Secrets Of Betty White No One Knows

By molly atherton 7 months ago

1. Betty White Was A Guinness World Record Holder

Image source: Today

Betty White was awarded a Guinness World Record in 2014 for the "Longest TV Career for an Entertainer (Female)." It was so well deserved as she had spent more than 70 years in show business!  The previous year, Guinness gave the "Longest TV Career for an Entertainer (Male)" to the legend British TV personality Bruce Forsyth, again for 70 years in the business.  Both Betty and Bruce started their careers in 1939.

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2. Her First TV Appearance Is Lost To History

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Even Betty could hardly remember the name of the show she made her screen debut on, back in 1939 but she did recall dancing on an experimental TV show, the first on the west coast, in Los Angeles.  She wore her high school graduation dress and danced the ‘Merry Widow Waltz.’”

3. World War II Got In The Way Of Stardom

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Before she took off on tv, Betty was working in theater, on the radio and also as a model. With WWII looming, she put all that on hold and joined the American Women's Voluntary Services.  She delivered supplies via PX truck throughout the Hollywood Hills and spent her evenings at dances which were held in honor of soldiers who were due to set sail.

4. Her First Sitcom Hit Was In 1950s

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Co-hosting the Al Jarvis show "Hollywood on Television" led Betty White to turn to producing, very rare at that time for a female.  She developed "Life with Elizabeth" which, although hardly remembered these days, earned White an Emmy nomination and she won!

5. White Loved A Parade

Image source: The Hollywood Reporter
From 1962 through to 1971, White hosted "Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade" for NBC beside Lorne Greene (from Bonanza).  She was also a color commentator for NBC’s annual "Tournament of Roses Parade." As Betty's fame grew on rival channel CBS’s "The Mary Tyler Moore Show", NBC decided to pull her from the Parade, a decision which upset White.

6. She Was Married Three Times

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White married and divorced her first husband, Dick Barker, within a year!  Four years later she met agent Lane Allen and married him in 1947.  That only lasted 2 years as he wanted her to quit show business.  It wasn't until 1963 that she fell for widower and game show host, Allen Ludden who became husband number three.

7. She Met Her Husband On Password

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Bubbly Betty White was a regular on the game show circuit and she met her match in 1961 when she was a celebrity guest on "Password", hosted by Allen Ludden. Though White initially refused to marry him, he wore the engagement ring he wanted to give her, around his neck until she changed her mind.  They were together until his death in 1981.

8. White Originally Auditioned For Role Of Blanch

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Producers of the series thought Betty White would be perfect for the role of the ensemble’s promiscuous party girl Blanche in "The Golden Girls."  Because the director didn't want to typecast White, he changed his mind and offered her the part of Rose, which she played perfectly.

9. Betty Wanted To Be A Zookeeper

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Betty was an avid animal lover and activist.  She always visited the local zoo wherever she travelled and she was a supporter of the Farm Animal Reform Movement and Friends of Animals Organisation.  She belonged to many animal charities and donated tens of thousands of dollars to them.

10. She Passed On A Role Because Of Animal Cruelty Scene

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White was offered the role of Beverly Connelly, the onscreen mother to Helen Hunt’s character, in "As Good As It Gets", the 1997 Oscar-winning movie.  However, the devoted animal lover was totally horrified with the scene where Jack Nicholson’s character pitches a small dog down the trash chute in his apartment block.

11. She Was The Oldest Presenter Of Saturday Night

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In 2010, a Facebook group was formed and it called, "Betty White To Host SNL....Please."  It proved successful and at the age of 88, White set a new record as the oldest presenter.  She won rave reviews, giving the show its highest ratings in 18 months and winning her 5th Emmy for the performance.

12. She Was Older Than Sliced Bread!

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You must have heard the joke about how sliced bread was the best thing since Betty White!  It is actually based on truth as White was born in 1922 and the commercial for the bread slicing machine did not debut until 1928.  Betty always found this comparison hilarious!

