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Betty White: The “Golden Girl” with a Tender Heart, Part 1 of 2

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With a radio and TV career spanning more than eight decades, Betty White was regarded as one of the pioneers of television in the United States. She has been credited for her immense contributions to the entertainment industry, along with being one of the first women to work both in front of and behind the camera.

Betty Marion White was born on January 17, 1922, in Oak Park, Illinois, USA, and was the only child of Christine Tess and Horace Logan White. The family’s frequent visits to the High Sierras and camping trips to Yellowstone National Park helped to sow the seeds of love for wildlife and Mother Nature in young Betty, whose first childhood ambition was to become a forest ranger.

During the 1940s, Betty mainly worked on stage and on the radio. In 1952, Betty starred in her first sitcom, “Life with Elizabeth,” produced by Bandy Productions, a company named after her dog-person companion. Betty co-founded this company with two others, thus becoming the first woman producer of a sitcom in the US.

From 1952 to 1954, Betty produced and hosted her own national TV program, “The Betty White Show,” in a male-dominated field. In 1983, she became the first woman to win a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host for her work on “Just Men!”

The versatile actress’ signature roles came later in life when she played the sharp-witted Sue Ann Nivens on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” from 1973 to 1977 and the naïve Rose Nylund on “The Golden Girls” from 1985 to 1992. Betty was presented with two Emmy Awards for the former and one for the latter.

Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Betty starred in a series of TV shows, including “Bob,” “Boston Legal,” and “The Bold and the Beautiful,” as well as making cameos on many popular comedies such as “Ally McBeal,” “That ‘70s Show,” and “Malcolm in the Middle,” to name a few.
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