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The Death of an Icon: Betty White

Betty White was one of the most iconic American actresses of all time, she passed away peacefully in her sleep a few weeks shy of her 100th birthday on December 31, 2021. She was such an integral part of so many people’s childhoods and she left an amazing legacy behind. This article will cover her great life and how she still has an impact on the world, even in death.

Early Life

She was born on January 17, 1922, in Oak Park, Illinois. After graduating from high school in 1939, she wanted to become a forest ranger, she was unable to because, at the time, women were not allowed to. This love for wildlife shows up throughout the rest of her life in the form of animal rights activism. After playing the lead role in a graduation play at Horace Mann School, she decided to pursue acting.


Although she participated in many different works through the course of her life, the one she was most known for is The Golden Girls. At the start of her career, she was a radio personality. She hosted and produced her daily talk show, The Betty White Show, on NBC from 1952-1959. By the 1960s, White began to appear frequently on different game shows and talk shows. White made her first feature film appearance in 1962. She appeared many times in The Mary Tyler Moore Show. After the show ended in 1977, she was offered her sitcom called The Betty White Show; it was canceled after one season.

1985 was when she started her classical role of Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls. The show was immensely popular and ran from 1985 to 1992. After The Golden Place, The Golden Girls spinoff, she guest-starred on multiple other shows. Through the early 2000s, she appeared in other television programs and a romantic comedy in 2009; her acting career continued through the late 2000s. Throughout her career, she released many books as well.


The type of advocacy that White was most known for is animal welfare. She donated about $100,000 to the Los Angeles Zoo in April of 2008. Her first television show, The Betty White Show, was criticized by Southern states for having an African American tap dancer, Arthur Duncan, as a performer. White’s response to the criticism was “I’m sorry. Live with it.” Duncan was given more air time, and the show was eventually canceled. She was also an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights.


White was someone who played an important part in so many people’s childhoods. In her honor, people will make $5 donations to local animal shelters and rescues in her name. Betty was a one-of-a-kind person, she was able to bring joy and laughter to so many people while staying kind-hearted. The legacy she left behind is one of kindness, joy, and laughter.

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