13. Betty White Loved Junk Food

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The key to staying young and/or aging gracefully had absolutely nothing to do with health food as far as Betty White was concerned! In 2011, Jane Leeves, her "Hot in Cleveland" co-star, spilled the beans on Betty by saying,  “She eats Red Vines, hot dogs, French fries, and Diet Coke."  Love it!

14. She Had A Crush On Robert Redford

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When Betty White was asked the question of what had she always wanted to do in the business but not yet achieved, she sht out her answer - Robert Redford!  Whilst she had over 110 movie and television credits to her name, their paths never met.  Redford was 14 years her junior so maybe she was after a toy boy!

15. She Was Born Before The Television Itself!

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Even though White was a star of the small screen, she was actually born before television existed!  Betty was born on January 17, 1922 and although the root of television technology dated back to the 1870s, the actual first tv set, as we know it, was not introduced until 1927.

16. Betty Was A Television Pioneer

Image source: IMDb
White's first big role was as the lead in "Life with Elizabeth" in 1950.  She was also the co-creator, making her the first female to produce a sitcom, a true accolade.  The sitcom,  filmed live at the weekends, lasted for 65 episodes and earned Betty White her first Primetime Emmy nomination.

17. She Was A Horror Star

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Although White was primarily known for her comedic roles, she did have a horror credit on her resume.  She appeared in the cult classic "Lake Placid" in 1999.  In the movie, the Golden Girls' star played Mrs. Delores Bickerman, a widow with a secret.  She takes care of a killer crocodile!

18. She Performed For Queen Elizabeth II

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The cast of The Golden Girls were invited to perform at the Royal Variety Performance at the London Palladium in 1988. It was a huge honor for them, as it was for every act that was asked.  Betty White said that they were not allowed to address Her Majesty until the Queen spoke first.  The Golden Girls also met Princess Anne who had accompanied her mother to the event.

19. Barbara Walters Was Second Choice To Betty To Host The Today Show

Image source: New York Post
Back in the early 1970s, executives at the Today Show wanted White to co-host the morning program and asked he twice.  On both occasions she refused as she did not want to forfeit her Californian lifestyle which she loved.  Barbara Walters was their second choice and she certainly lasted the course.

20. She Was No Stranger To Live TV

Image source: PinkNews
The Golden Girls star did her first television gig on a live variety show that lasted for five and a half hours - that must have been draining!  It's no wonder that Betty White became such a genius when it came to improvising.  She said it was a great starting base for her future career.

21. Betty's First Work Was In A TV Commercial

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Betty White was nothing but persistent in getting herself known and out there.  She was said to have hung around the office of tv producer Fran Van Hartesveldt and nagged him so much that he offered her a job, acting in a commercial.  This then led to her appearance on "The Great Gildersleeve", a popular radio show also headed by Hartesveldt.

22. White Never Had Acting Lessons

Image source: Insider
Actress Betty White said that acting lessons were never her thing.  She also reported, "I just want to bring as much natural as I can."  She didn't think that acting lessons were false, admitted there were much better actors out there who had gone down that route, but it wasn't for her.

23. She Originally Wanted To Be An Opera Singer

Image source: Country Living Magazine
White took singing very seriously when she was young and her ambition was to be an opera singer. She divulged this to the Canadian Press when discussing her role in "The Lorax", an animated film where the actress had to sing a few bars (and apparently did so beautifully).

24. White was Not A Fan Of Date With The Angels

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In her 1997 book "Here We Go Again," Betty described her experiences with the ABC show "Date With The Angels" as being unhappy. She didn't see her co-star Bill Williams as being funny enough and said it was the only time she had eve wanted to get out of her contract.

25. She Preferred Animals To Humans

Image source: Vanity Fair
"Animals don't lie. Animals don't criticize. If animals have moody days, they handle them better than humans do."  This was an extract from White's 2012 book, "If You Ask Me."  Betty estimated having around 20 dogs at one point when she was growing up and her first production company was called Bandy Productions, named after her Pekingese, Bandit!

