Betty White: America’s Icon

The world shook on December 31, 2021, when Betty White, household name for nearly seven decades, had been found dead by paramedics in her home. Older than sliced bread, colored television, and bubble gum, White had lived through happy times and sad. Here are some of the highlights of White’s life, career and legacy. 

White was born as Betty Marion White on January 17, 1922 in Oak Park, Illinois. Before White was a world renowned actress, she was an animal activist. 

New York Post

“I just like animals better than people,” White once stated. “It’s that simple.”

In the wake of White’s death, fans and friends of White have decided to band together to donate to local animal shelters in the name of White. This trend has been labeled the #BettyWhiteChallenge and donations will be made on the late actresses’ 100th birthday.

White began her journey to stardom in 1939 when she tackled the world of modeling. Not long after, White’s charisma and unique personality led her to be cast in various radio programs, game shows, plays, and sitcoms and she soon became the face of television broadcast.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show

During the second World War, White served in the Women’s Voluntary Services, making her movie debut in Time to Kill (1945). Working her way up the ladder, White eventually gained her breakthrough role as Sue Ann Nivans in the 1970’s hit “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”

However, White truly made her mark in television in 1985 when she was cast as Rose Nylund in the hit television show The Golden Girls. White touched many lives and many hearts during her seven seasons on the show, and beyond.

“I used to watch The Golden Girls reruns with my grandma,” said Emily Vance, lifelong fan of White. “I can’t believe Betty died.”

Before White’s remarkable work in The Golden Girls, White hosted a daily television show on NBC. One of the entertainers on the show, Arthur Duncan, was a person of color. Producers of the show demanded he be removed from the cast list in order for the show to continue. White did not oblige. 

“I said, ‘I’m sorry, but, you know, he stays,'” she said. “‘Live with it.'”

The show was canceled months after Duncan’s debut appearance. White never regretted a thing. 

Not only was White admired by the world, she was also admired by her late husband Allen Ludden. Ludden was known as an American personality, actor, emcee, game show host, and the love of White’s life. Ever since Ludden’s death in 1981, White spoke publicly about not fearing death because it would mean she would be able to reunite with her love. 

It is no doubt that White left Earth peacefully with her eight Emmy Awards, three American Comedy Awards, three Screen Actors Guild Awards, a Grammy Award, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, inductee to the 1995 Television Hall of Fame, and the knowledge of the grand impact that she made on society.