On the last day of 2021, Betty White passed away. Despite no longer being with us, the Golden Girls icon and the legacy she left behind will always be remembered by her fans. Born in 1922, White’s acting career spanned more than 80 years. In those 80 years, she’s earned notoriety, millions of fans and more than 50 nominations for major awards.
White was a funny, caring and compassionate person. It took a while for Hollywood to see these qualities in her though, with her big break coming in 1973 almost 20 years after her debut when she was cast in the Mary Tyler Moore Show.
In 1973 at the age of 51, her career and public image were bigger than ever due to the show’s success and she was at the verge of becoming a household name. What truly cemented her into the public spotlight, however, was when she starred in the infamous 80’s sitcom Golden Girls. She played Rose Nylund, a sweet old lady known for rambling and being slow to understand certain things.
What is truly miraculous is that at the age of 63, she was more successful than ever. Most actors are forgotten by the age of 40 but those who make it to old age in the public spotlight are often the most successful in their industry. Betty White gained extreme notoriety in the 80s and managed to keep it until her death.
Hollywood and film is a fast-moving industry, so the fact that she was able to keep a successful career for over eight decades is a testament to her skill and charm. White was a pioneer. In 1983 she was the first woman to win an Emmy under the category of ‘Outstanding Gameshow Host’ after she hosted the game show “Just Men!”. In 2010, she even became the oldest person to host an episode of Saturday Night Live at the age of 88.
White was very active outside of TV as well. She was a proud advocate of the American Humane Organization, an organization dedicated to the safety of animals, for over 70 years. She cared about other people and stood up for what she believed in, including a black tap dancer on her show 10 years before the Civil Rights Act was even put into effect, back when racism was normalized and accepted. Betty White was an icon, and she never stopped being an icon up until her passing. She will be missed dearly by the world, but the 80 plus years of television she brought to the world will keep her memory alive forever.