanted to be a forest ranger as a little girl but that women were not allowed to do that then. Today's United States Forest Service is 38 percent female, including rangers, scientists, and leaders at every level.

In January 2011, White received a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series for her role as Elka Ostrovsky in Hot in Cleveland. The show itself was also nominated for an award as Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series, but lost to the cast of Modern Family.[61] She won the same award again in 2012, and has received a third nomination.[62]

A 2011 poll conducted by Reuters and Ipsos revealed that White was considered to be the most popular and most trusted celebrity among Americans, beating out the likes of Denzel Washington, Sandra Bullock, and Tom Hanks.[63]

In October 2011, White was awarded an honorary degree and white doctors coat by Washington State University at the Washington State Veterinary Medical Association's centennial gala in Yakima, Washington.

In 2012, White won her first Grammy, aged 90 for the audio version of her best selling book.

YearAwardCategoryWorkResult
1951Emmy AwardBest ActressLife with ElizabethNominated
1975Emmy AwardsOutstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy SeriesThe Mary Tyler Moore ShowWon
1976Emmy AwardsOutstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy SeriesThe Mary Tyler Moore ShowWon
1977Emmy AwardsOutstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy SeriesThe Mary Tyler Moore ShowNominated
1983Emmy AwardsOutstanding Game Show HostJust Men!Won
1984Emmy AwardsOutstanding Game Show HostJust Men!Nominated
1986Emmy AwardsOutstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy SeriesThe Golden GirlsWon
1986Golden Apple AwardFemale Star of the YearWon
1986Golden GlobesBest Actress – Television Series Musical or ComedyThe Golden GirlsNominated
1987Emmy AwardsOutstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy SeriesThe Golden GirlsNominated
1987Golden GlobesBest Actress – Television Series Musical or ComedyThe Golden GirlsNominated
1987American Comedy AwardsFunniest Female Performer in a TV Series (Leading Role) Network, Cable or SyndicationThe Golden GirlsWon
1987Viewers for Quality TelevisionBest Actress in a Quality Comedy SeriesThe Golden GirlsWon
1988Emmy AwardsOutstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy SeriesThe Golden GirlsNominated
1988Golden GlobesBest Actress – Television Series Musical or ComedyThe Golden GirlsNominated
1988Viewers for Quality TelevisionBest Actress in a Quality Comedy SeriesThe Golden GirlsWon
1989Emmy AwardsOutstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy SeriesThe Golden GirlsNominated
1989Golden GlobesBest Actress – Television Series Musical or ComedyThe Golden GirlsNominated
1990Emmy AwardsOutstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy SeriesThe Golden GirlsNominated
1990American Comedy AwardsFunniest Female Performer in a TV Series (Leading Role) Network, Cable or SyndicationThe Golden GirlsNominated
1990American Comedy AwardsLifetime Achievement Award in ComedyWon
1991Emmy AwardsOutstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy SeriesThe Golden GirlsNominated
1992Emmy AwardsOutstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy SeriesThe Golden GirlsNominated
1995Walk of FameStar on the Walk of FameWon
1996Emmy AwardsOutstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy SeriesThe John Larroquette ShowWon
1997Emmy AwardsOutstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy SeriesSuddenly SusanNominated
2000American Comedy AwardsFunniest Female Guest Appearance in a TV SeriesAlly McBealWon
2003Emmy AwardsOutstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy SeriesYes, DearNominated
2003TV Land AwardsQuintessential Non-Traditional FamilyWon
2004Emmy AwardsOutstanding Guest Actress in a Drama SeriesThe PracticeNominated
2004TV Land AwardsGroundbreaking ShowWon
2008TV Land AwardsPop Culture AwardWon
2009Emmy AwardsOutstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy SeriesMy Name Is EarlNominated
2009Television Critics AssociationCareer Achievement AwardWon
2009Disney LegendsDisney LegendsWon
2010Screen Actors GuildLife Achievement AwardWon
2010MTV Movie AwardsBest WTF MomentThe ProposalNominated
2010MTV Movie AwardsBest Comedic PerformanceThe ProposalNominated
2010Teen Choice AwardBest Dance (with Sandra Bullock)The ProposalWon
2010Emmy AwardsOutstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy SeriesSaturday Night LiveWon
2010NewNowNext AwardsCause You're HotNominated
2011People's Choice AwardsFavorite TV Guest StarCommunityNominated
2011People's Choice AwardsFavorite Web CelebNominated
2011Screen Actors GuildOutstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy SeriesHot in ClevelandNominated
2011Screen Actors GuildOutstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy SeriesHot in ClevelandWon
2011Gracie Allen AwardsBest Actress in a Comedy SeriesHot in ClevelandWon
2011The Comedy AwardsBest Actress in a TV ComedyHot in ClevelandNominated
2011Emmy AwardsOutstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy SeriesHot in ClevelandNominated
2011UCLA Jack Benny AwardComedianWon
2011Grammy AwardsBest Spoken Word RecordingIf You Ask Me (And of Course You Won't)Won
2012Screen Actors GuildOutstanding Performance by Female Actor in a Comedy SeriesHot in ClevelandWon
2012Screen Actors GuildOutstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television MovieThe Lost ValentineNominated
2012Emmy AwardsOutstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition ProgramBetty White's Off Their RockersNominated
2013Screen Actors GuildOutstanding Performance by Female Actor in a Comedy SeriesHot in ClevelandNominated
2013Emmy AwardsOutstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition ProgramBetty White's Off Their RockersNominated

