Betty White

Betty White Ludden (born Betty Marion White; January 17, 1922), known professionally as Betty White, is an American actress, animal rights activist, author, comedienne, producer, radio host, singer, and television personality. Regarded as a pioneer of television, White was one of the first women to have control both in front of and behind the camera; and is recognized as the first woman to produce a sitcom, which contributed to her receiving the honorary title as the Mayor of Hollywood in 1955.

She is known for her Emmy Award winning roles as Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1973–77) and Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls (1985–92). The Writers Guild of America has included both sitcoms in its list of the 101 Best Written TV Series Of All Time. A staple guest of many American game shows such as Password, Match Game and The $25,000 Pyramid, White has been dubbed the 'First Lady of Game Shows' and became the first woman to receive an Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host in 1983 for the show Just Men!. From 2010 to 2015, she starred as Elka Ostrovsky in the TV Land sitcom Hot in Cleveland, for which she has won two consecutive Screen Actors Guild Awards, and from 2012 to 2014, she presented the practical-joke show Betty White's Off Their Rockers. In 2010, she became the oldest person to guest-host Saturday Night Live, a performance which earned her a Primetime Emmy Award.

In a career that has spanned more than 75 years, she has received eight Emmy awards, three American Comedy Awards, three Screen Actors Guild awards, and a Grammy.Due to her pioneering efforts in early television and her acting legacy, White has received numerous honorary awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award at the American Comedy Awards (1990), the TCA Career Achievement Award (2009), the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award (2010), the Excellence in Comedy Award at the Britannia Awards (2010), Favorite TV Icon at the People's Choice Awards (2015), and the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Daytime Emmys (2015). She was also inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame in 2008. In 2013, the Guinness World Records recognized White as having the longest television career for a female entertainer.

    Early life

    White was born Betty Marion White in Oak Park, Illinois, on January 17, 1922. She has stated that her legal name is Betty and not a shortened version of Elizabeth. She is the only child of Christine Tess (née Cachikis), a homemaker, and Horace Logan White, a lighting company executive. Her paternal grandfather was Danish and her maternal grandfather was Greek, with her other roots being English and Welsh (both of her grandmothers were Canadian). White's family moved to Los Angeles, California, during the Great Depression. She attended Horace Mann School Beverly Hills and Beverly Hills High School. Hoping to become a writer, she wrote and played the lead in a graduation play at Horace Mann School and discovered her interest in performing. This is where she decided to become an actress. Author Michael McWilliams said in his book TV Sirens, "If Lucille Ball is the Queen of Television, then its Princess is Betty White." But White did not start off as television royalty.

    Entertainment career

    Radio career and television beginnings

    White made rounds to movie studios looking for work, but was always turned down because she was "unphotogenic". So then she started to look for radio jobs where being photogenic did not matter. Her first radio jobs included reading commercials and playing bit parts, and sometimes even doing crowd noises. She made about five dollars a show. She would do just about anything, like singing on a show for no money, or making an appearance on the local game show. White began her television career in 1939, three months after high school graduation, when she and a classmate sang songs from The Merry Widow on an experimental Los Angeles channel. White found work modeling, and her first professional acting job was at the Bliss Hayden Little Theatre. White's career was disrupted immediately, as World War II broke out, causing her to join the American Women's Voluntary Services. In the 1940s, she worked in radio, appearing on shows such as Blondie, The Great Gildersleeve, and This is Your FBI. She then got her own radio show, called The Betty White Show.

    In 1949, she began appearing as co-host with Al Jarvis on his daily live television variety show Hollywood on Television, originally called Al Jarvis' Make-Believe Ballroom on KFWB radio and on KLAC-TV in Los Angeles. White began hosting the show by herself in 1952 after Jarvis' departure, spanning five and a half hours of live ad-lib television six days per week over a contiguous four-year span altogether. In all of her various variety series over the years, White would sing at least a couple of songs during each broadcast. In 1950, Betty was nominated for her first Emmy Award as "Best Actress" on television, competing with such legendary stars as Judith Anderson, Helen Hayes, and Imogene Coca (the award went to Gertrude Berg). This was the very first award and category in the new Emmy history designated for women on television.

    White in the original The Betty White Show, a 1954 daily talk show.

    Life with Elizabeth and television success

    In 1952, the same year that she began hosting Hollywood on Television, White co-founded Bandy Productions with writer George Tibbles and Don Fedderson, a producer. The trio worked to create new shows using existing characters from sketches shown on Hollywood on Television. White, Fedderson, and Tibbles created the television comedy Life with Elizabeth, with White portraying the title role. The show was originally a live production on KLAC-TV in 1951, and won White a Regional Los Angeles Emmy in 1952.Life with Elizabeth was nationally syndicated from 1952 to 1955, allowing White to become one of the few women in television with full creative control in front of and behind the camera. The show was unusual for a sitcom in the 1950s because it was co-produced and owned by a twenty-eight-year-old woman who still lived with her parents. White said they didn't worry about relevance in those days, and that usually the incidents were based on real life situations that happened to her, the actor who played Alvin, and the writer.

