By: Kate Porcello
At the age of ninety-nine, Betty White passed away on December 31st, 2021. Just seventeen days short of what would have been her one hundredth birthday, the actress and comedian died peacefully in her sleep early that morning. A beloved and celebrated figure, her passing has reached the hearts of many, with fans and supporters reminiscing about her remarkable career. After eighty years of appearing on screen there is no question as to why she was awarded multiple Emmys, a Lifetime Achievement Award, a People’s Choice Award, and much much more.
Betty White was born on January 17th, 1922 in Illinois. Her family moved to Los Angeles during the great depression, and her proximity to nature in the Sierra Nevadas prompted a short-lived dream of becoming a park ranger. Though she soon fell in love with acting, performing in a play she wrote herself. White did not attend college but she did have two marriages, both ending in divorce, as her husbands were not supportive of her dreams in showbusiness.
The “pioneer of early television” formally began her career in the early 1940s, landing small roles on radio and television shows. She later became the host of Hollywood on Television and co-founded Bandy Productions in 1952 so that she could create her own productions. White also starred in Life with Elizabeth which ran for three years and appeared as a frequent guest on the game show Password, hosted by Allen Ludden. Ludden and White married a few years later and stayed together until he passed away in 1981.
Betty White starred in a few more roles, even winning two Emmy Awards for her work in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, before landing her most famous role of Rose Nylund in The Golden Girls. The series follows a group of older women who live in Miami, Florida, and it aired on television from 1985-1992. Betty White was nominated for seven Emmy Awards during this time period and won in 1986 for “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.” White also acted in a spin off series called The Golden Palace for one season.
Although she is no longer with us, Betty White’s legacy will live on in the countless movies, TV shows, and even memoirs she left behind. She is considered to be a “national treasure” by many, and for good reason. Betty White not only influenced the entertainment industry, but also the world as a whole, advocating for inclusivity and always leading by example.