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Thank You For Being A Friend: 99 Years Of Betty White Definitely Wasn’t Enough

I read on a meme that sliced bread was invented in 1928, and Betty White was born in 1922. This means that sliced bread is the best thing since Betty White. If that’s not accurate, I don’t know what is.

Betty White’s Early Years

Born January 17, 1922, in Oak Park, Illinois, Betty White would go on to break a Guinness World Record in 2018 for being the longest working person in television. Her career started in radio and transitioned to television, specifically gameshows, soon being dubbed the “First Lady Of Game Shows.”

The Betty White Show was a daytime talk show that aired from 1952-1954 that White hosted and produced. Having creative control over the show, she hired a female director and often included an African-American tap dancer, named Arthur Duncan. Local stations in the South threatened to boycott the show if Duncan wasn’t taken off as a featured guest. Betty White’s response was simple: “I’m sorry. Live with it.” And she gave the tap dancer continued airtime. The show was soon cancelled after she refused to fire Arthur Duncan.

Allen Ludden

White met Ludden in 1961 while she was a celebrity guest on his show Password. The two married in 1963, only after Allen had proposed to her twice and she said no. Eighteen short years later, in 1981, Allen Ludden died of stomach cancer.

Betty white and Allen ludden
Betty White and Allen Ludden. Mediapunch/Shutterstock

In an interview, Larry King asked her if she would ever consider getting remarried. She simply said she had already found the best and didn’t care about the rest. After Betty’s death on December 31, 2021, Betty’s assistant, who was with her at the time of her death, said the last word that came out of her mouth was “Allen.”

The Shows We All Know And Love

In 1973, Betty was cast on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, as Sue Ann Nivens, and in 1985 as Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls. These two roles propelled her into even more television stardom, where she remained the rest of her life.

A scene from the final episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show (from left): White, Gavin MacLeod, Ed Asner, Georgia Engel, Ted Knight, and Mary Tyler Moore

In June 2010, Hot In Cleveland hit the airwaves, starring Betty White alongside Valerie Bertinelli. It was recorded in front of a live audience in Studio City, CA and would air for 6 seasons.

Career Milestones

In 1995, Betty was inducted into the Television Hall Of Fame and received a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. She has received eight Emmy’s, three SAG Awards, and a Grammy Award.

Betty white

A Woman Of Many Causes

Betty White spent the last 50 years of her life as the voice of animals that had no voice. She worked with an abundance of organizations, zoos and foundations. White was offered a role in the 1997 film As Good As It Gets as Helen Hunt’s character’s mother. She refused the role because she didn’t like how the dog in the film was treated on set. Talk about a woman who walks the walk.

In addition to animals, Betty White always stood against racial injustice and as I mentioned, her show was eventually canceled because she refused to adhere to the public’s pressure to fire an African-American cast member.

White has also always been an advocate for the LGBT community and thought that if a same-sex couple wanted to get married they should be allowed that right.

Seventeen Days Shy Of Reaching 100

While the world was racing into 2022, hoping to see Betty welcome her 100th year, she had other plans. On December 31, 2021 she passed away in her home from natural causes. The outpouring of grief and good memories from celebrities and nearly all of the general public was overwhelming.

Perhaps Ryan Reynolds said it best in his tweet following her death:

She managed to grow very old and somehow, not old enough. Couldn’t be more true. RIP Betty, I hope you and Allen had a rockin’ New Year’s Eve Party.

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About The Author
Jaime Garza
Jaime Garza
Jaime Garza is a member of the Manopause Team who happens to be well-versed in the language of cocktails and alcohol. She graduated from UCLA with a degree in history, and found herself behind the stick, slinging drinks for nearly 8 years (clearly using that fancy degree). Writing has always been one of her hobbies, and now she’s combining her talents to bring you A+ booze knowledge and some incredible recipes.
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