Betty White (1922-2021) was born in Oak Park, Illinois, the daughter of a lighting company executive and a homemaker, but spent most of her of her formative years growing up n California. Her entertainment career began in radio before moving to the new world of television. White not only hosted but produced The Betty White Show, a daily talk/variety show on NBC. One of the regular performers was Arthur Duncan, a black dancer. When Southern TV stations demanded that White remove Duncan from the show, White responded, “I’m sorry, but he stays. Live with it.”
In the 1960’s, White was a frequent face on talk shows and game shows. NBC offered her an anchor position on the Today Show but she declined because she did not want to move to New York City. White moved to prime time TV in the 1970’s when she took on the part of Sue Ann Nivens on the Mary Tyler Moore Show, a role which resulted in two Emmy Awards for White. A decade later, White won another Emmy for her role as Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls. More guest roles on a host of television shows followed as well as a regular role on Hot in Cleveland.
An orange tabby cat named Toby who would often sit at the edge of White’s crib when she was a baby was the beginning of White’s love for animals. More family pets which joined the family along with frequent trips to the zoo cemented White’s affection for animals of all kinds. She became well known as an animal health and welfare activist.
Betty White, who was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was a Television Hall of Fame inductee, died just 17 days before her 100th birthday.
Why this stop? The Blue Line Oak Park Avenue stop is one of the CTA L stops serving the village of Oak Park.
Watch a recap of Betty White’s life.
Connect — Watch an episode (or two or three…) of The Golden Girls!
Get involved—Make a donation to the Betty White Wildlife Fund.