    In 1954, she briefly hosted and produced her own daily talk show, The Betty White Show, on NBC (not to be confused with her 1970s sitcom of the same name). Following Life with Elizabeth, she appeared as Vicki Angel on the sitcom Date with the Angels from 1957 to 1958. The show later became another variety series before going off the air. White performed in commercials seen on live television in Los Angeles, including a spirited rendition of the "Dr. Ross Dog Food" advertisement at KTLA during the 1950s.

    She made her feature film debut as Kansas Senator Elizabeth Ames Adams in the 1962 drama, Advise & Consent. Although her performance was well received, it would be her only big-screen appearance for decades.

    White began a nineteen-year run as hostess and commentator on the annual Tournament of Roses Parade broadcast on NBC, often co-hosting with Lorne Greene, in 1956. NBC replaced her in 1975, feeling she was too identified with rival network CBS due to her new found success on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. White admitted to People magazine it was difficult "watching someone else do my parade", although she soon would start a ten-year run as hostess of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade for CBS.

    Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, White appeared on a number of late night talk shows and daytime game shows. White made many appearances on the hit game show Password as a celebrity guest from 1961 through 1975. She married the show's host, Allen Ludden, in 1963. She subsequently appeared on the show's three updated versions Password Plus, Super Password, and Million Dollar Password, having been on versions of the game with five different hosts (Allen Ludden, Bill Cullen, Tom Kennedy, Bert Convy, and Regis Philbin). White made frequent game show appearances on What's My Line? (starting in 1955), To Tell the Truth (in 1961, 1990, and 2015), I've Got a Secret (in 1972–73), Match Game (1973–1982), and Pyramid (starting in 1982). Both Password and Pyramid were created by White's friend, Bob Stewart.

    The Mary Tyler Moore Show

    Betty White and Cloris Leachman in The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1973)

    In 1973, White made a guest appearance in season four of The Mary Tyler Moore Show as The Happy Homemaker. As a result of this appearance, she landed her most significant role at that point as the sardonic, man-hungry Sue Ann Nivens, The Happy Homemaker, on The Mary Tyler Moore Show as a full-time cast member. The running gag was that Sue Ann's hard-edged private personality was the complete opposite of how she presented herself on her show. "We need somebody who can play sickeningly sweet, like Betty White," Moore herself suggested at a production meeting, which resulted in casting White herself. White won two Emmy Awards back-to-back for her role in the hugely popular series.

    White would receive her second and third Emmys from her part on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. White considers her part as Sue Ann in the show one of the highlights of her professional career, but she describes her television image as "icky sweet." She felt that she was the very definition of feminine passivity, owing to the fact that White always seemed willing to satirize her own unique persona on screen in just such a way.

    Following the end of The Mary Tyler Moore Show in 1977, White got her own sitcom on CBS, her second series entitled The Betty White Show (the first having been broadcast a quarter century earlier), during the 1977–78 season, in which she co-starred with John Hillerman and former Mary Tyler Moore co-star Georgia Engel. It was canceled after one season. White appeared several times on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson appearing in many sketches, and began guest-starring in a number of television movies and television miniseries, including With This Ring, The Best Place to Be, Before and After, and The Gossip Columnist.

    In 1983, she became the first woman to win a Daytime Emmy Award in the category of Outstanding Game Show Host, for the NBC entry Just Men!. Due to the amount of work she has done on them, she has been deemed the "First Lady of Game Shows".

    From 1983 through 1985, she had a recurring role playing Ellen Harper Jackson on the series Mama's Family, along with future Golden Girls co-star Rue McClanahan. White had originated this character in a series of sketches on The Carol Burnett Show in the 1970s. When Mama's Family was picked up in syndication after being canceled by NBC in 1985, White left the show (with the exception of one final appearance in the show's syndicated version in 1986).

    The Golden Girls and comedic endeavors

    White at the 1989 Emmy Awards

    In 1985, White scored her second signature role and the biggest hit of her career as the St. Olaf, Minnesota-native Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls. The series chronicled the lives of four widowed or divorced women in their "golden years" who shared a home in Miami. The Golden Girls, which also starred Bea Arthur, Estelle Getty, and Rue McClanahan, was immensely successful and ran from 1985 through 1992. White won one Emmy Award, for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series, for the first season of The Golden Girls and was nominated in that category every year of the show's run (the only cast member to receive that distinction – Getty was also nominated every year, but in the supporting actress category). When Beatrice Arthur left in 1992, White, McClanahan, and Getty reprised their roles Rose, Blanche, and Sophia in the spin-off The Golden Palace. The series was short-lived, lasting only one season. In addition, White reprised her Rose Nylund character in guest appearances on the NBC shows Empty Nest and Nurses, both set in Miami.

