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Betty White's Movie & TV Roles: A Guide To The Golden Girls Star's Career

ScreenRant logo ScreenRant 10/3/2022 Padraig Cotter
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Betty White might be best known as The Golden Girls' Rose, but here's a guide to her impressive, groundbreaking career. White got her start in the '40s working on radio shows, in addition to occasional work on TV shows like ABC's This Is Your FBI. She later earned her own radio program called The Betty White Show - which proved to be the first of three shows to bear that name. White's career evolved in a major way in the early '50s when she fronted sitcom Life With Elizabeth, based on a character from White's talk show Hollywood On Television.

During her time on Life With Elizabeth she also hosted another Betty White Show, an NBC talk show. She was notably given creative free reign, which was incredibly rare for a female performer during this period. After a bad experience working on the ill-fated sitcom Date With The Angels, White reinvented herself in the '60s with guest appearances on game shows like Password, What's My Line?, Match Game and many others. She also made her first film appearance in the 1962 political film Advise & Consent alongside Henry Fonda. During this time she also made appearances on The Tonight Show hosted by Jack Paar.

Related: Betty White Sitcom Ladies Man Staged A Surprise Golden Girls Reunion

White landed one of her most famous roles in the early '70s when she joined the cast of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. She played Sue Ann Nivens, the upbeat host of a show dubbed The Happy Homemaker - which contrasted with the character's biting offscreen persona. Nivens was intended to be a guest role but White became a regular cast member during the fifth series. When the series ended, she again hosted another series dubbed The Betty White Show. This was a 1977 CBS sitcom that did poorly in the ratings and only lasted a season. In the next decade, Betty White - who had many memes - appeared on shows like Fame and The Love Boat, and in 1985, joined the cast of The Golden Girls. This groundbreaking sitcom focused on four older women living together in Miami, with White playing the innocent Rose.

The Golden Girls Made Betty White An Icon

The Golden Girls was a huge ratings success and earned White an Emmy for her work. The show ended after seven seasons when Bea Arthur decided to leave, though the other cast member returned for short-lived spin-off The Golden Place. Following the end of her time on Golden Girls and its offshoots, White appeared on shows like Maybe This Time and Ladies Man and movies such as Lake Placid and Dennis The Menace Strikes Again. In the 2000s White guest-starred on The Bold And The Beautiful - where Denise Richards is currently starring - and Boston Legal, and her career was given a shot in the arm thanks to a Snickers commercial she appeared in for Super Bowl XLIV.

This 2010 advert quickly went viral, and soon led to White guest hosting Saturday Night Live, becoming the oldest host ever at age 88. She continued to work constantly in the years that followed, including joining the sitcom Hot In Cleveland and roles in movies like Toy Story 4 and shows like Bones. Betty White passed away in December 2021 just a few weeks shy of her 100th birthday and left behind an incredible body of work and a legacy of making audiences laugh.

Next: Every Show Set In The Golden Girls Universe


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