26. Hot In Cleveland Was Supposed To Be A One Time Guest Role

Image source: IMDb
Betty rarely refused an opportunity to act although her appearance on “Hot in Cleveland” was only supposed to be a once only guest role.  The producers loved her so much that they gave her more shows and ten more episodes of "Hot in Cleveland".  The next thing, White was inundated with offers of work.

27. Her Second Husband Wanted Her To Stay At Home

Image source: The Sun
White’s showbiz career would have been cut short if she had stayed with her second husband Lane Allen.  He wanted his wife to stop working and focus on a traditional family life.  That wasn't what she wanted to hear and she chose her career over her husband, ending that marriage.

28. Betty Hosted The Pet Set

Image source: IMDb
Betty and her husband Allen Ludden, hosted and produced a show “The Pet Set” in 1971 and it featured celebrities and their pets. It was aired on many networks across the States and was borne out of her long time passion for animals.  Her shrewd husband challenged her to make and sell a show on the topic.

29. She Had Step Children

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Whilst it is thought that having kids of her own was not a priority for Betty White and she was said to have not regretted it, she did gain three stepchildren through her marriage to Allen Ludden.  Betty gave an interview in 2009 and expressed how she got along "just fine" with David, Martha and Sarah Ludden.

30. Betty White Was A Romantic At Heart

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Betty was perceived as being a bit raunchy, due to some of the many roles she undertook during her 70 year career.  However, that was acting and in real life, she admitted to being a bit of a romantic.  Despite divorcing twice, her third husband was "the real thing" and they made a great partnership.

31. Rare photos of Betty White you've never seen: starting out in radio

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At the age of 25, Betty had her first professional role on radio - and while a lot of people say certain public figures 'have a face for radio', that certainly wasn't the case with the beautiful Betty White! She wanted to follow her dreams of being an actor fresh out of high school, then landed some professional radio roles after the producers of a radio station offered her a position in 1947.

32. In front of the camera of NBC!

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Betty White wasn't going to stay behind the scenes on radio forever though! She became a young TV host at the age of 27, and here she is pictured having a happy time with the NBC camera! She landed her role on television as the co-host of Hollywood on Television, with this photo taken in Los Angeles back in 1949. She looks as confident as can be with her work, doesn't she?

33. Betty and her love of dogs

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Betty was famous for being a lover of animals and having pets herself - namely, a lot of dogs! She was known to have a St Bernard, and her love of animals came alongside the growth of her professional career, as her radio and TV stint continued to grow into a whole TV show! She became the first female to both star in a TV sitcom, and produce it.

34. Betty and her dog, Danny

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Betty White here all smiles as she shows off her furry best friend - and how could you not smile holding him? This photo was taken inside Betty's home, when she was 32 years old, and enjoying some downtime with her pooch, Danny. She had many dogs over her whole life, and Danny was just one of the many best friends she had around her home in Los Angeles.

35. Betty White at a Christmas parade

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Being such a big star even in the early days of her career, Betty White was often asked to attend an event or two, a parade, or to host a show. Here she is back in 1955 in Los Angeles, attending a Christmas Parade. She was only 33 years old here when she appeared in the parade, and her role was to sit in a Chevrolet vehicle as it followed the parade route, all smiles in the back!

36. Smiling on the outside only

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Betty White was known for her huge, beaming smile, but here is one photo example of how sometimes she had to smile even when she really didn't want to! Such is the life of an actress. She's here with her co-star Bill Williams on the set of the sitcom Date with the Angels, but she later admitted that she was secretly unhappy and that she wanted to 'get out'.

37. Betty hosts the Tournament of the Roses

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By this point in this beautiful colorized photo, Betty White was in her late 30s and everyone knew who she was. She was a well known name - and a Hollywood star. So no surprise she was asked to host a show or two, and here she's hosting the Tournament of the Roses parade, which happened every year, and marked the start of the Rose Bowl Game.

38. Miss Teenage America host

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It's clear that Betty was getting an amazing reputation for being a great host - she had all the charisma as well as the beauty, so her hosting roles were becoming more and more. One of those roles is pictured here, when she hosted the Miss Teenage America contest in 1963. We have no idea why she's pulling that face, but she could be pretending to be a tearful winner!