    White was originally offered the role of Blanche in The Golden Girls, and Rue McClanahan was offered the role of Rose (the two characters being similar to roles they had played in Mary Tyler Moore and Maude, respectively). Jay Sandrich, the director of the pilot, suggested that since they had played similar roles in the past, they should switch roles, Rue McClanahan later said in a documentary on the series. White originally had doubts about her ability to play Rose, until the show's creator took her aside and told her not to play Rose as stupid but as someone "terminally naive, a person who always believed the first explanation of something." Although the eldest of the four women actors, White is the only surviving regular cast member, following the deaths of Estelle Getty in July 2008, Bea Arthur in April 2009, and Rue McClanahan in June 2010.

    After The Golden Girls ended, White guest-starred on a number of television programs including Ally McBeal, The Ellen Show, My Wife and Kids, That '70s Show, Everwood, Joey, and Malcolm in the Middle. She received Emmy Award nominations for her appearances on Suddenly Susan, The Practice, and Yes, Dear. She won an Emmy in 1996 for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series, appearing as herself on an episode of The John Larroquette Show. In that episode, titled "Here We Go Again", a spoof on Sunset Boulevard, a diva-like White convinces Larroquette to help write her memoirs. At one point Golden Girls co-stars McClanahan and Getty appear as themselves. Larroquette is forced to dress in drag as Beatrice Arthur, when all four appear in public as the "original" cast members. White comically envisions her Rose as the central character with the others as mere supporting players.

    The actress has lent her voice to several animated shows, including The Simpsons, King of the Hill, The Wild Thornberrys, Family Guy, and Father of the Pride. In 1999, she had a supporting role in the monster film Lake Placid, as a widow who later is revealed to have raised the giant crocodile (which accidentally ate her husband)

    Hot in Cleveland, Saturday Night Live and career resurgence

    White's career has been in revival throughout the first two decades of the 2000s, and her continuing cultural relevance is reflected in the numerous television and film projects she has been a part of. In December 2006, White joined the soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful in the role of Ann Douglas, the long-lost mother of the show's matriarch, Stephanie Forrester, played by Susan Flannery. In February 2007, White returned as Ann, who wished to move to Los Angeles to be near her daughters. The characters of Ann and Pamela Douglas (Alley Mills) disappeared after their March 27, 2007, appearance and were not mentioned again until October 19, 2007, when Ann appeared briefly. White would go on to appear in three more episodes on December 10, 2007; August 28, 2008; and October 28, 2008. She returned to the show on November 18, 2009 and in the November 19, 2009 episode her character revealed that she was dying of advanced pancreatic cancer. She made 22 appearances as Ann Douglas. In the November 23, 2009, episode Ann dies due to complications from her illness, with both her daughters at her side on the beach at Paradise Cove.

    In the broadcast of the 2007 TV Land Awards, White starred in a parody of Ugly Betty, aptly titled Ugly Betty White, in which she played America Ferrera's title character, with Charo playing White's sister Hilda, and Erik Estrada playing her father Ignacio. Her performance earned her a part on Ugly Betty as herself, the victim of Wilhelmina Slater's temper as they vie for a cab in the episode "Bananas for Betty", which aired December 6, 2007.

    White had a recurring role in ABC's Boston Legal from 2005 to 2008 as the calculating, blackmailing gossip-monger Catherine Piper, a role she originally played as a guest star on The Practice in 2004.

    White appeared as a roaster on the Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner in 2006. On May 19, 2008, she appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, taking part in the host's Mary Tyler Moore Show reunion special alongside every surviving cast member of the series.

    White at the premiere for The Proposal in June 2009

    Beginning in 2007, White was featured in television commercials for PetMeds, highlighting her interest in animal rights and welfare.

    White was honored at the Sixth Annual TV Land Awards with the Pop Culture Award on June 8, 2008. She accepted it along with co-stars Bea Arthur and Rue McClanahan.

    White returned to Password in its latest incarnation, Million Dollar Password, on June 12, 2008, (episode #3), participating in the Million Dollar challenge at the end of the show. Her quick correct responses helped the contestant win $100,000. White returned to the show again on December 28, 2008 (episode #9), helping the contestants win $25,000 each. White has made a number of appearances in skits on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, playing the part of an Exxon representative, a Girl Scout, an accountant with a briefcase full of cocaine, a nurse who just got her medical license from El Salvador, a newspaper delivery girl, a prison guard, and an Apple representative. She appeared as herself with a shoe box full of receipts, explaining that she was doing her taxes. She also appeared as herself to promote Together: A Story of Shared Vision by White and Tom Sullivan. On July 18, 2008, she appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in a skit entitled "Can You Make Betty White Flinch?".

