The centurion status eluded Betty White after she passed at 99, weeks before her 100th birthday, and we have compiled 10 of her most astonishing career highlights for you to remember her by.
‘Iconic’ does not do the comedian and actress justice after she spent nearly 70 years entertaining the world. Tributes pouring in from several notable figures in the film and TV world also attest to her prominence.
Although Jeff Witjas, her agent, broke the news on Friday 31 December 2021, he did not mention any cause of death. Instead, he only lamented her passing, saying that White had been so full of life. “Even though Betty was about to be 100, I thought she would live forever,” he told People magazine.
See 10 career highlights of Betty White
1. Her journey to become a performer and entertainer began after she chose writing because women were not allowed to serve as forest rangers during her youth, which was her dream career.
2. Betty White first appeared on a radio program in 1930 as an eight-year-old guest caller before she and her high school friend sang songs from Franz Lehar’s The Merry Widow for an experimental television show. Her first professional job in the entertainment industry was as a model at the Bliss Hayden Little Theatre.
3. Initially, she tried to get into the movie and TV industry but was told that she was not photogenic enough, a criterion for acting in those days. But, her desire to entertain was so great that she turned to the radio world and would even sing for free just to have a part to play in production.
4. White’s break came she took over the Hollywood on Television show from Al Jarvis in 1952, after working with him as co-host for three years. Also, by that time, she had appeared in some TV shows and even got a nomination at the 1951 Emmy Award for Best Actress.
5. From 1952 on, she was mostly known for her TV roles and even earned the nickname “First Lady of Game Shows” because of her work on American game shows like Password, Match Game, Tattletales, To Tell the Truth, The Hollywood Squares, and The $25,000 Pyramid. She became the first woman to win a Daytime Emmy Award in the category of Outstanding Game Show Host for the NBC Just Men! show in 1983.
6. It was not until 1985 that she hit it big with her role as Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls series, and from then until its season finale in 1992, Betty White was nominated in the Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series category at the Emmy Awards every year. Although, she only won it once.
7. Additionally, despite beginning to appear in major roles in films around 1986, at age 64, White managed to appear in over 30 of them; sometimes, she was in three films in one year!
8. In 2013, Guinness World Record recognized her as the record-holder for Longest TV Career for an Entertainer (Female). At the time, she had been active for 74 years (1939 – 2013).
9. In all, she received eight Emmy Awards in different categories, three American Comedy Awards, three Screen Actors Guild Awards, and a Grammy Award. Also, she has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was a Television Hall of Fame inductee as well.
10. Part of Betty White’s career highlight is her love for animals, as she once expressed that if she could choose another line of work, she would opt to be a zookeeper. She appeared in documentaries, films, and shows about animals, both pets and rescued ones. Not to forget, she was a gay rights supporter, and her iconic quote from 2010, when interviewed by Parade, goes this way: “I don’t care who anybody sleeps with. If a couple has been together all that time—and there are gay relationships that are more solid than some heterosexual ones—I think it’s fine if they want to get married. I don’t know how people can get so anti-something. Mind your own business, take care of your affairs, and don’t worry about other people so much.”
Tributes to Betty White
After such an amazing run in the entertainment industry, it is only right that Betty White passing before her 100th birthday cause a pause. Here is what some of her colleagues said about her.
Ryan Reynolds Tweeted:
Oprah Winfrey said:
Seth Meyers remembers her crushing positive attitude in these words: “RIP Betty White, the only SNL host I ever saw get a standing ovation at the after party. A party at which she ordered a vodka and a hotdog and stayed til the bitter end. [sic]”
Former First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama also said: “Betty White broke barriers, defied expectations, served her country, and pushed us all to laugh. Barack and I join so many around the world who will miss the joy she brought to the world. I know our Bo is looking forward to seeing her up in heaven.” Meanwhile, Joe Biden wrote:
In truth, there will need to be a book on Tribute to Betty White if we are to mention all the stars that honored after her death. She was such an icon and her passing coming just on the last day of 2021 was the last proof that the year was indeed a tough one. Anyway, cheers to 2022, may it be better. You may also like to read our latest article on 5 facts you should know about Angie Kukawski shocking death.