Betty White won five Primetime Emmys, one competitive Daytime Emmy, a lifetime achievement Daytime Emmy, and was even certified as the longest ever female entertainer in the Guinness World Records. But did you know of her other achievements?
Aside from being the national treasure of the US, Betty White was the first woman to produce a national TV show and was also the first to receive an Emmy nomination in the history of TV. Breaking barriers for women in a male-dominated industry.
The Early Life of Betty White
Elizabeth Marion White was born on January 17, 1922, in Oak Park, Illinois. She was the only child of Christine and Horace White. Their family moved to Alhambra California in 1923, when she was just over a year old. They relocated to Los Angeles during the great depression. In order to make extra money, her father built and sold crystal radios. During that time, it was quite difficult to make any money. He would trade the radios for other goods, and even dogs.
White graduated from the Beverly Hills Highschool in 1939. She was very interested in wildlife after going on vacations to the Sierra Nevada. Because of this interest, she aspired to become a forest ranger but was not able to accomplish this goal since women were not allowed to serve as rangers back then. Instead, she pursued writing and later on decided to start a career in acting. (Source: New York Times)
Betty White and Her Iconic Roles
In her 8-decade career, White had several roles that truly made a mark in our lives. Here are some of those iconic characters we love.
Elizabeth on Life With Elizabeth
In one of the earliest sitcoms, White played a kind-of-Lucy-Ricardo clone from 1952 to 1955. Her character always came up with schemes and tricks on her husband.
Originally it was done as a live show in a music hall theater in Beverly Hills and it wasn’t recorded, just went out live on television. One time, the actor who played, her husband forgot his lines and left for a minute and a half, and she had to play with things on a table until he came back.Ray Richmond, Betty White: 100 Remarkable Moments in an Extraordinary Life
Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
White’s character on the show was a wholesome, cheerful, proto-Martha Steward. She was not part of the original cast but ended up earning two Emmy Awards.
It was supposed to be a one-shot guest spot, and she got such great laughs they had to keep writing her in. She was at a point in her career where she’d become a regular celebrity contestant and people were forgetting she was an actor.Ray Richmond, Betty White: 100 Remarkable Moments in an Extraordinary Life
Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls
White originally auditioned to play Blanche on the series but was cast as Rose, the total opposite of Sue Ann. Switching things up truly played well for her career.
Betty didn’t think she could do Rose; she didn’t think she could do kind and naïve. he ended up nailing it. Arguably Rose’s role is the toughest because she didn’t have natural punchlines. She had to act, it was all in the nuance.Ray Richmond, Betty White: 100 Remarkable Moments in an Extraordinary Life