    White guest starred as the "Witch Lady" on an episode of My Name Is Earl, and starred on Chelsea Handler's late night show Chelsea Lately. Some of her other television credits in the 2000s include Stealing Christmas, Annie's Point and The Retrievers. Her film credits in the late 1990s and early 2000s included Hard Rain, Dennis the Menace Strikes Again and Bringing Down the House, in which she co-starred with Steve Martin and Queen Latifah.

    White appeared in the 2009 motion picture The Proposal with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds. White provided the English language voice of Yoshie in the anime film Ponyo, which was released in Japan in 2008 and in the United States and Canada on August 14, 2009. She co-starred with Kristen Bell in the 2010 film, You Again.

    White appeared alongside Abe Vigoda in an advertisement for Snickers during the 2010 Super Bowl XLIV. The ad won the top spot on the USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter. The slogan was, "You're not you when you're hungry".

    A grassroots campaign on Facebook called "Betty White to Host SNL (Please)" began in January 2010. The group was approaching 500,000 members when NBC confirmed on March 11, 2010 that White would in fact host Saturday Night Live on May 8. The appearance made her, at age 88, the oldest person to host the show, beating Miskel Spillman, the winner of SNL's "Anybody Can Host" contest, who was 80 when she hosted in 1977. The May 8 SNL episode garnered the show's highest ratings since November 1, 2008, when Ben Affleck hosted. In her opening monologue, White thanked Facebook and joked that she "didn't know what Facebook was, and now that I do know what it is, I have to say, it sounds like a huge waste of time." The appearance earned her a 2010 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series, her seventh Emmy win overall.

    In June 2010, White took on the role of Elka Ostrovsky the house caretaker on TV Land's original sitcom Hot in Cleveland along with Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves and Wendie Malick. In 2011, she was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Elka, but lost to Julie Bowen for Modern Family.

    A Betty White calendar for 2011 was published in late 2010. The calendar features photos from White's career and with various animals. She also launched her own clothing line on July 22, 2010, which features shirts with her face on them. All proceeds go to various animal charities she supports.

    White with President Obama in the Oval Office in June 2012.

    She guest-starred in the second-season premiere of NBC's Community as an anthropology professor. In 2010, she also guest starred in The Middle and 30 Rock. She also had a role as Mrs. Claus in Prep & Landing: Operation: Secret Santa, the sequel to Disney's Prep & Landing, and began providing the voice for recurring character Agatha McLeish on The Hub's Pound Puppies.

    White also starred in the Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation of The Lost Valentine on January 30, 2011. This presentation garnered the highest rating for a Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation in the last four years and according to the Nielsen Media Research TV rating service won first place in the prime time slot for that date.

    White has published several books during her career. In August 2010, she entered a deal with G.P. Putnam Sons to produce two more books, the first of which, If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won't), was released in 2011. In February 2012, White received her first ever Grammy Award ("Best Spoken Word Recording") for the audio recording of the book., making her the fourth oldest winner of a competitive Grammy Award.

    Betty White's Off Their Rockers and future projects

    From 2012 to 2014, White hosted and executive produced Betty White's Off Their Rockers, in which senior citizens play practical jokes on the younger generation. For this show, she received three Emmy nominations.

    In 2011, White appeared in the Visit California promotional film on YouTube aimed at boosting tourism from the UK.

    In September 2011, she teamed up with English singer Luciana to produce a remix of her song "I'm Still Hot". The song was released digitally on September 22 and the video later premiered on October 6. It was made for a campaign for a life settlement program, The Lifeline. White served as a judge alongside Whoopi Goldberg and Wendy Diamond for the American Humane Association's Hero Dog Awards airing on The Hallmark Channel on November 8, 2011.

    A special Betty White's 90th Birthday Party aired on NBC a day before her birthday on January 16, 2012. The show featured appearances of many stars with whom White has worked over the years.Betty White's Off Their Rockers aired following the celebratory event, and returned in April 2012 as a recurring show which resulted in an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program. White's success continued in 2012 with her first Grammy Award for a spoken word recording for her best seller If You Ask Me. She also won the UCLA Jack Benny Award for Comedy, recognizing her significant contribution to comedy in television, and was roasted at the New York Friars' Club.Hot in Cleveland continued its rating success, with White receiving her third consecutive Screen Actor's Guild Award nomination. In January 2013, NBC once again celebrated Betty White's birthday with a TV special featuring celebrity friends, including former president Bill Clinton; the special aired on February 5. In February 2014, White appeared as a guest host on WWE Raw.

    In 2013, White voiced a character on the Disney Channel show Mickey Mouse.

    In 2014, she reprised her Elka Ostrovsky character as a guest appearance in an episode on the TV Land sitcom The Soul Man.

    Humanitarian career

    White is a pet enthusiast and animal health advocate who works with a number of animal organizations, including the Los Angeles Zoo Commission, the Morris Animal Foundation, African Wildlife Foundation, and Actors & Others for Animals. Her interest in animal rights and welfare began in the early 1970s while she was both producing and hosting the syndicated series, , which spotlighted celebrities and their pets.

