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A Familiar Face On The Tube

Actress Betty White is a television perennial, having starred in such hits as The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Golden Girls, and Mama's Family.

This year, she celebrates half a century of appearing on the TV screen. She was in the spotlight in this week's home video segment on The Early Show.

White, who has won six Emmys, is like an old friend to many TV fans, and it doesn't seem to matter if she is playing Sue Anne Nivens on Mary Tyler Moore or Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls.

"I think it's Betty. They've seen me on all the game shows. And the Game Show Network is always doing all of the old games," she says. "And Nickelodeon and Lifetime are doing the old show, so I think they figure, 'She still around?'"

As for her own favorite movies, White says she likes anything with Meryl Streep (whom she has met) or Robert Redford (whom she has not met).

She counts Tootsie and Out of Africa as her favorite movies, adding, "I like a little of everything, really. I'm not too good on animal movies, because they make me cry."

"My life is absolutely divided in half," she says. "I spend more time on animals then I do on my career. But I have to do my career so I can afford the animal work."

She calls her love for animals "a passion I can't explain. But it's so wonderful to have a passion. The people who don't have a passion, they find too much time to complain, I think."

  • Born January 17, 1922 in Oak Park, Ill.
  • Started her career in radio at the age of 16; by age 29 she was performing on the national television series Life with Elizabeth, earning her first Emmy in 1952.
  • In 1954, she headlined her own variety series, talking to guests and singing with the orchestra. She then co-starred with Bill Williams in the 1958 comedy show Date with the Angels. When Williams left it was retitled The Betty White Show.
  • In 1971, she hosted the syndicated informational series Pet Set.
  • She earned two Emmys for her portrayal of Sue Ann Nivens, the happy homemaker, on the Mary Tyler Moore Show, and she received her fourth Emmy for Best Daytime Game Show Host, for Just Men.
  • She then starred on her own short-lived sitcom, again titled, The Betty White Show.
  • In 1985, she joined the cast of The Golden Girls, portraying the flighty but sweet Rose Nylund for seven years. The role earned White another Emmy for Best Actress in the series' first season.
  • In 1995, she appeared in the series Maybe This Time and in 1997, she received and Emmy for a one-time ppearance in The John Larroquette Show.
  • She has also starred on the big screen in Hard Rain, Dennis the Menace Strikes Again, Lake Placid and The Story of Us.
  • White is President Emeritus of the Morris Animal Foundation and has also received the American Veterinary Medical Association's Humane Award.
  • She was married for 18 years to television host Allen Ludden, until his death in 1981; she currently lives in Los Angeles.
  • Tom Sawyer (2000) (voice)
  • The Story of Us (1999)
  • Ladies Man (1999) (series)
  • Lake Placid (1999)
  • Holy Man (1998)
  • Hercules (1998) (series)
  • Dennis the Menace Strikes Again (1998)
  • Hard Rain (1998)
  • The Lionhearts (1998) (series)
  • Me & George (1998) (series)
  • A Weekend in the Country (1996) (TV)
  • The Story of Santa Claus (1996) (TV)
  • Maybe This Time (1995) (series)
  • Bob (1992) (series)
  • The Golden Palace (1992) (series)
  • Chance of a Lifetime (1991) (TV)
  • The Golden Girls (1985) (series)
  • Mama's Family (1983) (series)
  • Before and After (1979) (TV)
  • The Best Place to Be (1979) (TV)
  • The Gossip Columnist (1979) (TV)
  • With This Ring (1978) (TV)
  • The Betty White Show (1977) (series)
  • Liar's Club (1976) (series)
  • Match Game PM (1975) (series)
  • Match Game 73 (1973) (series)
  • Vanished (1971) (TV)
  • The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970) (series)
  • Advise and Consent (1962)
  • The Jack Paar Show (1957) (series)
  • The Tonight Show (1954) (series)
  • The Betty White Show (1958) (series)
  • Date with the Angels (1957) (series)
  • Make the Connection (1955) (series)
  • The Betty White Show (1954) (series)
  • Life with Elizabeth (1953) (series)
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