Golden Girls star Betty White dies at 99

Betty White, the pioneering television personality whose 80- and more-year-old career became a cultural icon in her 80s and 90s, died just weeks before her 100th birthday.

Betty White, a groundbreaking television personality who has turned her back on memorable roles in Golden girls and The Mary Tyler Moore Show To become a cultural icon in her 80s and 90s, she reportedly died just weeks before her 100th birthday.

Law enforcement sources said TMZ it took place at home on Friday morning local time.

The white representative did not immediately respond to Page six request for comment.

The eight-time Emmy winner became the record holder for longest television careers among artists – she made her debut in 1939, when the medium was just an experiment, and continued to act as an actor, host and in-demand guest in her 90s.

But most of all, she will be remembered for her exciting roles in two groundbreaking sitcoms – as the messy cook show host Sue Ann Nivens on the show. The Mary Tyler Moore Show in the 1970s and the good-natured simpleton Rose Nylund on Golden girls in the 80s.

“If an actor can one “A great character in their careers,” said Robert Thompson, professor of television at Syracuse University. mail

“These two shows are her great legacy … because people will keep watching these things. They really have a classic status. “

White was born in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park on January 17, 1922, the only child of Tess, a housewife, and Horace White, an electrical engineer.

After a few years, the family moved to California – eventually moving to Los Angeles, where the future star grew up in the shadow of Hollywood.

She was bitten by a show business bug when she starred in a school play. She then gave her first television series just a month after graduating from Beverly Hills High School in 1939. Merry widow on an experimental local channel.

The appearance at the age of 17 happened a few months before the medium was presented to the masses at the World’s Fair in New York.

“Betty White’s television career began, in fact, before television,” Thompson said. “In 1939, no one had a television.”

During World War II, she took a break from the small screen while working for the American Women’s Volunteer Service and briefly married a fighter pilot named Dick Barker, but returned in the late 1940s with little details at a local station.

By then, just under a thousand people in Los Angeles owned a television, White said in her 1995 memoir.

White’s first big role was as a co-host on a daytime talk show. Hollywood on TV – filling five and a half hours of airtime six days a week with free banter, celebrity interviews, skits and live commercials

The show was a hit.

“It was us or a sample for verification,” White once joked, but she said that her second husband, Hollywood agent Lane Allen, could not stand the marriage with a busy professional woman, and two years later the union broke up.

In 1952, White co-wrote and starred on a Saturday night sitcom called Life with Elizabeth – To become one of the rare female producers on television and receive her first Emmy nomination.

She continued her role as a trailblazer in front of the camera and behind the camera on NBC’s short-lived talk show. The Betty White Show in 1954

Several radio stations in the South have threatened to close the show over the inclusion of African-American tap dancer Arthur Duncan in the cast, but White famously advised them to “put up with it.”

“She was probably one of the sweetest, greatest and greatest people I’ve met in my life,” Duncan said in 2018. “Every time she entered the room, she glowed.”

During the 1960s, White became a regular guest on television shows where she met her third and final husband. Password host Allen Ladden, with whom she stayed until he died in 1981.

In 1973 already popular The Mary Tyler Moore Show sought out the role of Sue Ann Nivens, described in the script as “the nasty-sweet Betty White type,” and ended up hiring a real girl.

Nivens – the host of a food show on the fictional television channel Mary Richards – was “lusciously sweet looking and a bit like a dragon underneath with a touch of nymphomania,” White wrote in her 1995 memoir. “I was born for the role!”

For the 1970s, Thompson said that character was “a big problem.”

“Sue Ann Nivens was a woman who enjoys sex and does what allows her to satisfy that pleasure. Betty White as Sue Ann Nivens was doing in the 1970s what Sex and the City couldn’t do until the late 1990s, ”he said.

This work earned White her first and second Primetime Emmy Awards.

She followed the statue in third when it was filmed on NBC. Golden girls in 1985

Initially, 63-year-old White expected to play a hungry for people Blanche Devereaux, but the director-pilot thought it was too similar to her heroine from the series. The Mary Tyler Moore Showso instead she was presented with the adorable dumb Rose Neelund.

It was an inspiring decision, Thompson said.

“The way she could portray such a naive ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about’ looks like whenever someone talks about sex – but at the same time, we know that she is a widow,” he said.

“It was so much fun knowing who Betty White really is saying those words.”

The sitcom about four older women was unlikely to become a worldwide hit, lasting seven seasons, followed by a spin-off. Golden palace

Several more short-lived sitcoms followed in the late 1990s, but as White traveled 70-80 years later, she found a prolific career as a guest starring everyone from Noddy To 30 Rock – and even lingered for a short while Bold and beautiful

But she also cultivated the greatest role in her twilight years: Betty White.

Emerging as a larger version of herself, cracking obscene jokes that young guests could never get away with, White is once again a popular figure on talk and game shows.

“Betty White has turned herself into a work of art over the past 30 years,” Thompson said.

“If Betty White was on the schedule, you knew there was entertainment ahead. The older she got, the more television tolerated the more frank discussions, she really became famous. [for] you never know what will come out of her mouth. “

This period peaked in 2010, when White’s fans launched a Facebook campaign called SNL Host Betty White (please)… With nearly half a million signed up, she became the oldest person ever to host a show at the age of 88 and won her seventh Emmy for her performance.

After that, she spent six seasons on the sitcom TV Land. Hot in Cleveland, and barely slowed down when she turned 90 – she ran the show. Betty White disconnected from rockers and The smartest Betty White animals in Americawhere she was able to imbue her lifelong love for animals.

“I’m just grateful to be working and it starts from the beginning,” White said. mail in 2018 at the age of 96.

“When you start, you are so grateful that you have a job … and you pervade this feeling throughout your career. At least I have.

This article first appeared on P. Sixth and was reproduced with permission

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