By Mark DeBlasio

The Seven Hills School — Betty Marion White Ludden, an American actress and comedian, recently passed away in her Los Angeles home on Dec. 31, 2021, 17 days before her 100th birthday. White, who was born on Jan. 17, 1922, in Oak Park, Illinois, was the beloved wife of the late Allen Ludden for 18 years, and her last words before she passed were her calling out her husband’s name. White was also the daughter of Horace and Christine White and stepmother of Martha, David, and Sarah Ludden. White’s career spanned 74 years, and she was active in the industry right up until the end. 

When White was 19 years old, she served in World War II as part of the American Women’s Voluntary Services. When White left the military, she started looking for a career in entertainment. Contrary to popular belief, White did not start her entertainment career on television. She actually started as the host of a radio show called “The Betty White Show.” The show was a success, but White was destined for something greater. She started hosting her own variety show, also called “The Betty White Show.” The television show broke barriers, especially along the lines of race. White had featured a Black tap dancer named Arthur Dunan on her show. When a racist executive had asked her to remove Dunan, White saw the discriminatory nature of this and retaliated by giving Duncan even more screen time. Throughout her lifetime, White also campaigned for women’s rights and rights for members of the LGBTQ+ community.

White is perhaps best known for her role as Rose Nylund on the hit sitcom “The Golden Girls.” White starred alongside actresses Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan, and Estelle Getty. The show received critical acclaim and is still beloved by many fans today. White has previously said that she was so excited to play the role of Rose because it was so different from anything she had ever done before. White stayed in contact with McClanahan and Getty until their deaths and later went on to star in a spinoff of “The Golden Girls” called “The Golden Palace.”

White will always be remembered for the impact she made on pop culture and her work fighting for equal rights.

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