Betty White, the beloved comedian, actress and author died today from natural causes at the age of 99. Betty White’s career began in radio in the 1940s. She transitioned to television working on local stations in 1949. From 1952 to 1955, Betty White starred in (and also co-created and co-produced) Life with Elizabeth which was syndicated nationally. Following Life with Elizabeth, Ms. White would go on to appear in television series, game and talk shows and the occasional feature film.
Betty White’s breakout role came in 1973 when she joined The Mary Tyler Moore Show playing Sue Ann Nivens, a woman in her 50s who was always on the prowl for a man. She was a hit with critics and fans. Betty White won two (of her 5) Emmys for her efforts as Sue Ann Nivens. When The Mary Tyler Moore Show ended Ms. White continued to stay busy with her own show (The Betty White Show, 1977-78) as well as guest appearances on television programs and tv movies. She was so popular she ended up with recurring roles on The Love Boat, Mama’s Family and Empty Nest.
At the age of 63 (when many folks are considering retirement), Betty White landed the role of Rose Nyland on The Golden Girls. The series ran for seven seasons and Ms. White returned as Rose for the sequel series The Golden Palace (which ran for one season). Betty White’s portrayal of Rose Nyland won her another Emmy and she was nominated every year of The Golden Girls run!
Betty White continued to make guest appearances (often in recurring roles) for the remainder of her career. Her popularity continued to grow with each passing year. Betty White’s 100 birthday was less than three weeks from today. A big celebration that was to be filmed to mark the occasion will go on as planned and is tentatively titled “Betty White: 100 Years Young — A Birthday Celebration.“
Although she was 99 years old, Betty White’s passing came as a surprise. I loved how her popularity grew as she got older. It was always a pleasure to see her guest appearances and who didn’t love her as Sue Ann Nivens or Rose Nyland? From all accounts Betty White was as wonderful a human being as she appeared to be. The world is a little less fun now that she is gone.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Betty White’s family, friends and fans.