Betty White: Truly Golden


Photo by Jingming Pan on Unsplash

Simone Hoogheem, Writer

Betty White, an American actress and member of the Golden Girls, died last week on December 31, 2021. Her career began in 1949. She was one of the front runners of early television, and appeared on The Mary Tyler Moore Show in the 70s and Saturday Night Live in 2010. She is known for two  unforgettable characters, Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls. She was also the host of Saturday Night Live when she was 88 years old.

She won a total of 8 Emmys. In 2014, Guinness World Records recognized her work as the longest ever for a female entertainer. Her breakthrough happened somewhat late in her life with her work on The Mary Tyler Moore Show from 1973 to 1977. She won two of her Emmys for this.

She won her final Emmy in 2010 for an appearance as a guest on Saturday Night live. She then appeared regularly on another sitcom, Hot in Cleveland, and then got a book contract and a reality show called, “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers”. She was more known than she had been in several years, but didn’t see it as a comeback. She said in an interview for ABC News, “I’ve been working steady for 63 years, but everybody says, ‘Oh, it’s such a renaissance.’ Maybe I went away and didn’t know it.”

After the Golden Girls (in which White starred as Rose Nylund) ended  in 1992, Betty White remained on television. She continued acting even into her 90s, and was sworn into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1995. In 2010 she was given an award by the Screen Actors Guild for lifetime achievement. She was the focus of a 2018 PBS documentary called, “Betty White: First Lady of Television”, joking that the title made it seem as if she was the first ever woman on tv. 

She had an interest in animal welfare throughout her life, and in the 70s she starred in and produced a talk show, The Pet Set, where celebrities talked about their pets. She gave time and money to the American Humane Association and the Fund for Animals. She was acclaimed by the Los Angeles Zoo in 2006. They named her “ambassador to the animals” and revealed a plaque that they had made in her honor. In 1990, she told The Chicago Sun-Times that “

Being remembered for Rose and Sue Ann and the others would be wonderful, but I also want to be remembered as a lady who helped the animals.

— Betty White

Being remembered for Rose and Sue Ann and the others would be wonderful, but I also want to be remembered as a lady who helped the animals.”



Severo, Richard, et al. “Betty White, a Television Golden Girl From the Start, Is Dead at 99.” The New York Times, December 31, 2021, Accessed January 10, 2022.