Tv & Movie actress & comedian Betty White, most known for her role in The Golden Girls, dies aged 99. The actor’s career spanned more than 80 years – but it was her role as Rose Nylund in the 1980s sitcom that cemented her status. White, the actor best known for roles in sitcoms The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Golden Girls, died at her home on Friday morning, just two weeks before she would have turned 100. White enjoyed an illustrious career of more than eight decades, receiving eight Emmys, one Grammy and three Screen Actors Guild Awards. Considered a television pioneer, she pushed doors open not only for herself, but for many other women who dreamed of entering the broadcast industry.
Born in Oakland, Illinois, in 1922, White began her career in 1939 singing an abridged version of Franz Lehár’s The Merry Widow on an experimental television transmission. After the second world war, during which she worked with the American Women’s Voluntary Service, White found work appearing on radio shows such as The Great Gildersleeve, and provided voiceovers for radio commercials. She was among the first women to exert control in front of and behind the camera and the first woman to produce a sitcom (Life with Elizabeth), which contributed to her being named honorary Mayor of Hollywood in 1955.
After making the transition to television from radio, White became a staple panelist of American game shows, including Password, Match Game, Tattletales, To Tell the Truth, The Hollywood Squares, and The $25,000 Pyramid; dubbed “the first lady of game shows”, White became the first woman to receive the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host for the show Just Men! in 1983. She was also known for her appearances on The Bold and the Beautiful, Boston Legal, The Carol Burnett Show, and Saturday Night Live. Her most notable roles include Sue Ann Nivens on the CBS sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1973–1977), Rose Nylund on the NBC sitcom The Golden Girls (1985–1992), and Elka Ostrovsky on the TV Land sitcom Hot in Cleveland (2010–2015).
In 1999 she co-starred in Lake Placid as a widow who has been feeding cows to a large crocodile and in 2009, White starred in the romantic comedy The Proposal alongside Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds. White worked longer in television than anyone else in that medium, earning her a Guinness World Record in 2018. While volunteering with the American Women’s Voluntary Services, White met her first husband Dick Barker, a United States Army Air Forces aircraft pilot. In 1947, she married Lane Allen, a Hollywood talent agent. On June 14, 1963, White married television host and personality Allen Ludden, whom she had met on his game show Password as a celebrity guest in 1961, and her legal name was changed to Betty White Ludden. She was for gay rights and a pet enthusiast and animal welfare advocate.