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Women to Admire: Betty White

We’re not joking, actress and comedienne Betty White is one of the hippest, most-celebrated entertainers of our time. The nonagenarian continues to inspire us with both her wit and charm. Read on to learn more about her storied life and career.

Her Personal Life and Start as an Actress

Betty Marion White Ludden was born in Illinois in 1922. She was married twice in the 1940s but both marriages ended in divorce. In 1963, she married Allen Ludden, a TV game show host that she remarked was the love of her life. They never had children together but she was the stepmother to his three children from a previous marriage. Allen and Betty were married until his death in 1981.

She got her start in acting on the 1950s show Life with Elizabeth. She was both the star and a producer of this short-lived series. From there, she continued to expand to make a name for herself by appearing on talk shows and game shows. However, it wasn’t until the 1970s that her career really took off.

Where You’ve Seen Her

Betty is, perhaps, best known for her roles on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Golden Girls, two long-running television sitcoms. On The Mary Tyler Moore Show (which ran from 1970 to 77; however Betty was only on from 73-77), she played Sue Ann Nivens, who herself was a television star as the host of The Happy Homemaker. The Nivens character projected a perfect social appearance; however, she was actually a cynical spirit with an interesting home life. On Golden Girls (which ran from 1985-92), Betty was the delightful ditz, Rose Nylund. This was a role she took on in her 60s, and it continued to propel her career.

A Lasting Career

In the movie world, Betty is remembered for appearance alongside Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock in The Proposal in 2009. In 2010, she became the oldest host of Saturday Night Live at the age of 88. She has been nominated for 24 Emmys and won 8. She is also in the Television Hall of Fame. Most recently she was honored at the 2018 Emmys as a celebration of her work. In her speech, she charmed the crowd with humor and grace—as she has done throughout her life.