Betty Marion White Ludden (born January 17, 1922), better known as Betty White, is an American actress, comedienne, singer, author, and television personality. With a career spanning over nine separate decades, she is best known to contemporary audiences for her television roles as Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls. Since the death of co-star Rue McClanahan in 2010, she is now the only surviving Golden Girl. She currently stars as Elka Ostrovsky in the TV Land sitcom Hot in Cleveland for which she has won two consecutive Screen Actors Guild Awards. She also currently hosts the practical-joke show Betty White's Off Their Rockers.
White has won a Grammy as well as six Emmy Awards (five for acting), receiving 20 Emmy nominations over the course of her career, including being the first woman ever to receive an Emmy for game show hosting (for the short-lived Just Men!) and is the only person to have an Emmy in all female performing comedic categories. In May 2010, White became the oldest person to guest-host Saturday Night Live, for which she also received a Primetime Emmy Award. White also holds the record for longest span between Emmy nominations for performances – her first was in 1951 and her most recent was in 2012, a span of 61 years – and has become the oldest nominee as of 2012, aged 90. She has made regular appearances on the game shows Password and Match Game and played recurring roles on Mama's Family, Boston Legal, The Bold and the Beautiful, That '70s Show, and Community.
Born Betty Marion White in Oak Park, Illinois, on January 17, 1922, she is the daughter of Tess Curtis (née Cachikis), a homemaker, and Horace Lawrence White, a traveling salesman and electrical engineer. Her mother was of Greek, English, and Welsh descent, and her father was of Danish and English ancestry.White's family moved to Los Angeles, California during the Great Depression. She attended Horace Mann School Beverly Hills and Beverly Hills High School. Hoping to become a writer, she wrote and played the lead in a graduation play at Horace Mann School and discovered her interest in performing.
Personal lifeEditWhite and Ludden in 1968.
On June 14, 1963, White married television host and personality Allen Ludden, whom she had met on his game show Password as a celebrity guest in 1961, and her legal name was changed to Betty White Ludden. He proposed to White at least twice before she accepted. The couple appeared together in an episode of The Odd Couple featuring Felix's and Oscar's appearance on Password. Ludden appeared as a guest panelist on Match Game, with White sitting in the audience. (She was prompted to criticize one of Ludden's wrong answers on camera during an episode of Match Game '74). The two appeared together on the Match Game panel in 1974, 1975, and 1980.
Allen Ludden died from stomach cancer on June 9, 1981, in Los Angeles.They had no children together, though she is stepmother to his three children from his first marriage. White has not remarried since Ludden's death.
When asked about her real-life heroes, White told Vanity Fair, "Charles Darwin".
White is a practicing member of the Unity Church.