At age 98, actress and comedian Betty White has anything but slowed down. This funny lady has been a fixture in Hollywood for more years than most can count. And now, Betty White shares the secret to more than nine decades of happiness! (If you’d prefer to listen to the audio version of this story, scroll to the end of this article to find the podcast version below!)
Betty White was born on January 17, 1922, in Oak Park, Illinois. Her family moved to California during the Great Depression.
We may never have known Betty White as we do today had she lived during a different time. As an avid animal lover, Betty originally had dreams of becoming a forest ranger. But during those days, that profession was restricted to men.
“Back then, girls were not allowed to become forest rangers,” Betty explained many years later.
So, instead, Betty focused on her creative side. After graduating high school, she began pursuing a career performing. And the rest is decade after decade of history!
Betty White’s Younger Days Started 80 Years In Show Biz
In 1939, Betty White age 17 started her television career right after high school. She went on to become a trailblazer for women in the industry. But she had to overcome plenty of roadblocks along the way.
Back then, Hollywood classified Betty as “unphotogenic”. But despite the initial rejections, Betty persevered.
"You just keep plugging away," she said. "You don't give up."
Betty’s “never quit” attitude served her well. She worked on game shows and variety shows, earning herself the title of the “First Lady of Game Shows”. In addition to having her own program, The Betty White Show, she appeared in lots of other popular TV Shows.
Betty White TV Shows
- The Mary Tyler Moore Show
- The Love Boat
- Mama’s Family
- The Golden Girls
- Boston Legal
- Hot in Cleveland
The Betty White iMDb page points to plenty more roles and cameos in movies and series.
WATCH: Video Honoring The First Lady Of Television’s 97th Birthday
Funny Lady’s Search For Love with Spouse, Allen Ludden
Betty White hit a lasting groove in her career. But her search for true love took a bit longer.
In 1945, Betty married a U.S. Army Air Corps pilot, Dick Barker. But the union didn’t last long. Then, she tried again in1947 with Hollywood agent Lane Allen. The marriage ended in divorce in 1949.
After that, Betty White focused all of her attention on acting. And ironically, just as game shows helped launch her into TV, they introduced her to “the one”, as well!
While appearing on the popular game show, Password, in the 1960’s, Betty instantly hit it off with the show’s host, Allen Ludden. But with two failed marriages under her belt, Betty was hesitant to get anything romantic going.
WATCH: Betty White And Allen Ludden Met On Password Game Show
Eventually, though, she couldn’t ignore their connection and the two began dating. Though smitten, Betty lived in California and had no interest in relocating to New York, where Allen lived. So, she initially turned Allen down when he proposed!
But Allen kept at it until she finally said yes. Betty White married Allen Ludden in 1963 and legally changed her name to Betty White Ludden.
Since she was focused on her career, Betty White never had children of her own. But God blessed her with three stepchildren through her marriage to Allen. In fact, actress Sandra Bullock recalled how inspired she was by Betty’s comments on the topic of children:
"[Betty] said, ‘You know what? I never had children biologically. I married someone who had three children. And how blessed I was to have those three stepchildren.'”
The two remained wildly in love throughout their marriage.
And Betty White’s only regret? That she rejected Allen’s first couple of proposals. And this teaches us a lot about why we should never let fear rule our lives.
“I spent a whole year, wasted a whole year that Allen and I could have had together, saying, ‘No, I wouldn’t marry him. . .” Betty explained. “I wasted a whole year we could have had together.”
Sadly, Allen Ludden died of stomach cancer in 1981. Betty has never remarried. And she gave the best response when asked why:
“If you’ve had the best, who needs the rest?”
Betty White Age 98 Shares Secret To A Happy Life
God blessed Betty White with a successful career that’s spanned 80 years, which is officially the longest career in the history of TV! But it’s not Betty White’s net worth or fame that’s behind her joy.
No life will ever be without struggle. And we can easily let fear, worry, and hurt rob us of the joy God has for us. Usually, your outlook has to change first, before your circumstances can change.
"I know it sounds corny, but I try to see the funny side and the upside, not the downside," Betty White advises. "I get bored with people who complain about this or that. It's such a waste of time."
And at age 98, Betty White knows a thing or two about finding God’s blessings in the moment.
"Enjoy life," she says. "Accentuate the positive, not the negative. It sounds so trite, but a lot of people will pick out something to complain about, rather than say, ‘Hey, that was great!' It's not hard to find great stuff if you look."
What a great outlook from this inspirational lady!
On January 17, 2020, Betty White officially turned 98. Photographers at the Daily Mail were able to catch a glimpse of the darling Golden Girl out running some errands and boy does the birthday girl still look great!
Betty White, Happy Birthday At Age 98
And here are a few other interesting facts about Betty White you may not know.
7 Cool Facts About Betty White
- She’s recognized by Guinness. In 2014, the Guinness World Records awarded Betty White the record for Longest TV career for an entertainer (female).
- She’s got a backup plan. When asked what she’d be if she wasn’t a successful actress, Betty quickly replied, “Hands down, a zookeeper.”
- She’s not an Elizabeth. Oftentimes, Betty is a nickname for Elizabeth. But Betty’s parents didn’t like the other nicknames associated with Elizabeth, so they just flat-out named her Betty.
- She’s an honorary Forest Ranger. Betty couldn’t pursue her dream of becoming a Forest Ranger in her day because she was born a girl. But a lot has changed since then and now, women make up more than a third of the agency’s workforce. So, in 2010, the U.S. Forest Service at Washington’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts made Betty White an honorary Forest Ranger.
- She’s got a (not-so) secret crush on Robert Redford. Betty White often makes jokes about wanting Robert Redford as her birthday present. “I have a chronic crush on him,” she’s confessed on more than one occasion.
- She has a hot dog named after her. Betty White agreed to let the famous restaurant Pinks name a hot dog after her to raise money for the Los Angeles Department of Animal Services' shelters. The Betty White "Naked" dog is, just as it sounds, just a hot dog with nothing on it.
- She got voted onto Saturday Night Live. At age 88, Betty White became the oldest person to ever host the long-running comedy skit show, Saturday Night Live. You often hear of people getting voted off of reality shows. But in this case, Betty White got voted onto the late-night show after a grassroots campaign on Facebook, called "Betty White to Host SNL (Please), took off!
Betty White Quotes That Keep It Real (or Really Funny)
- “Retirement is not in my vocabulary. They aren’t going to get rid of me that way.”
- “I have a two-story house and a bad memory, so I’m up and down those stairs all the time. That’s my exercise.”
- “Animals don’t lie. Animals don’t criticize. If animals have moody days, they handle them better than humans do.”
- “I may be a senior, but so what? I’m still hot.”
- “Don’t try to be young. Just open your mind. Stay interested in stuff. There are so many things I won’t live long enough to find out about, but I’m still curious about them. You know people who are already saying, ‘I’m going to be 30 – oh, what am I going to do?’ Well, use that decade! Use them all!”
- “I just want to bring as much natural as I can. I’m not saying that people who take acting lessons are false. They’re much better than I am, but it doesn’t work for me.”
- "My mother always used to say, "The older you get, the better you get. Unless you're a banana."
- "Everybody needs a passion. That's what keeps life interesting. If you live without passion, you can go though life without leaving any footprints."
- "It's your outlook on life that counts. If you take yourself lightly and don't take yourself too seriously, pretty soon you can find the humor in our everyday lives. And sometimes it can be a lifesaver."
h/t: The Vintage News
Featured Image Credit: Youtube/ABC News