A few weeks shy of her 100th birthday comes news that The Bold and the Beautiful alum, Betty White, beloved for The Mary Tyler Moore Show, the Golden Girls, and Hot in Cleveland, has passed away at 99 years old.
Betty White Has Passed Away
TMZ broke the sad news Friday, having heard from law enforcement that she passed away at her home on Friday morning.
Betty White was born on January 17, 1922, in Oak Park, Illinois, the only child of Horace and Christine White. Her parents gave her the birth name of Betty so that she wouldn’t have to deal with all of the nicknames or derivatives associated with Elizabeth. Her father was a lighting company executive and her mother was a housewife. The family moved to Los Angeles, California when White was just 2 years old.
It was in California and on family trips to the Sierra Nevada that White grew to love animals of all kinds. So much so that she aspired to be a Park Ranger, but women were forbidden to be rangers back then. White channeled her love for animals in other ways throughout her life.
The enterprising young lady graduated from Beverly Hills School in 1939. She went on to attend the Horace Mann School where White turned to writing. She wrote and portrayed the lead in the graduation play and discovered a love for theater arts. Inspired by the likes of Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy, White focused on being an actress. A career spanning more than seven decades was born.
Her career started as “Lou’s Girl” in a short titled A Time to Kill. White moved on to “Phone Girl” for the TV series Hollywood on Television. Things kicked into high gear with her role as Elizabeth in Life With Elizabeth from 1953 through 1955, The Betty White Show in 1954, and Date With The Angels from 1957 – 1958.
Betty White liked to stay busy with work. Over the years, the worker bee appeared as herself and characters on iconic TV shows like The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Betty White Show (1977-1978), The Love Boat, Mama’s Family, St. Elsewhere, The Golden Girls, Bob, That 70s Show, The Practice, Boston Legal, Hot In Cleveland, and more.
White had a sharp quick wit and liked to play games, making her a perfect celebrity guest on game shows such as Make the Connection, I’ve Got A Secret, To Tell The Truth, What’s My Line, Match Game, Tattletales, Hollywood Squares, and, of course, Password, where she met the love of her life, Allen Ludden. She had 2 brief marriages before. Both of her former spouses had wanted her to stay home. Ludden was a widower. Sparks flew and the two married in 1963 and remained blissfully happy until his death in 1981.
When asked by Larry King why she never remarried, White replied, “Once you’ve had the best, who needs the rest?”
The spunky lady tackled a new genre by appearing on soap operas like Another World as Brenda Barlowe and Santa Barbara. In 2006, White took on the role of Ann Douglas, Stephanie and Pam’s mom, on The Bold and the Beautiful, until the character’s death in 2009, winning over many daytime fans in the process.
Television and game shows were not enough to contain White’s contagious energy. She conquered film with roles in movies such as Advise & Consent, With This Ring, Before and After, Chance Of A Lifetime, The Story of Us, Lake Placid, Stealing Christmas, and The Proposal. There was her intensive humanitarian work for animals working with the Morris Animal Foundation, African Wildlife Foundation, Actors and Others for Animals, The Pet Set, and she was on the board of the Los Angeles Zoo Association since 1974.
In the last decade, White returned to her first love and authored several books. The acclaimed multi-talent dynamo has a list of awards as long as her many credits. Betty White was beloved by her many fans, animal activists, and co-workers over the years. She had maintained many special friendships over the years with such greats as Lucille Ball, Liberace, Mary Tyler Moore, Bea Arthur, and the author, John Steinbeck.
While she didn’t have any children of her own, White was a stepmother to Allen Ludden’s three children from his first marriage, David, Martha, and Sarah. Soap Hub sends our condolences to her many fans, friends, and co-workers over the years.