    As of 2009, White is the president emerita of the Morris Animal Foundation, where she has served as a trustee of the organization since 1971. She has been a member of the board of directors of the since 1974. Additionally, White served the zoo association as a Zoo Commissioner for eight years.

    According to the Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Garden's "ZooScape" Member Newsletter, White hosted "History on Film" from 2000 to 2002. White donated nearly $100,000 to the zoo in the month of April 2008 alone.

    Betty White served as a presenter at the 2011 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards ceremony at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on October 1, 2011, in Los Angeles.

    Personal life

    White and Ludden in 1968.

    In 1945, White married Dick Barker, a U.S. Army Air Corps pilot. The marriage was short-lived. In 1947, she married Lane Allen, a Hollywood agent. This marriage ended in divorce in 1949.

    On June 14, 1963, White married television host and personality Allen Ludden, whom she had met on his game show Password as a celebrity guest in 1961, and her legal name was changed to Betty White Ludden. He proposed to White at least twice before she accepted. The couple appeared together in an episode of The Odd Couple featuring Felix's and Oscar's appearance on Password. Ludden appeared as a guest panelist on Match Game, with White sitting in the audience. (She was prompted to criticize one of Ludden's wrong answers on camera during an episode of Match Game '74.) The two appeared together on the Match Game panel in 1974, 1975 and 1980.

    Allen Ludden died from stomach cancer on June 9, 1981, in Los Angeles. They had no children together, though she is stepmother to his three children from his first marriage, when his wife had died. White has not remarried since Ludden's death. In an interview with Larry King, when asked whether or not she would remarry, she replied by saying "Once you've had the best, who needs the rest?"

    When asked about her real-life heroes, White told Vanity Fair, "Charles Darwin".

    White is a practicing member of the Unity Church.

    She is also a registered Democrat. She endorsed President Barack Obama in 2012 saying she "likes how he represents us".

    In a 2011 interview, White said that she always knew her close friend Liberace was gay and that she sometimes accompanied him to premieres. A supporter of gay rights, White said that "If a couple has been together all that time – and there are homosexual 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".

    Awards, honors and nominations

    White at the 1992 Emmy Awards

    White has won five Primetime Emmy Awards, two Daytime Emmy Awards (including the 2015 Daytime Emmy for Lifetime Achievement), and received a Regional (LA) Emmy in 1952. She has also won three American Comedy Awards (including a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1990), and two Viewers for Quality Television Awards. She was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1995 and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6747 Hollywood Boulevard alongside the star of her late husband Allen Ludden.

    She is the only woman to have received an Emmy in all performing comedic categories, and also holds the record for longest span between Emmy nominations for performances—her first was in 1951 and her most recent was in 2011, a span of 60 years. She is the fourth oldest winner of a competitive Grammy Award and the oldest nominee of a performing Emmy.

    White was the recipient of the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters Golden Ike Award and the Genii Award from the American Women in Radio and Television in 1976. The American Comedy Awards awarded her the award for Funniest Female in 1987 as well as the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1990. She was formally inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame in 1995. In 2009, White received the TCA Career Achievement Award from the Television Critics Association.

    The American Veterinary Medical Association awarded White with its Humane Award in 1987 for her charitable work with animals. The City of Los Angeles further honored her for her philanthropic work with animals in 2006 with a bronze plaque near the Gorilla Exhibit at the Los Angeles Zoo. The City of Los Angeles named her "Ambassador to the Animals" at the dedication ceremony.

    Walk of Fame

    In September 2009, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) announced plans to honor White with the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award at the 16th Screen Actors Guild Awards. Actress Sandra Bullock presented White with the award on January 23, 2010, at the ceremony, which took place at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. She is a Kentucky Colonel. In 2009, White and her now-deceased Golden Girls cast mates Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan, and Estelle Getty were awarded honorary Disney Legend awards. Betty was inducted into the California Hall of Fame in December 2010. In 2010 she was chosen as the Associated Press's Entertainer of the Year.

    On November 9, 2010, the USDA Forest Service, along with Smokey Bear, made Betty White an honorary forest ranger, fulfilling her lifelong dream. White said in previous interviews that she wanted to be a forest ranger as a little girl but that women were not allowed to do that then. Today's United States Forest Service is 38 percent female, including rangers, scientists, and leaders at every level.

    In January 2011, White received a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series for her role as Elka Ostrovsky in Hot in Cleveland. The show itself was also nominated for an award as Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series, but lost to the cast of Modern Family. She won the same award again in 2012, and has received a third nomination.

    A 2011 poll conducted by Reuters and Ipsos revealed that White was considered the most popular and most trusted celebrity among Americans, beating the likes of Denzel Washington, Sandra Bullock, and Tom Hanks.

