Betty White is a comedic genius who's talents age as well as she does.
She was born June 17, 1922 in Oak Park Illinois in 1922, but moved to Los Angeles when she was two years old. White attended Beverley Hills High School and she is one of an elite group of alumni in show business.
Other Beverley Hills High School graduates include Nicolas Cage, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Cooper, Rob Reiner, Pauly Shore and Albert Brooks.
Betty was married three times. The first was short lived (6 months) to Dick Barker in 1945. Then she married Lane Alan in 1947. That marriage lasted two years. Her final marriage was to Allen Ludden in 1963.
She met Ludden when he was hosting the TV game show Password and she was a celebrity guest. He died of cancer in 1981. She never remarried.
Betty White From Radio to Television
During World War II Betty joined the Women's Voluntary Services. She worked on radio shows like "This Is Your FBI", "The Great Gildersleeve" and "Blondie". Eventually she got her own program called, appropriately enough, The Betty White Show".
While Betty was enjoying success in radio, her heart was in television. In 1952 she starred in the TV show "Life With Elizabeth". The comedy ran for three years and was created under her own production company. In 1957-1958 she appeared as Vicki Angel in the comedy show "Date With The Angels".
Throughout the 1960's Betty was best know for her appearances on game shows including "What's My Line", "Match Game", "To Tell The Truth", "Pyramid", "I've Got A Secret" and "Password". It was during her many performances on Password she met Alan Ludden. They married in 1963.
Betty White - The 1970s
In 1973 Betty White was offered a small role on the wildly popular "Mary Tyler Moore Show". She played Sue Ann Nivens, the host of "The Happy Homemaker". The character was an instant hit and Betty joined the cast in a full time position.
Sue Ann Nivens was as sweet as apple pie on camera and as sour as vinegar off the set which provided great comic relief.
In 1977 Betty had her own comedy show "The Betty White Show". The program only lasted one season.
Betty White - The 1980s
In 1983 Betty began a two year stint playing Ellen Harper Jackson. The cast included Rue McClanahan who would later go on to co-star with Betty on "The Golden Girls" After more than 40 years in television Betty was a familiar face on the small screen but still hadn't achieved major fame and fortune. That was about to change.
In 1985 Betty was offered a role in a new television sitcom called "The Golden Girls". Initially she was cast as Blanche Devereaux, the sexy, man-hungry southern belle, but producers thought the character was too much like Sue Ann Nivens on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show".
Rue McClanahan was originally cast as Rose Nylund, the very naive and trusting woman from St. Olaf, Minnesota, a character similar to the one she played on "Maude".
The two switched roles and a successful television show was born. The series was set in Florida and followed the lives of four aging but feisty women.
"The Golden Girls" also starred Beatrice Arthur and Estelle Getty. Arthur left the show in 1992 and the other three cast members reprised the characters in a new and short-lived show "The Golden Palace.
Betty outlived all the other major stars on "The Golden Girls". Estelle Getty died in July 2008, Bea Arthur in April 2009, and Rue McLanahan in June 2010.
Betty White - The 1990's and Onward
She had a short lived role on the TV soap opera "The Bold And The Beautiful". She began in 2006 and appeared in less than two dozen episodes before her character was killed off from pancreatic cancer in 2009.
White returned to a spinoff of "Password" in 2008. The new show was called "Million Dollar Password".
In May 2010, after a half million people petitioned NBC to have Betty host "Saturday Night Live" she was offered the job. At 88 she is the oldest person to host the popular comedy sketch program.
Also in 2010 she began the role of Elka Ostrovsky in the sitcom "Hot In Cleveland". Elka is sharp, sassy and quick to open her mouth before her brain kicks in.
In the sitcom she is cast with three other strong comedic actresses. Valeri Bertinelli plays Melanie Moretti who is recovering from a bad divorce, but ready to move on. Jane Leeves is Joy Scroggs a single British beautician who must find a way to stay in the U.S. Wendy Malick plays Victoria Chase, an actress in a soap opera that's been cancelled. Divorced five times, she's ready to make a comeback on the stage and at the altar.
Along with co-starring on "Hot In Cleveland" Betty launched a new show in April, 2012 called "Off Their Rockers". It's reminiscent of the old "Candid Camera" show. Seniors play pranks on unsuspecting members of the younger generation and it's all caught on hidden camera.
Betty White - Awards
Betty White has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame along side her late husband Allen Ludden.
She has won four Golden Globe Awards. The latest was in 1986 as Female Star of the Year.
Betty has won seven Emmy Awards including Outstanding Game Show Host. Her portrayal of Sue Ann Nivens on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" earned her two Emmys for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Show.
She was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1995. She has also won three American Comedy Awards and even a Teen Choice Award.
Betty has also been recognized repeatedly for her passion for animals.
She is the author of "If You Ask Me: (And of Course You Won't)", "Betty and Friends: My Life at the Zoo", "Betty White Collection-America's Funny Lady" and ""Here We Go Again: My Life in Television".
Her books, television shows and collectables are available on line.
Betty White turned 90 in 2012. It's been an amazing life.