Betty White—beloved actor, comedian, and cultural icon—has died at 99, just weeks before her 100th birthday. ‘Even though Betty was about to be 100, I thought she would live forever,’ her agent Jeff Witjas said in a statement to People Magazine.
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A trailblazer for women, the 8-time Emmy winner held the longest running career of any woman entertainer in television, getting her start back in 1939.
Though White is most remembered for playing kind, scatterbrained Rose Nylund in ‘The Golden Girls’ (1985-1992), she catapulted to fame playing the calculating Sue Ann Nivens in ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ (1970-77) and even got her own starring role in ‘The Betty White Show’ (1977-78).
Nivens was ‘cloyingly sweet on the surface and something of a dragon underneath, with a tinge of nymphomania,’ White wrote of the character in her 1995 memoir. ‘I was born for the role!’
In 1952, White became one of the only female producers in television, co-creating and starring in a show called ‘Life with Elizabeth,’ where she earned her first Emmy nomination.
She also famously stood up to television stations in the South who threatened to pull the show for including African American tap dancer Arthur Duncan. ‘Live with it.’ White said.
Ms. White was the last surviving member of the original ‘Golden Girls’ cast—an iconic show about four older women sharing a house after being widowed and divorced.
After ‘The Golden Girls’ ended its seven-year run in 1992, Ms. White made guest appearances on ‘Ally McBeal,’ ‘That ’70s show,’ ‘Community,’ and a host of other series.
White—known as the first lady of television—had more than 115 acting credits to her name, and her enduring work lives on.
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