Filmography[edit]

YearTitleRoleNotes
1945Time to KillLou's Girl(short)
1949–50Hollywood on TelevisionPhone Girl
1953–55Life with ElizabethElizabeth52 episodes

Nominated-Emmy Award for Best Actress (1951)

1955–66What's My Line?Herself6 episodes as Guest Panelist

2 episodes as Mystery Guest

1955Make the ConnectionHerself-Panelist3 episodes
1956The MillionaireVirginia LennartEpisode: "The Virginia Lennart Story"
1957–58Date with the AngelsVickie Angel33 episodes
1958–59Jack Paar Show, TheThe Jack Paar ShowHerself21 episodes
1961–63To Tell the TruthHerself39 episodes
1962Advise and ConsentSenator Bessie Adams
1961–75PasswordHerself24 episodes
1962The United States Steel HourEpisode: "Scene of the Crime"
1963–69The Match GameHerself10 episodes
1963–75You Don't SayHerself10 episodes
1963Your First Impression1 episode
1964The Mike Douglas ShowHerself
1964–66Girl TalkHerself3 episodes
1964The Steve Allen PlayhouseHerself1 episode
1965That Regis Philbin ShowHerself1 episode
1965–85The Merv Griffin ShowHerself8 episodes
1966Chain LetterHerself
1967–68Snap JudgementHerself2 episodes
1968That's Life1 episode
1969Petticoat JunctionAdelle ColbyEpisode: "The Cannonball Bookmobile"
1973–77Mary Tyler Moore Show, TheThe Mary Tyler Moore ShowSue Ann Nivens42 episodes

Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (1975, 1976)

Nominated- Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (1977)

1974–78Tattletales
1977Jacksons, TheThe Jacksons
1977–78Betty White Show, TheThe Betty White ShowJoyce Whitman14 episodes
1978Liar's Club
1978Different Approach, AA Different Approach
1978The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast: Betty White
1979With This RingEvelyn Harris
1979Gossip Columnist, TheThe Gossip Columnist
1979Best Place to Be, TheThe Best Place to Be
1980Hollywood Knights, TheThe Hollywood Knights
1980Before and After
1979–82Password PlusHerself
1982–88(New) $25,000 Pyramid, TheThe (New) $25,000 PyramidHerself
1982EuniceEllen
1983Just Men!HostessDaytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host (1983)

Nominated- Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host (1984)

1983Doctor Detroit
1984Kill Me If You Can
1985Santa Claus: The Movie
1983–84, 1986Mama's FamilyEllen Harper-Jackson15 episodes
1984–85Body LanguageHerself
1985Trivia TrapHerself
1985Who's the Boss?Bobby Barnes
1985–87, 1991$100,000 Pyramid, TheThe $100,000 PyramidHerself
1985–92Golden Girls, TheThe Golden GirlsRose Nylund180 episodes

Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (1986)

Golden Apple Award for Female Star of the Year (1986)

American Comedy Award for Funniest Female Performer in a TV Series (Leading Role) Network, Cable or Syndication (1987)

Viewers for Quality Television Award for Best Actress in a Quality Comedy Series (1987, 1988)

Nominated- Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy (1986–1989)

Nominated- Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (1987–1992)