    In October 2011, White was awarded an honorary degree and white doctors coat by Washington State University at the Washington State Veterinary Medical Association's centennial gala in Yakima, Washington.

    In 2012, White won her first Grammy, aged 90 for the audio version of her best-selling book.



    Year Title Role Notes
    1945 Time to Kill Lou's Girl Short film
    1962 Advise & Consent Senator Bessie Adams
    1971 Vanished Hostess
    1978 With This Ring Evelyn Harris Television film
    1979 The Best Place to Be Sally Cantrell Television film
    1979 Before and After Anita Television film
    1980 The Hollywood Knights Herself
    1980 The Gossip Columnist Herself Television film
    1982 Eunice Ellen Television film
    1986 Big City Comedy Herself
    1987 Alf Loves a Mystery Aunt Harriet Television film
    1991 Chance of a Lifetime Evelyn Eglin Television film
    1996 A Weekend in the Country Martha Television film
    1996 The Story of Santa Claus Gretchen Claus Voice
    1998 Hard Rain Doreen Sears
    1998 Dennis the Menace Strikes Again! Martha Wilson
    1998 Holy Man Herself
    1999 Lake Placid Mrs. Delores Bickerman
    1999 The Story of Us Lillian Jordan
    2000 Whispers: An Elephant's Tale Round Voice
    2000 Tom Sawyer Aunt Polly Voice
    2001 The Retrievers Mrs. Krisper
    2001 The Wild Thornberrys: The Origin of Donnie Grandma Sophie Voice
    2003 Bringing Down the House Mrs. Kline
    2003 Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt Cameo
    2003 Stealing Christmas Emily Sutton Television film
    2005 The Third Wish Lettie
    2005 Annie's Point Annie Eason Television film
    2006 Where's Marty? Herself
    2007 Your Mommy Kills Animals Herself Documentary
    2007 In Search of Puppy Love Herself Documentary
    2008 Ponyo Yoshie Voice
    2009 Love N' Dancing Irene
    2009 The Proposal Grandma Annie
    2009 Part Two: The Warm Mission Betty Short film
    2010 You Again Grandma Bunny
    2010 Prep & Landing: Operation: Secret Santa Mrs. Claus Voice
    2011 Betty White: Champion for Animals Herself Documentary
    2011 The Lost Valentine Caroline Thomas Television film
    2012 The Lorax Grammy Norma Voice
    2013 Letters to Jackie: Remembering President Kennedy Narrator Documentary
    2013 Betty White Goes Wild Herself Documentary


