Betty White: The passing of a Legend

Laura Leigh Kizer, A&E Editor

On Dec 31, 2021 the world lost a legend- Betty Marion White Ludden, otherwise known as the one and only Betty White.

It is also worthy to note that the actress died just seventeen days shy of her 100th birthday. She passed peacefully in her sleep at her Brentwood home in Los Angeles. Her death is tied to a stroke she suffered from on Christmas Day.

The American actress and comedian has long captivated the world during her impressive eight decades on screen, and is best known for her NBC Television role in “The Golden Girls” in which she played Rose Nylund. The show ran from 1985-1992.

The vibrant star dominated seemingly every entertainment outlet she pursued, from radio, to early television, to movies and even to internet memes. The actress was often referred to as “America’s Grandmother” and cherished as a “treasure to be “protected” by Social Media platforms such as iFunny and Twitter.

The darling sensation attained a number of accomplishments throughout her life, including becoming the first woman to produce a sitcom. The sitcom is titled, “Life with Elizabeth” and ran from October 1953 until September 1955. She participated in the series as both the star and one of the producers.

Additionally, she was named honorary Mayor of Hollywood in 1955. While the position carried more of a promotional weight in an attempt to promote show business in Hollywood, the honorary mayor participated in a number of award ceremonies for the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

White earned three American Comedy Awards and two Viewers for Quality Television Awards. In 1990, White earned the Lifetime Achievement Award as well as dozens of others throughout her successful career.

In 2018, a documentary titled “The First Lady of Television” was releasedbdetailing her career and life. This title became a staple reference to her identity as internet fans began associating her as a grandmother-like figure to the nation.

Her personal life included a marriage to first husband Dick Barker who quickly divorced after a clash in life choices. Small town Chicken farmer Barker wanted a simpler life, while firecracker White needed something more.

White married her second husband, Lane Allen, in 1947. The pair divorced two years later because White wanted a career rather than having children. White found her final partner in 1961 after guest starring on the hit game show “Password.” Host Allen Ludden supposedly proposed to White a number of times before she finally accepted. White officially changed her name to Betty White Ludden shortly after their marriage in 1963.

Allen Ludden passed away in 1981 from stomach cancer. White never remarried.

In an interview with Larry King, White can be quoted, saying “Once you’ve had the best, who needs the rest?” in response to questions as to why she never remarried after her late husband’s passing.

Before her death, White advocated for causes such as Animal Welfare, Racial Justice and LGBTQ+ rights. Thus solidifying her place in the hearts of America with a soul as sweet as her smile.

While White is not succeeded by any biological children, she is missed by three stepchildren from her marriage with Ludden. In addition, of course, to the millions of hearts she touched during her much-deserved reign over the entertainment industry.