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Betty White is a comedic actress who has been in show business, from TV to film, since the 1950s, most notably on The Golden Girls.
Betty White - Mini Biography (3:28)
Though Betty White has always looked like the sugary sweet girl-next-door, her comedic talents often tap into her acid wit.
Betty White is best known for her roles on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "The Golden Girls." She has appeared for decades on talk shows and game shows and spends her free time advocating for animals.
During an era that showcased actresses in young wives and mother roles, "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" revolutionized the image of women on TV.
For Bea Arthur, it all changed when she was offered a job on the show All In The Family. The show began her career as a woman not afraid to talk about controversial issues such as abortion.
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Born January 17, 1922, in Oak Park, Illinois, Betty White has been in show business since the 1950s. In these 50-odd years, White has appeared in sitcoms, on game shows, and, most recently, on Saturday Night Live as the host, after a Facebook-fueled effort to get her to host the show.
Born on January 17, 1922, in Oak Park, Illinois. She grew up as the only child of Horace and Tess White, an electrical engineer and a homemaker. When she was two, she moved to Los Angeles with her family.
White got her start working as an assistant at a local television station. In the early 1950s, she launched her first television series, Life with Elizabeth, which she developed with George Tibbles. "He wrote and I produced," White explained to The Hollywood Reporter. "I was one of the first women producers in Hollywood." The show's premise came from a sketch she had done previously on local television.
Continuing to work in television, White made guest appearances on such shows as The United States Steel Hour and Petticoat Junction. She was also a favorite of talk-show host Jack Paar, who often had her on the Tonight Show, and she made regular appearances on game shows such as Password. She met her third husband, Allen Ludden, on that show in 1961.
White's career received an enormous boost from her next television series, The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Playing Sue Ann Nivens, White showed audiences that behind her sweet smile lay a sharp wit. Her character served as a co-worker to the show's star, Mary Tyler Moore, in a Minneapolis television newsroom. When she wasn't pursuing her male colleagues, Sue Ann could be counted on to make funny, yet pointed, quips at Moore's expense. White won two Emmy Awards for her work on the series.
In sharp contrast to her Sue Ann character, White played the sweet and naive Rose Nylund on the popular 1980s sitcom The Golden Girls, along with co-stars Rue McClanahan, Bea Arthur and Estelle Getty. The show looked at the lives of four, elderly, female friends, and its success proved that there was an audience for programs featuring older characters. The series landed among the top-ranked shows during its seven seasons on the air, and it won numerous awards, including another Emmy Award for White.
After The Golden Girls went off the air in 1992, White appeared in the short-lived spin-off, Golden Palace. She had better luck as a guest star, appearing on numerous television series. She even played herself on The John Larroquette Show in 1996, which earned her another Emmy Award-win. More recently, White enjoyed recurring roles on David E. Kelley's Boston Legal and on the soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful.
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