    White at the 1988 Emmy Awards
    Year Title Role Notes
    1949–1950 Hollywood on Television Herself
    1952 The Eddie Albert Show Herself
    1953–1955 Life with Elizabeth Elizabeth Lead Role, 65 episodes
    1954 The Betty White Show Herself From February 8, 1954 to December 31, 1954
    1955–1956 What's My Line? Herself 8 episodes
    1956 The Millionaire Virginia Lennart Episode: "Millionaire Virginia Lennart"
    1957–1958 Date with the Angels Vickie Angel Lead Role, 33 episodes
    1958 The Betty White Show Herself Lead Role, 14 episodes
    1958–1962 The Jack Paar Show Herself Recurring Role, 36 episodes
    To Tell the Truth Herself Appearances on CBS (Collyer), NBC (Moore), and ABC (Anderson) versions.
    1961-2008 (Super) (Million Dollar) Password (All Stars), (Plus) Herself Appeared on all versions of the show.
    1962 The United States Steel Hour Episode: "Scene of the Crime"
    1963–1978 Match Game Herself Recurring Role, 53 episodes
    1963–1975 You Don't Say! Herself Recurring Role, 10 episodes
    1968 That's Life Episode: "Buying a House"
    1969 Petticoat Junction Adelle Colby Episode: "The Cannonball Bookmobile"
    1971 The Pet Set Herself Recurring Role, 31 episodes
    1972 O'Hara, U.S. Treasury Herself Episode: "Operation: Lady Luck"
    1972 The Odd Couple Herself Episode: "Password"
    1975 Lucas Tanner Lydia Merrick Episode: "The Noise of a Quiet Weekend"
    1975 Ellery Queen Louise Demery Episode: "The Adventure of Miss Aggie's Farewell Performance"
    1975–1978 The Carol Burnett Show Various Recurring Role, 3 episodes
    1976–1977 The Sonny and Cher Show Herself Guest Role, 2 episodes
    1976-1979 Liar's Club Game Show Herself Recurring Role, 48 episodes
    1973–1977 The Mary Tyler Moore Show Sue Ann Nivens Main Cast, 46 episodes
    1977–1978 The Betty White Show Joyce Whitman Lead Role, 14 episodes
    1978 The Hanna-Barbera Happy Hour Voice Teacher 1 episode
    1981 Best of the West Episode: "Mail Order Bride"
    1982–1991 The $25,000 Pyramid Herself Recurring Role, 85 episodes
    1982 Love, Sidney Charlotte Episode: "Charlotte's Web"
    1983 Just Men! Herself Lead Role, 65 episodes
    1983 Fame Catherine Episode: "Sunshine Again"
    1984 Hotel Wilma Klein Episode: "Outsiders"
    1985 St. Elsewhere Capt. Gloria Neal Episodes: "Red, White, Black and Blue" and "Close Encounters"
    1980–1985 The Love Boat Various Guest Role5 episodes
    1985 Who's the Boss? Bobby Barnes Episodes: "Eye on Angela" and "Thanksgiving at Mrs. Rossini's"
    1983–1986 Mama's Family Ellen Harper Jackson Recurring Role, 15 episodes
    1988 Santa Barbara Cameo Guest Role, 3 episodes
    1988 Another World Brenda Barlowe Special Guest Star
    1990 Carol & Company Trisha Durant Episode: "Trisha Springs Eternal"
    1991 Nurses Rose Nylund Episode: "Begone with the Wind"
    1989–1992 Empty Nest Rose Nylund Guest Role, 3 episodes
    1985–1992 The Golden Girls Rose Nylund Main Role, 177 episodes
    1992–93 The Golden Palace Rose Nylund Lead Role, 24 episodes
    1993 Bob Sylvia Schmidt Main Cast, 8 episodes
    1994 Diagnosis Murder Dora Sloan Episode: "Death by Extermination"
    1995 The Naked Truth Herself Episodes: "Elvis Is Coming!" and "Star and Comet Collide! Giant Bugs Invade!"
    1995–1996 Maybe This Time Shirley Wallace Main Role, 18 episodes
    1996 Suddenly Susan Midge Haber Episode: "Golden Girl Friday"
    1998 The Lionhearts Dorothy (voice) 5 episodes
    1998 L.A. Doctors Mrs. Brooks Episode: "Leap of Faith"
    1999 Hercules Hestia (voice) Episode: "Hercules and the Tiff on Olympus"
    1999 Ally McBeal Dr. Shirley Flott Episode: "Seeing Green"
    2000 The Wild Thornberrys Sophie Hunter (voice) 3 episodes
    2000 Intimate Portrait: Betty White Herself
    1999–2001 Ladies Man Mitzi Stiles Main Role, 30 episodes
    2001 The Ellen Show Connie Gibson Episode: "Missing the Bus"
    2002 Teacher's Pet Granny (voice) Episode: "The Turkey That Came for Dinner"
    2002 Yes, Dear Sylvia Episode: "Kim's New Nanny"
    2002 Providence Julianna Episode: "The Heart of the Matter"
    1999–2002 King of the Hill Dorothy / Ellen / Delia (voice) Guest Role, 3 episodes
    2002–2003 That '70s Show Bea Sigurdson Recurring Role, 4 episodes
    2003 Grim & Evil Mrs. Doolin (voice) Episode: "Who Killed Who?/Tween Wolf"
    2003 Gary the Rat Gary's Mother (voice) Episode: "This Is Not a Pipe"
    2003 I'm with Her Herself Episode: "Meet the Parent"
    2004 The Practice Catherine Piper 3 episodes
    2003–2004 Everwood Carol Roberts Episodes: "Unhappy Holidays" and "Your Future Awaits"
    2004 My Wife and Kids Mrs. June Hopkins Episode: "The Maid"
    2004 Malcolm in the Middle Sylvia Episode: "Victor's Other Family"
    2004–2005 Complete Savages Mrs. Riley Episodes: "The Man Without a Ball" and "Saving Old Lady Riley"
    2005 Joey Margaret Bly Episode: "Joey and the House"
    2007 Higglytown Heroes Grandma (voice) Episode: Calling All Heroes
    2007 Ugly Betty Herself Episode: "Bananas for Betty"
    2005–2008 Boston Legal Catherine Piper Main Role, 16 episodes
    2006 My Name Is Earl Mrs. Weezmer Episode: "The Witch Lady"
    2009 30 Rock Herself Episode: "Stone Mountain"
    2006–2009 The Bold and the Beautiful Ann Douglas Recurring Role, 23 episodes
    2010 The Middle Mrs. Nethercott Episode: "Average Rules"
    2010 Saturday Night Live Herself Episode: "Betty White/Jay-Z"
    2010–15 Hot in Cleveland Elka Ostrovsky Main Role, 128 episodes
    2009–2010 Glenn Martin DDS Grandma Shelia Martin (voice) Guest Role, 2 episodes
    2010 Community Professor June Bauer Episodes: "Anthropology 101" and "The Psychology of Letting Go"
    2010–2013 Pound Puppies Agatha McLeish (voice) Main Cast, 13 episodes
    2012–present Betty White's Off Their Rockers Herself
    2012 The Client List Ruth Hudson Episode: "Past Is Prologue"
    2013 Save Me God Episode: "Holier Than Thou"
    2013 Mickey Mouse Old Lady (voice) Episode: "New York Weenie"
    2014 The Soul Man Elka Ostrovsky Episode: "All the Way Live"
    2015 Saturday Night Live Grandmother The Californians
    2015–present Betty White's Smartest Animals in America Herself Host
    2015 Bones Dr. Beth Mayer Guest Star


