- By Ken Werther
On New Year’s Eve, only 17 days shy of her 100th birthday, the legendary Betty White passed away. She was an infallible star; how often can multiple generations say that about a cherished entertainer? A pioneer of early television with a career spanning seven decades, she made her first TV appearance in 1939 (when actual TVs and broadcasting technology were in their infancy). 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, 1953-55). In the 1960s, she was dubbed ‘The First Lady of Game Shows’ as she appeared regularly on Password, The Match Game, Tattletales, To Tell the Truth, I’ve Got a Secret, and The Hollywood Squares, among others.
She made her first appearance as Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show in 1973. From 1985–92, she was Rose Nyland on The Golden Girls.From 2010–15, she was Elka Ostrovsky on Hot in Cleveland. White worked longer in television than anyone else in the medium, earning a Guinness World Record in 2018. She won eight Emmy Awards, countless others, and in 1995 she was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame. She made feature films, wrote books, and fought tirelessly for animal rights and protections. Betty … I kind of thought you’d never leave us. Thank you for being a friend. Rest well.
Betty White 1922-2021