Betty White, America’s most popular and most trusted celebrity (according to Reuters-Ipsos poll), celebrated a major milestone over the weekend.
Happy Birthday, Betty White!
And that’s because she was born on January 17, 1922, which means that this pioneering icon turned 99 years old on Sunday! White began her television career in 1939, a mere three months after graduating high school, when she and a classmate sang songs on an experimental TV show.
After a sojourn into radio land, White wound up hosting the daily variety show Hollywood on Television – a position she held for four years. During her time with the program (which aired for five-and-half hours, six days per week), White also starred in and executive produced the sitcom Life with Elizabeth (co-starring Del Moore).
Afterward, she hosted and produced her own daily talk/variety series titled The Betty Show. Later, White starred in the comedy series Date with the Angels (1957-1958), a stage production of the play Third Best Sport, and the film Advice & Consent (1962).
In 1973, White assumed the role of man-hungry Sue-Ann Nivens in the workplace comedy The Mary Tyler Moore Show. She would continue to play the character for the next three years. For her efforts, she would receive two Primetime Emmy Awards.
Upon that series end, White headlined The Betty White Show (1977-1978), appeared in several episodes of The Carol Burnett Show, and began guest-starring in various made-for-TV movies, miniseries, and primetime programs.
Between 1983 and 1984, White co-starred on Mama’s Family as the snooty Ellen Harper Jackson. One year later, she landed the role for which she has become most known: naïve St. Olaf native Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls. The wildly popular sitcom ran from 1985 to 1992 and was succeeded by spinoff The Golden Palace (1992-1993). White won the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series during its inaugural season.
White’s other acting credits include guest stints on Empty Nest and Nurses, Suddenly Susan, Yes, Dear, and The John Larroquette Show (1996), as well as a recurring role on The Practice and its spinoff Boston Legal. She also made it to soaps with her turn as Ann Douglas on the CBS daytime soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful.
White was a gameshow panelist staple throughout the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. Her appearances on the likes of Password, Match Game, Tattletales, The Hollywood Squares, and The $25, 000 Pyramid earned her the title, “The First Lady of Game Shows.” In 1983, White, then the hostess of Just Men, became the first woman to win a Daytime Emmy Award in the Outstanding Game Show Host category.
White was married to TV personality, actor, and emcee Allen Ludden from June 14, 1963 to June 9, 1981. The two had met during a taping of Password, the series Ludden hosted.
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