1984–89Super PasswordHerself
1988Santa BarbaraWaitress3 episodes
1988Another WorldBrenda Barlowe
1990–91To Tell the TruthHerself
1991Chance of a LifetimeEvelyn Eglin
1992–93Golden Palace, TheThe Golden PalaceRose Nylund24 episodes
1993BobSylvia Schmidt
1994Diagnosis: MurderDora Sloan
1995Family FeudHerself
1995–96Maybe This TimeShirley Wallace
1996Story of Santa Claus, TheThe Story of Santa ClausMrs. Claus
1996Weekend in the Country, AA Weekend in the Country
1997Hard RainDoreen Sears
1998Hercules: The Animated SeriesHestia
1998Me & George
1998Dennis the Menace Strikes AgainMartha Wilson
1998Holy Man
1998–99Lionhearts, TheThe Lionhearts(voice)
1999Betty White Show Reunion - The Big Talk, TheThe Betty White Show Reunion - The Big TalkHerself
1999Gaia Symphony II
1999Lake PlacidMrs. Deloris Bickerman
1999Story of Us, TheThe Story of UsLillian Jordan
1999–2000Ladies ManMitzi Stiles
2000Ally McBealDr. Shirley Flott
2000Simpsons, TheThe SimpsonsHerself(voice)
2000Whispers: An Elephant's TaleRound
2000Tom SawyerAunt Polly
2001Wild Thornberrys, TheThe Wild ThornberrysSophie Hunter
2001Retrievers, TheThe RetrieversMrs. Krisper
2001I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
2002–03That '70s ShowBea Sigurdson
2003Bringing Down the HouseMrs. Kline
2003Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and BurtWoman in Window
2003Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, TheThe Grim Adventures of Billy and MandyMrs. Doolin
2004Stealing ChristmasEmily Sutton
2004My Wife and KidsMrs. June HopkinsEpisode: "The Maid"
2004Malcolm in the MiddleSylvia
2004Hollywood Squares – Game Show Week Part 2
2004–05Complete SavagesMrs. Riley2 episodes
2005Practice, TheThe PracticeCatherine Piper3 episodes
2005The Third WishLettie
2005Annie's PointAnnie EasonTV movie
2005–08Boston LegalCatherine Piper16 episodes
2006Family GuyHerself (voice)
2006Gameshow Marathon
2006Golden Girls, TheThe Golden Girls: Their Greatest MomentsHerself
2006Comedy Central Roast of William ShatnerHerself
2006–09The Bold and the BeautifulAnn Douglas23 episodes
2007Back to the Grind
2007Simpsons, TheThe SimpsonsHerself (voice)
2008Ugly BettyHerselfEpisode: "Bananas for Betty"
2009Proposal, TheThe ProposalGrandma Annie
2009My Name Is EarlMrs. WeezmerEpisode: "Witch Lady"
2009PonyoYoshie (voice)English version
2009Love N' DancingIrene
200930 RockBetty WhiteEpisode: "Stone Mountain"
2009–10Glenn Martin, DDSDora / Grandma Shelia Martin (voice)2 episodes
2010Saturday Night LiveHerselfGuest Host

Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series (2010)

2010Middle, TheThe MiddleMrs. NethercottEpisode: "Average Rules"
2010Inside the Actors StudioHerselfEpisode: "Betty White"
2010Operation Secret SantaMrs. Claus (voice)TV short
2010–presentHot in ClevelandElka OstrovskyMain Cast; 79 episodes

Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series (2011, 2012)

Gracie Allen Award for Best Actress in a Comedy Series (2011)

Nominated- Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series (2013)

Nominated- Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (2011)

Nominated- Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (2011)

Nominated- The Comedy Award for Best Actress in a Television Comedy Series (2011)

2010You AgainGrandma Bunny
2010CommunityProfessor June Bauer2 episodes
2010–2013Pound PuppiesAgatha McLeish (voice)12 episodes
2011Lost Valentine, TheThe Lost ValentineCaroline ThomasTV movie

Nominated- Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie (2012)

2012–13Betty White's Off Their RockersHost/HerselfReality show

Nominated- Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program (2012, 2013)

2012Lorax, TheThe LoraxGrammy Norma (voice)
2012The Client ListRuth HudsonEpisode: "Past is Prologue"
2013Save MeGodEpisode: "Holier Than Thou"
2013Mickey MouseAadvark Lady (voice)Episode: "New York Weenie"

Books[edit]

References[edit]

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  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap Kilday, Gregg (September 15, 2009). "Betty White to receive SAG lifetime award". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 5, 2009. 
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  6. ^ a b Lipton, James (host) (September 28, 2010). "Betty White". Inside the Actors Studio. Season 16. Episode 1606. Bravo.
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  10. ^ a b c d e O'Dell, Cary (January 1, 1997). Women Pioneers in Television: Biographies of Fifteen Industry Leaders. McFarland & Company. ISBN 978-0-7864-0167-3. Retrieved January 18, 2014. 
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  45. ^ http://www.pwinsider.com/article/83329/raw-gets-golden-guest-star.html?p=1
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  47. ^ a b Gliatto, Tom (June 12, 1999). "Forever Betty". People. Retrieved January 18, 2014. 
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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]