    • 1983: Betty White's Pet-Love: How Pets Take Care of Us
    • 1987: Betty White In Person
    • 1991: The Leading Lady: Dinah's Story
    • 1995: Here We Go Again: My Life In Television
    • 2008: Together: A Novel of shared vision
    • 2011: If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won't)
    • 2011: Betty & Friends: My Life at the Zoo


    Year Award Category Work Result
    1951 Emmy Award Best Actress Life with Elizabeth Nominated
    1952 Regional (LA) Emmy Outstanding Female Personality Life with Elizabeth Won
    1975 Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series The Mary Tyler Moore Show Won
    1976 Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series The Mary Tyler Moore Show Won
    1977 Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series The Mary Tyler Moore Show Nominated
    1983 Emmy Awards Outstanding Game Show Host Just Men! Won
    1984 Emmy Awards Outstanding Game Show Host Just Men! Nominated
    1986 Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series The Golden Girls Won
    1986 Golden Apple Award Female Star of the Year Won
    1986 Golden Globes Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy The Golden Girls Nominated
    1987 Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series The Golden Girls Nominated
    1987 Golden Globes Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy The Golden Girls Nominated
    1987 American Comedy Awards Funniest Female Performer in a TV Series (Leading Role) Network, Cable or Syndication The Golden Girls Won
    1987 Viewers for Quality Television Best Actress in a Quality Comedy Series The Golden Girls Won
    1988 Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series The Golden Girls Nominated
    1988 Golden Globes Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy The Golden Girls Nominated
    1988 Viewers for Quality Television Best Actress in a Quality Comedy Series The Golden Girls Won
    1989 Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series The Golden Girls Nominated
    1989 Golden Globes Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy The Golden Girls Nominated
    1990 Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series The Golden Girls Nominated
    1990 American Comedy Awards Funniest Female Performer in a TV Series (Leading Role) Network, Cable or Syndication The Golden Girls Nominated
    1990 American Comedy Awards Lifetime Achievement Award in Comedy Won
    1991 Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series The Golden Girls Nominated
    1992 Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series The Golden Girls Nominated
    1995 Walk of Fame Star on the Walk of Fame Won
    1996 Emmy Awards Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series The John Larroquette Show Won
    1997 Emmy Awards Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Suddenly Susan Nominated
    2000 American Comedy Awards Funniest Female Guest Appearance in a TV Series Ally McBeal Won
    2003 Emmy Awards Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Yes, Dear Nominated
    2003 TV Land Awards Quintessential Non-Traditional Family Won
    2004 Emmy Awards Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series The Practice Nominated
    2004 TV Land Awards Groundbreaking Show Won
    2008 TV Land Awards Pop Culture Award Won
    2009 Emmy Awards Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series My Name Is Earl Nominated
    2009 Television Critics Association Career Achievement Award Won
    2009 Disney Legends Disney Legends Won
    2010 Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award Won
    2010 Britannia Awards Excellence in Comedy Won
    2010 MTV Movie Awards Best WTF Moment The Proposal Nominated
    2010 MTV Movie Awards Best Comedic Performance The Proposal Nominated
    2010 Teen Choice Award Best Dance (with Sandra Bullock) The Proposal Won
    2010 Emmy Awards Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Saturday Night Live Won
    2010 NewNowNext Awards Cause You're Hot Nominated
    2011 People's Choice Awards Favorite TV Guest Star Community Nominated
    2011 People's Choice Awards Favorite Web Celeb Nominated
    2011 Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Hot in Cleveland Nominated
    2011 Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series Hot in Cleveland Won
    2011 Gracie Allen Awards Best Actress in a Comedy Series Hot in Cleveland Won
    2011 The Comedy Awards Best Actress in a TV Comedy Hot in Cleveland Nominated
    2011 Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Hot in Cleveland Nominated
    2011 UCLA Jack Benny Award Comedian Won
    2011 Grammy Awards Best Spoken Word Recording If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won't) Won
    2012 Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by Female Actor in a Comedy Series Hot in Cleveland Won
    2012 Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie The Lost Valentine Nominated
    2012 Emmy Awards Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program Betty White's Off Their Rockers Nominated
    2013 Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by Female Actor in a Comedy Series Hot in Cleveland Nominated
    2013 Emmy Awards Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program Betty White's Off Their Rockers Nominated
    2014 Emmy Awards Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program Betty White's Off Their Rockers Nominated
    2015 People's Choice Awards TV icon Herself Won