39. With her co-star, Arlene Francis

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Arlene Francis was also an actress known in Hollywood, and was known for particularly appearing on game show panels. Here she is with Betty White as her fellow panelist on the show Passwords. She was 43 years old at this point - but you wouldn't think so looking at her! - and of course starring alongside her husband at the time, who hosted the show.

40. Betty White hosting the Thanksgiving parade

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And the parades and hosting jobs never end with Betty White! She was always in demand, and always looked the part. Here she's pictured in 1966 with Canadian actor and co-host Lorne Greene. She actually hosted the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade for 10 years, she was so good at it! She's pictured here in 1966 as she enjoys the annual event.

41. Betty attends a gala

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Betty White may have often been wrapped up in a wool coat on television to host annual parades, but she also scrubbed up beautifully well in a gown for a gala or two. Here Betty is attending the Radio and Television Guild Benefit Gala back in 1968 wearing a lovely white gown befit for Hollywood royalty. The event was hosted at the New York Hilton Hotel.

42. On the Mary Tyler Moore show

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The Mary Tyler Moore show was a big hit in its day, and known for famous guests and actors. Betty White also had an appearance on the show, pictured here, in 1975, when she starred as Sue Ann Nivens for the show. She was actually only supposed to appear once on the show, but she became a regular character because Betty White's performance was so popular!

43. Betty celebrates an Emmy win

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Betty White was definitely present at an award ceremony or two, but it wasn't always as a guest or host - here she is in 1975 winning her very own (well-deserved) Emmy award. She won the award for the role we just spoke about: her supporting role on the Mary Tyler Moore Show! She was 53 years old in this picture when she bagged the award, and it wouldn't be the first Emmy win for her either!

44. Betty at 55

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Pictured here in 1977, Betty White - at 55 years old - bagged her own show, The Betty White Show, due to her popularity, success and the ending of the Mary Tyler Moore Show, leading Betty onto a new venture. On her show, Betty welcomed fellow actors John Hillerman and Georgia Engel, and White would later appear again with Hillerman in Hot in Cleveland.

45. Betty White at home with her dog

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Will we ever get bored of photos of Betty White with her gorgeous dogs? Nope! Here Betty White is pictured at home with her huge St Bernard named Stormy. The pair of them were snapped in 1954, looking super comfortable on the couch. Stormy must have loved it when Betty was relaxing at home with him instead of busy out working in Hollywood!

46. Betty filming Date with the Angels

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It wasn't just her own dogs that the actress and presenter had such an amazing connection with. She seemed to attract love from every dog she came across, and here she's pictured with a golden retriever back in 1957 while she was on set filming Date with the Angels. And also the sign behind her is a reminder to words she would have lived by when it came to all these animals: be kind!

47. Betty plays piano with her pooch!

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We already met Betty's dog, the adorable Danny, but did you know the poodle was a talented musician, too? Here he joins Betty at the piano as they both enjoy time on set of the Betty White Show during the 1970s. It must have been a relief for both Betty and her dogs to be able to have them on set so they didn't have to be parted during her long hours filming!

48. Betty in her garden

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Not only did Betty have a lovely home in Los Angeles, it was also equipped with a beautiful garden and even a pool. And of course she needed all that extra outside space for the dogs to run around! Here she's pictured at home by her own pool in 1972, with another one of her many dogs, who looks more than happy to be enjoying the warm weather (and ready to jump in that pool!).

49. A family home

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And Betty wasn't just sharing her home with all her dogs, of course - she was sharing it with her husband, too! Here the family is pictured together in their lounge, with Betty and two of her dogs, alongside husband Allen Ludden, all photographed in 1972. It really looks like Betty enjoyed a family home, with a nice place to relax when not busy filming in Hollywood.

50. Betty appears on the Tonight Show

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One thing about being a famous Hollywood star who's built a reputation for loving animals - and specifically dogs - is that you're bound to be presented with a couple of adorable pups on an American talk show! Here Betty is in 1979 when she was being interviewed on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson - and she looks thrilled to be sharing the spotlight with more furry four-legged friends!