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Betty White Died Days Before Her 100th Birthday: A Look Back at Her Incredible Life and Career

Legendary actress and comedian Betty White led an incredible life filled with major accomplishments before passing on, days before becoming a centenarian.

Since embracing showbiz in the forties, Betty White has remained Hollywood’s “golden girl,” thanks to her outstanding beauty, admirable talents, and impeccable on-screen performances.

Slowly and steadily, this prolific actress and comedy genius climbed the Hollywood ladder, eventually becoming one of the most sought-after figures in showbiz. The star basked in her iconic fame until her final passing in 2021.

As the world mourns the loss of the rare gem, let’s take a walk down memory lane, reliving Betty White’s incredible life and exploring her infamous achievements.

Who Was Betty White?

Betty White is widely regarded as a Hollywood legend, with a career spanning over eight decades. She made a name for herself as a pioneer of early television through her works in the industry, earning her the title of “The First Lady of Television.”

Throughout her career, the icon has starred in several television shows, movies, game shows, talk shows, variety shows as well as numerous stage performances. She also has a reputation as the 4th Mayor of Hollywood and the oldest cast member of “SNL,” having joined the cast at 88.

Some of Betty White’s most notable movie appearances include “The Proposal,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Life With Elizabeth,” “The Golden Girls,” “Mama’s Family,” “The Bold And The Beautiful,” and “Boston Legal,” among others.

Betty White’s Early Life: The Beginning Of An Adventurous Life

White came into the world on January 17, 1922, in Oak Park, Illinois. The only child of Christine Tess and Horace Logan White, the icon grew up traveling with her parents on adventurous family vacations to the Sierra Nevada.

These vacations would go on to spark the icon’s interest in Wildlife. Growing up, White aspired to become a forest ranger but had no chance to fulfill her dreams due to gender stereotypes.

She soon turned her interest to writing, which ultimately triggered her decision to take up an acting career.

Betty White’s Career Beginnings

White forayed into the entertainment industry in 1939, right after graduating high school. She worked as a model before landing her first acting gig at the Bliss Hayden Little Theatre.

The “Blondie” star took time off from acting during the Second World War and volunteered for American Women’s Voluntary Services. She returned to her roots soon enough, embracing acting again right after the war.

White tried out several movie auditions but received repeated rejections for not being photogenic. The multiple failures led her to seek a career in radio, eventually snagging a chance to co-host “Hollywood On Television,” alongside Al Jarvis.

Rise To Stardom

In the early fifties, White launched her first television series, “Life With Elizabeth,” alongside George Tibbles. She went on to star as the man-hungry Sue Ann Nivens in the 70s show, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” skyrocketing her to stardom.

The legend continued making waves in the industry, with appearances on her own CBS sitcom, “The Betty White Show,” “Mama’s Family,” “The Golden Girl,” “Nurses,” “Hot In Cleveland,” and her 2009 hit, “The proposal.”

Additionally, she hosted shows like “Saturday Night Live,” also appearing severally on “Password,” “The Tonight Show,” “What’s My Line,” “To Tell The Truth,” and “Pyramid.”

Betty White’s Achievements

Thanks to her numerous film and television appearances, the comedian has bagged tons of awards and accolades throughout her acting and comedic career.

She boasts of five Primetime Emmy Awards, two Daytime Emmys, two Screen Actors’ Guild Awards, four TV Land Awards, and a Grammy Award.

In 2009, White was honored with the Screen Actors’ Guild Life Achievement Award. She received the Britannia Awards a year later before finally snagging her Daytime Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015, representing her second Daytime Emmy.

The icon has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at Hollywood Boulevard and became a television Hall of Famer following her 1995 induction.

Betty White’s Personal Life

The actress tied the knot three times in her lifetime. Her first marriage was to United States Army Air Force pilot Dick Barker, whom she met while volunteering during World War II.

They married after the war in 1945 and moved to Ohio where Barker ran a chicken farm. Unsatisfied with the simple life, White pushed for their move to Los Angeles where she could pursue her entertainment career. However, the pair divorced that same year.

Two years after ending her first marriage, the star married Hollywood talent agent Lane Allen. White’s second husband wanted her to drop her career and focus on family. However, she chose her career instead, leading to their divorce in 1949.

How Betty White Met Her Third Husband

Love came knocking again in the early sixties, after meeting TV host Allen Ludden during an appearance on the game show, “Password.”

Betty White and Allen Ludden | image: Pinterest
Image: Pinterest

The pair tied the knot in 1963 and lived in marital bliss until Ludden’s death from stomach cancer in June 1981.

Notably, White never had kids in her lifetime but remained a lovable stepmom to her husband’s three children from a previous marriage.

Betty White’s Death

White led a successful life, attaining the peak of her career and earning the Guinness World Record for Longest TV career by a female entertainer.

Notably, she remained active in the industry until her death. The Hollywood legend died on December 31, 2021, at the age of 99.

How Did Betty White Pass Away?

Reports showed the star, who enjoyed impeccable health throughout her long years with no underlying ailments died of natural causes. Emergency responders found her in her home on a fateful morning during a routine check.

Her death came as a shock, as the star was only two weeks away from her 100th birthday, which she looked forward to and had been planning in a big way.

A screening event was planned to mark her centenary milestone. The movie, “Betty White; 100 Years Young – A Birthday Celebration,” was scheduled for January 17th, to screen in 900 theaters across the country.

The film producers confirmed the screening event would hold as planned as a celebration of the actress’ life. However, the initial plans to show live footage of her 100th birthday would be forfeited.

White Was An Animal Lover

While White never had a chance to fulfill her dreams of becoming a forest ranger, she never gave up her love for wildlife.

In fact, one of the major highlights of the movie marking her centenary celebration focused on her animal advocacy. She remained dedicated to animal welfare throughout her life, famously admitting she preferred animals to people.

The icon contributed to several animal rescue charities and received numerous accolades for her philanthropic works for animals. Hers was indeed a life well lived!.

Judith
Judith
Judith is an experienced writer, a thespian, and a creator with background knowledge in science and environmental technology. Her love for science led her to obtain a BSc. Degree in Microbiology. She also boasts of a certificate in Desktop Publishing. Driven by her passion for sustaining the environment, she explored environmental health-related courses like Health Safety & Environment and Environmental Impact Assessment. Her knowledge in these fields has helped her organize events and seminars over the years to create awareness about the detrimental impact of global warming and climate change in a bid to save the planet. When she's not saving the world, you can find Judith exploring new places, meeting people, embarking on adrenaline-pumping adventures, and creating things. Judith's numerous interests informed her love for writing. To her, writing is more than information-dissemination. It is an art that enables her to live out the best of both worlds by putting them into words. She loves writing about entertainment gist, celebrity gossip, useful life hacks, DIY projects, scripts, educational pieces on environmental protection, and advancement in medicine.
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