The Late, The Great Betty White (January 17, 1922 – December 31, 2021) was easily the most loved senior across the country. Her recent passing brought heartache to millions of people around the world. Betty was a pioneer of early television; her work as an actress and comedian spans several decades. To say she loved her work is an understatement, and her presence will be remembered for years to come.
Recent Life & Work
Betty had no plans to stop working; about ten days before her death, she had been working on a film about her life that was scheduled to be released on her 100th birthday. During filming, it was her idea to record a message to her fans. She was adamant about expressing how much she admired her fans and how thankful she was for them. Producer and director Steven Boettcher who was creating this film over the last ten years grew close with Betty. He said this about Betty’s last time on camera. “She was great, she was funny, she was the adorable Betty White we all know and love. I mean, you see her and you just can’t help but love her and she was amazing — just amazing.”
Radio, TV & Movies
Betty had to start out on radio because she was turned down for not being photogenic enough, this changed quickly though after her first co-host role with Al Javis. She soon took over the show and her career continued to skyrocket through the forties and fifties. She is one of the first female entertainers to host their own talk show and was later a part of the most successful sitcom of all time, “The Golden Girls” which ran for seven years. She was nominated for outstanding actress for every year the show ran, and even won the Emmy in 1986. Her work didn’t stop there as she played guest roles in various movies throughout the years, as well as late-night shows. When Betty appeared on the popular late-night show “Saturday Night Live” in 2013, she blew the crowd away once again with her wit when she called Facebook a waste of time in her opening line. With each performance, she proved that she hasn’t skipped a beat and that live television was still what she was meant to do after all these years.
Betty White’s last film was a documentary of her life originally titled, “Betty White: A 100 years Young” which was meant to be released on her 100th birthday. The film was still released, but with a few changes to honor Betty’s life and a new title, “Betty White: A Celebration”. Producer Steven Boettcher simply and lovingly said the film was, “just Betty.”
One True Love
Betty White was married and divorced before she met her one true love, (second husband, but first in her heart) Allen Ludden. Her first marriage to Dick Barker, a United States Army Air Forces P-38 pilot didn’t last when he wanted to move to the country to settle down. Betty wasn’t ready to leave the spotlight. In fact, the spotlight is where she met Allen Ludden, who was the Host of the gaming show Passwords where Betty was a celebrity guest. It was rumored that there was an obvious connection between them; they were both conveniently booked for upcoming roles in Critic’s Choice. They spent three weeks filming and White said Ludden stopped bothering to say hello, but rather began each conversation with, “Will you marry me!?” White laughed it off as a joke for a while, but Ludden remained determined and the two tied the knot a year later. Ludden once said he fell in love with her on opening night.
In a 2010 interview with Larry King Live, White said this about her relationship with Ludden, “What got us together was his enthusiasm. He was interested in everything. There wasn’t anything that he didn’t want to know more about and hear about. That’s fun to live with.” And, she also said, “What you saw was what you got. He was one of the nicest, dearest people.”
In 1980, Ludden unfortunately was diagnosed with stomach cancer and never returned to work. Only a year later in 1981, he died a few weeks short of their 18th anniversary. Although heartbroken, White continued to focus and advance in her career. When she was asked once in an interview why she never remarried, her response was, “When you’ve had the best, who needs the rest? It was special. It was very special.”
Betty White’s life, unmistakable humor and successful career are an inspiration to all, her memory will live on forever through many dear friends, family, and beloved fans.