Betty White

Active - 1962 - 2019  |   Born - Jan 17, 1922 in Oak Park, Illinois, United States  |   Died - Dec 31, 2021   |   Genres - Comedy, Children's/Family, Drama

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Biography by AllMovie

Actress Betty White got her start in local Los Angeles television as the "telephone girl" for video emcee Al Jarvis. By early 1950 she was one of the stars of the daily, five-hour series Hollywood on Television. One of the highlights of this program was a husband and wife sketch titled "Life With Elizabeth," which when committed to film and syndicated nationally in 1953 became White's first starring TV sitcom. She went on to headline her own network variety series in 1954, then co-starred with Bill Williams in the weekly TV domestic comedy Date With the Angels (1957), which without Williams was retitled The Betty White Show in early 1958. For the next 15 years she made guest appearances on various variety and quiz show efforts, and toured the straw-hat theatrical circuit in such plays as Critics Choice and Who Was That Lady, often appearing opposite her husband, TV personality Allen Ludden. Two years after hosting the 1971 syndicated informational series The Pet Set, she guest-starred as libidinous "Happy Homemaker" Sue Ann Nivens on the fourth season opener of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. This Emmy-winning episode led to White being cast as an MTM regular; she remained with the series until its final episode in 1977. She then starred on her own short-lived sitcom (again titled The Betty White Show) before returning to the guest-star circuit. In 1985, she joined the cast of TV's The Golden Girls as middle-aged grief counselor Rose Nyland. This top-rated program lasted seven seasons before metamorphosing into the rather less successful Golden Palace (1992). White was a regular on the 1995 series Maybe This Time, and in 1997 she won an Emmy for her one-shot appearance on The John Laroquette Show. She was in the films Hard Rain and The Story of Us, as well as Lake Placid. In 2003 she was cast in Bringing Down the House, and in 2008 provided a voice for the American version of Ponyo.

White developed a new generation in fans when she became the subject of a successful online campaign to get her to host Saturday Night Live - which she did in 2010, along with winning the SAG award for Life time Achievement. The year before, she had a part in the hit Sandra Bullock vehicle The Proposal. She also became the star of year another successful TV show when she was cast in the female-centric sitcom Hot in Cleveland. She lent her voice to the 2012 adaptation of The Lorax.

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  • First TV job was as a girl Friday at KLAC, a local Los Angeles station, in 1949. 
  • Met future husband Allen Ludden when she appeared on Password in 1961.
  • Won a 1983 Daytime Emmy as Outstanding Host for Just Men!
  • Inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1995.
  • A renowned animal-rights activist, she was named Ambassador to the Animals by the Los Angeles Zoo in 2006.
  • Has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and received a TV Land pop-culture award.
  • In 2010, at 88, became the oldest Saturday Night Live guest host, and copped an Emmy for her appearance.
  • Also in 2010, took on the role of Elka in the sitcom Hot in Cleveland.
  • Named an honorary forest ranger in 2010.