Top 25 Facts About Betty White You Probably Didn’t Know

Posted by , Updated on January 9, 2024

Introducing a wonderful list: top 25 facts about Betty White you probably didn’t know. There are many hated celebrities in Hollywood, but White is not one of them. She is the personification of a living legend. With more than eight decades of a stellar career in the show business, the talented actress is truly one-of-a-kind.  

That’s not the reason people love her though. The ever-glamorous, funny, and spirited Betty White has become the inspiration for millions of fans. Even though she is not on the list of the most influential people in the world, she is one of the most beloved actresses in the US.  One reason Betty’s so popular (at 97), is her anti-stereotypic portrayal of the “little old lady.” She’s vocal, she’s opinionated and she gives great advice to the people who need it.

As Betty suggests, take yourself lightly and seek humor in your everyday life. Without a doubt, White is well on her way to being one of the most beloved public figures and contemporary philosophers in history. Her words of wisdom are usually sandwiched between lots of humor and laughter which fans have grown to love. So, without further ado, here are  25 Amazing Facts About Betty White that you probably didn’t know!



She's not a Californian


Contrary to popular belief, Betty White isn’t a native of California. She was born on January 17, 1922, in Oak Park, Illinois. Her family moved to Los Angeles when she was only two.


Betty by birth


According to White’s autobiography, she was given the name “Betty” at birth, not “Elizabeth” as some falsely believe. This happened because her parents didn’t want other people to call her other nicknames that derive from Elizabeth, such as Beth or Liza.


She’s of multi-ethnic origin


Her maternal grandfather, Nicholas Cachikis, was Greek. Her paternal grandfather, Christopher Hans Christian White, was Danish. Her grandmothers, both Canadian-born, had English and Welsh ancestry.


She was a truck driver


Very few know that before she became a famous comedian, White was a member of the American Women’s Voluntary Services. What was her role exactly? Believe it or not, she drove a PX truck during World War II.


She was also a "phone girl"


Soon after she graduated from Beverly Hills High School in 1939, White started looking for work. She started her illustrious career as the “Phone Girl” on Al Jarvis’s afternoon TV show in L.A.


Early beginnings

Vintage Radio Family Listening_2

However, before becoming a truck driver and a “phone girl,” she had technically started her career in radio back in 1930 at the age of 8. She was playing an adopted orphan on the soap opera “Empire Builders”.


One of the first female producers in Hollywood


In the early 1950s, she launched her first television series, Life with Elizabeth. She also wrote and produced the show together with George Tibbles. “I was one of the first women producers in Hollywood,” she would later recall during an interview. Keep in mind that she was still living with her parents back then.


Betty the Mayor


Being the first woman to produce a sitcom helped her to become the honorary mayor of Hollywood in 1955. She was only 33 at the time.


She's a dedicated Democrat


She is a very well-known Democrat and vocal about it. During the years she has endorsed Franklin D. Roosevelt, Adlai Stevenson, John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama most recently.


When she met Obama


Despite being passionate about politics, her big love revolves around animals and puppies. When she met President Barack Obama at the White House in 2012, she spent most of the time with the presidential dog, Bo, on her lap.


She’s an animal activist


But this shouldn’t surprise anyone, as she’s famous for being an animal activist. For that matter, she works with a number of organizations. Some of them include the Los Angeles Zoo Commission, the Morris Animal Foundation, Actors & Others for Animals, the Farm Animal Reform Movement, and Friends of Animals.


She loves puppies way too much


White was offered the role of Helen Hunt’s mother in As Good as It Gets (1997). Can you guess why she turned it down? Because Jack Nicholson’s character had to shove a puppy down a laundry chute at some point during the film.


And picks her friends wisely


This explains her good friendship with Ralph Helfer. Helfer’s a notable animal trainer and Hollywood animal behaviorist, who has offered several of his exotic animals for her television show The Pet Set.


She has been married three times


White has never been a shy person. She publicly admitted that her first marriage to Army pilot Dick Barker in 1945 was all about sex. After they spent six months in bed together as she claimed, they decided to divorce. Her second marriage was to agent Lane Allen, but she decided to settle down for good when she met her third husband, Allen Ludden.


But she has no children


White never had any children of her own. However, she’s the stepmother of Allen Ludden’s three children from his first marriage to Margaret McGloin.


She hates reality television


Betty’s definitely not a fan of the Kardashian family or The Bachelor. However, she hasn’t gone into detail about her aversion to reality tv.  She has only publicly stated that she is not a fan of reality tv.


Her passion for writing goes way back


She started writing plays when she was in grammar school. She knew from a really young age that she loved writing more than anything.


She's the last of the Golden Girls


From the four major stars on The Golden Girls, Betty White is the oldest and the only surviving actress today. Bea Arthur, Estelle Getty and Rue McClanahan have all passed away.


She's a record breaker


At the age of 88 and a half, she became the oldest person to ever host Saturday Night Live.


Longest TV Career for a Female Entertainer in History


Betty White’s a living legend, but you know that already. In 2014, she got an award for having the “Longest TV Career for an Entertainer (Female)” for her more than 70 years in the show business.



She never worked with Robert Redford though...


Betty loves and admires Robert Redford more than anyone in the world of entertainment. If you ask her what’s the one thing she regrets most, she will tell you how she never got a chance to work with Mr. Redford.


She has her own Star


She received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1988. The star is next to her late husband, Allen Ludden’s star.


She's not against cosmetic surgery


She has admitted to having had cosmetic surgery before The Golden Girls (1985). Ironically, that show was about aging naturally and not having issues with it.


She loves junk food


If you ask her what’s the secret for aging so gracefully, a healthy diet won’t be one of the responses you’ll get from her. According to her Hot in Cleveland co-star Jane Leeves, Betty White literally lives on hot dogs, French fries, red licorice and Coca-Cola.


In Betty White we trust


A recent poll in which more than 2,000 Americans participated, revealed that White is the most trusted celebrity in the US today. What’s even more impressive, almost half of the participants admitted that they would be more likely to choose a specific company or product, if it was linked to the influential actress.