I can’t think of anybody who dislikes Betty White. She’s a talented actress, a magnetic television personality, a pretty good singer, a former radio star, skilled author, and an hilarious comedienne. She’s been delighting audiences for more than 70 years.
Betty Marion White was born on January 17, 1922 to Horace White and Tess Curtis of Oak Park, Illinois. The family relocated to Los Angeles during the Great Depression. White was a student at Beverly Hills High and the Horace Mann School of Beverly Hills. Her career goal was that of a writer. It was when she authored and starred as the lead in the graduation play at Horace Mann that she uncovered her performing talents. She has an amazing attitude about her work and the various venues in which she has appeared.
Like many Hollywood personalities, White has been married multiple times. Her first marriage was to Army Air Corps pilot Dick Barker. They broke up in 1947. “I married my first husband because we wanted to sleep together. It lasted six months and we were in bed for six months.” The same year, she wed Hollywood agent Lane Allen. That union lasted until 1949.
Her third and final marriage was to the television host of the game show, “Password”. She met Allen Ludden when she was a celebrity guest on the game show. Stomach cancer claimed the life of Ludden in June of 1981. Betty decided not to remarry.
“I’ve always liked older men. They’re just more attractive to me. Of course, at my age there aren’t that many left! I’ve enjoyed the opposite sex a lot. Always have. Always will.”
Betty White’s public career began with radio. She performed on programs like “Blondie”, “The Great Gildersleeve”, “This Is Your FBI”, and “The Betty White Show”. Her first teevee gig was on KLAC-TV, Los Angeles as co-host on the live variety show called, “Hollywood On Television”. On the show, White normally sang two or three songs. It was in 1950 that White was nominated for her first Emmy Award.
“If one has no sense of humor, one is in trouble.”
Betty White was a mainstay of daytime television game shows for several years. Then, in 1973, she was a guest star on “The Mary Tyler Moore” show. Her role was “The Happy Homemaker”. The guest slot grew into a regular feature of Moore’s program.
She was given her own teevee show in 1977. “The Betty White Show” lasted only one season on CBS. Following that, she guested on several sitcoms and talk shows.
“I think we’re losing our sense of humor instead of being able to relax and laugh at ourselves. I don’t care whether it’s ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, or whose ox is being gored.”
Her most popular role was created in 1985 when she began playing Rose Nylund on the spectacularly popular sitcom “The Golden Girls”. The other widows were played by Bea Arthur, Estelle Getty, and Rue McClanahan. The series netted White an Emmy for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series.
“Friendship takes time and energy if it’s going to work. You can luck into something great, but it doesn’t last if you don’t give it proper appreciation. Friendship can be so comfortable, but nurture it–don’t take it for granted.”
Following the end of “The Golden Girls”, White has appeared on countless popular programs and has enjoyed cameo appearances in movies and cartoon shows. She has always stuck to her ethical values throughout her career.
“As Good As It Gets, I turned that down…but it was for a very good reason. They had this adorable dog in it, but in one scene the guy goes down the hall and puts the dog down the rubbish chute. Of course it lands on some cushions and it’s fine, but I didn’t want to set that example, because you never know what nuts or kids will see it and think I can do that. The director said, ‘The dog’s fine, the dog’s fine!’. But I said, ‘I just can’t do that’. Of course the film was a tremendous hit, but I didn’t regret turning it down.”
Betty White has been caring and accepting of her friends and her adoring public all her life. “I don’t care who anybody sleeps with. 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 dont 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.”
White is best known, off camera, as a friend of animals and is an animal rights activist. She has been a member of and has been active with numerous animal foundations and charities. “The thing I like to do best is my work for animals. I’ve worked with LA Zoo and a number of other animal causes for years now, and I never want to give that up. Whatever I do will have to fit around that.” She has not only belonged to the board of directors of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association but has served as the Zoo Commissioner for more than eight years.
“I think older women still have a full life. Maybe the writers don’t address it these days, but it doesn’t change the fact.”
What’s not to like about Betty White?
The Blue Jay of Happiness treasures this Betty White saying, “Age is just a number and people need to get over it.”