America’s golden girl! With the longest career of any woman in television, Betty White was one of the most respected names in Hollywood.
The comedic actress, born in January 1922 as Betty Marion White Ludden, got her start in the entertainment industry as an assistant at a local television station in the 1930s. By the early 1950s, she landed her first TV series, Life with Elizabeth, which she developed with composer and TV writer George Tibbles.
In time, the Illinois native elevated her star power by playing Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show in the 1970s and Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls in the 1980s. She continued to find success on TV through shows including Hot in Cleveland and The Bold and the Beautiful.
The permanent A-lister also made her way over to film, appearing in major movies such as The Proposal and Bringing Down the House.
White was awarded the Guinness World Record for Longest TV Career for a Female Entertainer in 2014. “I have no regrets at all. None,” she told Guinness World Records at the time. “I consider myself to be the luckiest old broad on two feet.”
The TV pioneer lived a long and fulfilled life. She shared her tips for living to the fullest with Parade in 2018, saying, “Accentuate the positive, not the negative. It sounds so trite, but a lot of people will pick out something to complain about, rather than say, ‘Hey, that was great!’ It’s not hard to find great stuff if you look.”
Ahead of her 99th birthday in January 2021, White’s rep told Us Weekly exclusively that she “is in good health and spirits.” She would “like to interact with her friends but does not” due to safety concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic.
She managed to occupy herself with many at-home activities. “Crossword puzzles are no match for Betty,” her rep shared. “She reads a number of newspapers, watches select television and gets a lot of exercise in her home walking up and down bedroom stairs.”
The star posted a message on Instagram celebrating her birthday on January 17, writing, “Would you believe it?! It’s my 99th birthday which means I can stay up as late as I want without asking. … I hope everyone is well and staying safe. We will get through this.”
Weeks before her 100th birthday, White died on New Year’s Eve at the age of 99.
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Scroll down to take a look back at White’s best and most memorable moments over the years: