Idolized Actress and ‘Golden Girl’ Betty White Dead at 99


Courtesy of Alan Light

Betty White attends the red carpet ceremony at the 40th Primetime Emmy Awards in 1988. White won several Primetime Emmy awards as an actress, some of which were for “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” (1975, 1976) and “The Golden Girls” (1986).

She was wholesome, lively, sweet, generous and most of all golden. Her presence was uplifting and charming, and her heart was always filled with passion and good character. The woman who transformed television for decades has died.

Iconic television actress Betty White died during her sleep on Dec. 31 roughly two weeks before her 100th birthday from natural causes, according to her agent Jeff Witjas.

“She looked amazing for someone who was 99 and you could barely tell that she was that old,” freshman Mernan Ghoneim said. “She had that spirit to her.”

According to CNN, White’s career spanned almost eight decades, starting with small, supporting roles in the late 1940s before rising to prominence with her talk show, “The Betty White Show” in 1954.  During the late 1950s and 1960s, White took minor supporting roles in sitcoms and made many appearances on the game show “Password,” which was hosted by her husband Allen Ludden. Her breakthrough supporting role as Sue Ann Nivens in the 1970s on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” awarded her two consecutive Primetime Emmy Awards.

As a pioneer for women on television, White became the first woman to produce and star in her own sitcom. Her role as Sue Ann Nivens on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” was a huge standout for women, according to NBC Today, because Nivens was a perfectionist cook to everyone on the outside but was actually filled with a man-obsessed nature on the inside.

“I love Sue Ann,” White said in a teleconference with reporters before hosting Saturday Night Live in 2010. “She was so rotten. The neighborhood nymphomaniac. I would love to bring her back for a minute, but I don’t know if that would be legally possible.”

Her most prominent televised lead role was Rose Nylund on “The Golden Girls,” a sitcom about four retired, elderly women living in Florida that aired from 1985-1992. Her role as Rose was met with critical acclaim, and a Primetime Emmy Award in 1986 as audiences enjoyed Rose’s humor and innocence.

Even after “The Golden Girls,” White appeared in multiple game shows, six seasons of “Hot in Cleveland” (2010-2015) and films such as “The Proposal” (2009) and “The Lorax” (2012). She also received another Primetime Emmy Award for her appearance as host on Saturday Night Live (2010).

“She was an amazing, sweet, and very driven person,” Ghoneim said. “We should all have the drive that she had, especially considering that she never retired.”

With actors, directors, and audiences alike deeming her a “national treasure” of Hollywood, White’s death ends an important era of entertainment history. She will be remembered as a trailblazing woman of early television and a true golden girl.