10 Fun Facts About Betty White

In honor of the ever-sassy celebrity of The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Golden Girls’s 97th birthday, let celebrate with an assortment of interesting facts about her life and her legacy.

1. HER NAME IS ACTUALLY BETTY, NOT ELIZABETH

On January 17th, 1922, at Oak Park, Illinois, the upcoming tv celebrity was born Betty Marion White, the sole child of homemaker Christine Tess (née Cachikis) and light firm executive Horace Logan White. Within her autobiography If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won’t), White clarified her parents called her “Betty” especially because they did not like a lot of the nicknames derived from “Elizabeth.” Forget your Beths, your Liza, your Ellies. She is Betty.

2. SHE’S A GUINNESS WORLD RECORD HOLDER.

From the 2014 edition of this record-keeping tome, White was given the name of Longest TV Career for an Entertainer (Female) for more than 70 years (and counting) in show business. The year before, Guinness gave away Longest TV Career to an Entertainer (Man ) to long-time British TV host Bruce Forsyth. As both started their careers in 1939, they would be neck-and-neck for its name, were they not separated by gender.

3. HER FIRST TELEVISION APPEARANCE IS LOST TO HISTORY.

Even White cannot recall the title of the series that she made her screen debut on in 1939. However, in an interview with Guinness Book of World Records, she proclaimed that the life-changing occasion, stating, “I danced on an experimental TV show, the first on the west coast, in downtown Los Angeles. I wore my high school graduation dress and our Beverly Hills High student body president, Harry Bennett, and I danced the ‘Merry Widow Waltz.'”

4. WHITE’S INITIAL RISE TO STARDOM WAS DERAILED BY WORLD WAR II.

Before she took off on television, White was working in theatre, on the radio and also as a model. However, with WWII, she shelved her aspirations and joined the American Women’s Voluntary Services. Her days were dedicated to delivering supplies through PX truck during the Hollywood Hills, but her nights have been spent rousing dances thrown to provide expansive send-offs to soldiers place to ship out. Of that era, she informed Cleveland Magazine, “It was a strange time and out of balance with everything.”

5. HER FIRST SITCOM HIT WAS IN THE EARLY 1950S.

Co-hosting the Al Jarvis series Hollywood on Television contributed to White making her own car, Life With Elizabeth. As a rare female producer, she developed the series together with emerging writer-producer George Tibbles, who would go to work on these cherished shows such as Dennis The Menace, Leave It To Beaver, and The Munsters. Although the series isn’t recalled much now, in 1951 it did make White her first Emmy nomination of 21 (thus far). Of these, she’s won five times.

6. WHITE LOVES A PARADE.

But that is not all. For 20 years (1956-1976), she was also a color commentator for NBC’s yearly Tournament of Roses Parade. However, since her popularity grew on CBS’s The Mary Tyler Moore Show, NBC decided they need to pull White (and most of the rival advertising that came together with her) in their own parade. It was a conclusion which was dreadful for White, who told Individuals , “On New Year’s Day I just sat home feeling wretched, watching someone else do my parade.”

7. SHE HAS BEEN MARRIED THREE TIMES.

White and her husband, Dick Barker, were wed and divorced in precisely the same year, 1945. After four weeks on Barker’s rural Ohio poultry farm, White returned into Los Angeles and her career as an entertainer. She would not marry again until 1963 after she fell for widower/father of all three/game reveal host Allen Ludden.

8. HER MEET-CUTE WITH HUSBAND NUMBER THREE HAPPENED ON PASSWORD.

Bubbly Betty was often on the game show circuit, but she met her demise in 1961 when she was a guest star on Password, hosted by Allen Ludden. Though White originally rebuffed Ludden’s engagement ring (he wore it on his throat till she changed her mind), the couple remained together until his death in 1981. Now, their stars on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame sit side-by-side.

9. WHITE ORIGINALLY AUDITIONED FOR THE ROLE OF BLANCHE ON THE GOLDEN GIRLS.

Producers of the show thought of White to the function of the outfit’s promiscuous party woman because she had played with the sensual Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. They eyed Rue McClanahan for the component of innocent country bumpkin Rose Nylund due to her job as the candy but dopey Vivian Harmon on Maude. Director Jay Sandrich was concerned about typecasting, therefore he asked both to change parts in the audition. And like this, The Golden Girls background has been created.

10. IF SHE HADN’T BEEN AN ACTOR, SHE’D HAVE BEEN A ZOOKEEPER.

“Hands down,” she confessed in a 2014 interview. This should come as little surprise to those aware of White’s reputation as an avid animal lover and activist. Not only does she try to visit the local zoo of wherever she may travel, but also she’s a supporter of the Farm Animal Reform Movement and Friends of Animals group, as well as a Los Angeles Zoo board member, who has donated“tens of thousands of dollars” over the past 40 years. In 2010, White founded a T-shirt line whose profits go to the Morris Animal Foundation.

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