Jake’s Take Pays Tribute to Betty White (1922 to 2021)

American icon Betty White passed away. (Photo property of Getty Images)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

A true American icon has passed away.

Multiple media outlets, including Page Six, TMZ (who broke the story), and Vanity Fair, have confirmed that Emmy-winning actress and television personality Betty White passed away weeks away from what would have been her 100th birthday.

Early Life

Born in Oak Park, Illinois, on January 17, 1922, to Christine Tess and Horace Logan White, the family moved to Alhambra, California, and eventually to Los Angeles during the Great Depression. After graduating from Beverly Hills High School in 1939, she turned to acting and was hired as a singer for an experimental television show.

However, Betty White would have to wait until after World War II to get her feet wet in the industry. She volunteered for the American Women’s Voluntary Services during the war, where she transported supplies through California and performed for the troops. 

Her Beginning Years

Once the war concluded, Betty White resumed her work in radio and made appearances on Blonde, the Great Gildersleeve, and This is Your Life. Her life changed in 1949, where she began appearing as a co-host with Al Jarvis on the live variety TV show Hollywood on Television. While Jarvis left in 1952, the Emmy-winning actress continued to host the show and eventually went on to a new syndicated project called Life with Elizabeth, in which she starred as the titled character from 1952 to 1955.

Game Shows, Mary Tyler Moore The Golden Girls 

From the 1960s to the early 1990s, Betty White was a staple of multiple game shows and talk shows. Both Jack Paar and Johnny Carson interviewed her when she dropped by their respective versions of The Tonight Show. She also became a regular on Password, where she met her future husband – host Allen Ludden. In addition to Password, she would appear on What’s My Line?, To Tell the Truth, I’ve Got a Secret, Pyramid, and of course – Match Game. 

Besides game shows, Betty White’s acting career skyrocketed thanks to her portrayal of Sue Ann Nivens – The Happy Homemaker on the iconic Mary Tyler Moore Show for four seasons. During her run, she won two Emmy Awards. Eight years after the show went off the air, Betty became a part of another legendary show – The Golden Girls. 

Ms. White was paired with Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan, and Estelle Getty, and for seven seasons, the quartet entertained worldwide audiences over cheesecake and humor. She won an Emmy for her signature portrayal of Rose Nylund. In 1992, she joined McClanahan and Getty for The Golden Palace’s short-lived spin-off

Her Final Chapters

During the late 1990s and until her death, Betty White was busier than ever. She portrayed the conniving gossiper Catherine Piper on The Practice and Boston Legal. She also recurred on The Bold & The Beautiful as Ann Douglas, Stephanie Forrester’s long-lost mother. In 2010, a successful Facebook campaign brought her to Saturday Night Live as a host. While she described Facebook as a “waste of time,” Betty White received another Emmy for her hosting. 

That same year, Betty White also starred in TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland with Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves, and Wendie Malick. As house caretaker Elka Ostrovsky, she interacted with characters portrayed by longtime friends and fellow TV icons Mary Tyler Moore, Regis Philbin, and Joan RiversHot in Cleveland’s final episode aired on June 3, 2015. 

Betty White’s Legacy

In addition to winning five Primetime Emmy Awards, Ms. White won a competitive Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Recording – If You Ask Me (And of Course, You Won’t). She also won two Screen Actor Guild awards for her work on Hot in Cleveland. Betty White was also was the recipient of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1995 and was named a Disney Legend in 2009. Outside of Hollywood, she was an active animal rights activist and LGBT rights activist.  

Jake’s Take wants to give its condolences to her family, friends, colleagues, and fans! You will be genuinely missed, Betty White! 

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Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar