Betty White obituary | US television

Though she shall be greatest remembered for enjoying the naive Rose Nylund within the hit comedy The Golden Women (1985-92), Betty White, who has died aged 99, was for seven many years one of many best-loved performers on US television, a consummate skilled who received eight Emmy awards, the primary and final separated by greater than 60 years. She was additionally a pioneer, within the Fifties one of many first girls producing television, and, 30 years later, the primary feminine recreation present host, dubbed a “femcee”.

All 4 lead actors on The Golden Women received greatest actress Emmys, however White’s got here first, in 1986. This can be as a result of she performed in opposition to kind; Rose was the other of her position on the Mary Tyler Moore Present, as Sue Ann Nivens (1973-77), who hid her conniving nature beneath a sugary floor, whereas performing because the Pleased Homemaker on the TV station the place Mary labored.

From 1983 to 1986 White and Rue McClanahan performed collectively in Mama’s Household, a by-product from the Carol Burnett Present; once they left to hitch The Golden Women, McClanahan, who had been the naive foil to Bea Arthur on Maude, was forged as Rose, with White set to play the man-chasing Blanche. The director Jay Sandrich steered the 2 ought to swap elements, and the chemistry was instantly profitable.

Betty White, centre standing, with from left: Estelle Getty, Bea Arthur and Rue McLanahan in The Golden Girls, 1985.
Betty White, centre standing, with from left: Estelle Getty, Bea Arthur and Rue McClanahan in The Golden Women, 1985. {Photograph}: Cinetext/Allstar

Born in Oak Park, Illinois, Betty moved together with her mother and father, Horace White, an engineer, and Tess (nee Cachikis), to Los Angeles in the course of the Despair, and graduated in 1939 from Beverly Hills highschool; her colleagues in class theatre included the long run movie star Rhonda Fleming. She carried out on an experimental Los Angeles television channel that yr, however made her formal performing debut on the Bliss Hayden Little Theatre.


In the course of the second world struggle she served within the Ladies’s Voluntary Companies, making her film debut in Time to Kill (1945), a brief produced to tell servicemen about navy instructional programmes; the forged included Jackie Cooper, George Reeves (later TV’s first Superman), DeForest Kelley (later Bones on Star Trek) and Barry Nelson. She additionally was married, briefly, to Dick Barker, an Air Corps pilot.

After elements in radio reveals corresponding to Archie and the Nice Gildersleeve, she received her personal native programme, the primary of 4 Betty White reveals by which she would star. In 1947 she married the agent Lane Allen; they divorced in 1949. That yr one other native radio star, Al Jarvis, was presenting a spread present referred to as Hollywood On Television, and employed White as his “lady Friday”, enjoying data and doing commercials and interviews. When Jarvis left the present in 1952, White took over because the host.

She additionally joined the author George Tibbles and producer Don Fedderson in a manufacturing firm, making an attempt to create reveals from the sketches by which she acted on her programme. Life With Elizabeth debuted in 1952, and, syndicated across the nation, turned a right away hit, successful White her first Emmy.

As a co-producer, White adopted Lucille Ball, nevertheless it could possibly be argued she had extra inventive management over her product than Lucy did in Desilu. Life With Elizabeth ran till 1955; throughout 1954, White concurrently offered her personal selection present, her second Betty White present. She created one other sitcom, Date With the Angels, in 1957; when her co-star Invoice Williams left in 1958, it too turned The Betty White Present earlier than it was cancelled.

The Betty White Show, 1958, with Boris Karloff.
The Betty White Present, 1958, with Boris Karloff. {Photograph}: ABC/Getty Pictures

White turned to recreation reveals and late-night speak, significantly as a frequent visitor on Jack Paar’s present, a forerunner of The Tonight Present, and an everyday on Password, with whose host, Allen Ludden, she had acted in summer time inventory. Ludden additionally hosted the GE School Bowl, from which College Problem took its format. White and Ludden have been married from 1961 till his dying in 1981.

In 1962 she made her function movie debut, enjoying a senator in Advise and Consent, however though she turned in a stable efficiency, it might be 36 years earlier than White returned to the massive display screen. Within the meantime, her friendship with Password’s creator, Bob Stewart, and its producers, Mark Goodson and Invoice Todman, saved her busy on their different reveals, corresponding to What’s My Line?, To Inform the Fact, and Password’s many successors. She remained in demand as a visitor star, and in 1971 produced and hosted a syndicated present that includes interviews with celebrities and their pets, referred to as The Pet Set.

Her profession was reborn in 1973 when she debuted as Sue Ann within the Mary Tyler Moore Present’s third season, employed as a result of she and Ludden have been pleasant with the present’s producer Grant Tinker, who noticed that the script referred to as for Sue Ann to be performed by “an icky-sweet Betty White kind”. She received Emmys as greatest supporting actress in 1975 and 1976.

When the present resulted in 1977, she started her fourth Betty White present, a sitcom which co-starred John Hillerman, however lasted just one season. She acted in quite a lot of TV films earlier than, in 1983 , changing into the primary lady to host a recreation present with Simply Males!, by which a panel of males helped girls win automobiles. She picked up a daytime Emmy, her fourth general.

Betty White and James Spader in Boston Legal, 2005.
Betty White and James Spader in Boston Authorized, 2005. {Photograph}: Ron Tom/ABC/Getty Pictures

She had a recurring position on The Love Boat earlier than making her mark once more in Mama’s Household, which led to The Golden Women. With the present’s success White printed her first memoir, Betty White In Individual (1987). When Bea Arthur left The Golden Women in 1992, the opposite three leads continued in The Golden Palace for 2 seasons. White confirmed no indicators of slowing down, as indicated by the title of her second e book, Right here I Go Once more: My Life In Television (1995). She took an element within the Marie Osmond collection Possibly This Time (1995-96) and was busier than ever as a visitor, successful her sixth Emmy as greatest guest-star on The John LaRoquette Present (1996).

In 1999 she started two seasons of enjoying mom to a single father (Alfred Molina) in Women Man. She appeared as Catherine Piper in David E Kelley’s collection The Follow and its spin off, Boston Authorized, and in 2006 made her cleaning soap opera debut on The Daring and the Lovely, because the mom of the present’s matriarch. She proved so standard her position was prolonged for 3 seasons, till 2009. She started one other TV sitcom, Scorching in Cleveland, in 2010, on the age of 88, and it ran for 5 collection.

In the meantime she returned to the massive display screen in Dennis the Menace Strikes Once more (1998). Among the many movies that adopted, her greatest roles have been in Lake Placid (1999) and The Proposal (2009).

In 2010, after a Fb marketing campaign, she turned the oldest particular person to host Saturday Evening Stay, quipping that at her age she contacted previous buddies not with Fb however with a ouija board. She received a Primetime Emmy for this look and in 2015 an Emmy lifetime achievement award.


Outdoors the leisure business, she was lively in animal charities and the Los Angeles Zoo – Betty and Pals: My Life on the Zoo, was printed in 2011. She instructed the Chicago Solar-Occasions that, in addition to for her performing, “I additionally need to be remembered as a woman who helped the animals.”

Betty Marion White, actor and producer, born 17 January 1922; died 31 December 2021

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