Culture

Happy 98th Birthday to Betty White

Betty White's Star on Hollywood Boulevard (Photo by Loren Javier / CC BY-ND 2.0)

I was first introduced to Betty White on the show The Golden Girls—I still can’t quite explain how I came to like it, seeing as I was only 12 years old when the show ended.

Three years ago, when all seven seasons came to Hulu, we binge-watched it in my house, and there may have been one episode I couldn’t remember.

What I had for breakfast yesterday may be a blur, but 180-ish episodes of an ’80s sitcom somehow endured.

White’s portrayal of good-natured but naive Rose Nyland, who hailed from St. Olaf, Minnesota, may be how I was introduced to her, but she’s had a long and impressive career beyond that show.

As regular on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, White won the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series twice. Including being named Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for the first season of The Golden Girls, White is an eight-time Emmy Award winner. Her most recent victory was in 2010 for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for Saturday Night Live on NBC in 2010.

Recognized as the first woman to produce a sitcom in Life With Elizabeth, which aired from 1953 to 1955, Betty White received her first Emmy nomination for her work on that series. She was also the first female to receive an Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show host in 1983 for the daytime show Just Men. Due to her numerous appearances on game shows over the years, she has been deemed the “First Lady of Game Shows.” And, of course, she was married to Password host Allen Ludden for 18 years (until his death in 1981).

Other TV series featuring Betty included sitcoms Date With the Angels (1957-58), The Betty White Show (1977-78, and featuring former MTM co-star Georgia Engel), Mama’s Family (recurring 1983-86 and opposite future The Golden Girls star Rue McClanahan), Bob (1993), Maybe This Time (1995-96), Ladies Man (1999-2001); drama Boston Legal (recurring, 2003-06); and daytime drama The Bold and the Beautiful in 2009.

Betty White’s long and impressive career has earned her the distinction of being called The First Lady of Television—a distinction certainly well deserved. Cheers to Betty White on her 98th birthday!