Betty White

Actress


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In her nearly two-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Betty White talks about her start in television as a co-host, with Al Jarvis, on L.A.'s local station KLAC in 1949. She also recalls her years as a guest host on Jack Paar's Tonight Show, and as a 20-year co-host for the Rose Parade. White speaks in detail about The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Golden Girls, including the members of both casts and the producers: Mary Tyler Moore, Grant Tinker, Ed Asner, Ted Knight, Gavin MacLeod, Estelle Getty, Rue McClanahan, and Bea Arthur. Tony Fantozzi conducted the interview on June 4, 1997 in Los Angeles, CA.

"I'd like to be remembered as Betty, their good friend that they invite into their home."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Betty White on appearing in an experimental television broadcast of "The Merry Widow" in 1939
Betty White on appearing on Password with eventual husband Allen Ludden
Betty White on appearing on Tonight Starring Jack Paar
Betty White on the ensemble cast of The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Betty White on the end of The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Betty White on the original script and casting of The Golden Girls
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her early years and influences; on appearing in an experimental television broadcast of "The Merry Widow" in 1939; on her experience with World War II
On appearing on the radio program "The Great Gildersleeve" for sponsor Parkay; on going on the air on KLAC in Los Angeles, and on the panel show Grab Your Phone; on television programming on the west coast in the '40s and early '50s, and on appearing on The Al Jarvis Show
On winning an Emmy Award for Outstanding female personality in 1952; on her first TV series, Life with Elizabeth co-starring Del Moore

Chapter 2

On hosting Hollywood on Television and on having guests like Buster Keaton on; on how it was for women in television in the early '50s; on how Life with Elizabeth developed
On the Betty White Show experimenting with color in 1954, and on the show going off the air; on hosting Tournament of Roses Parade and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
On her affinity for game shows; on appearing on Password with eventual husband Allen Ludden

Chapter 3

On appearing on What's My Line?, I've Got a Secret, and To Tell the Truth; on appearing on Match Game; on the enduring popularity of Goodson/Todman game shows
On the Quiz Show Scandals and how they never touched Goodson/Todman shows; on hosting Date with the Angels; on appearing on Tonight Starring Jack Paar
On turning down a chance to work on the Today show; on her syndicated show about animals, The Pet Set (1971); on her first appearance as Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Chapter 4

On the ensemble cast of The Mary Tyler Moore Show; on winning two Emmys for The Mary Tyler Moore Show; on the end of The Mary Tyler Moore Show
On appearing on Mama's Family and The Carol Burnett Show; on the original script and casting of The Golden Girls; on her character "Rose Nylund" on The Golden Girls, and how director Jay Sandrich helped her find her
On how she, Beatrice Arthur, Estelle Getty, and Rue McClanahan complemented each other on The Golden Girls; on The Golden Palace , and on the importance of time slots; on her Television Hall of Fame honor
On the then-current state of her career, and on her love of animals; on the then-future of television; on how she'd like to be remembered

Chapter 5

On various people with whom she's worked in her career
On B-roll footage pictures from her career- in 1939; with Al Jarvis; with Del Moore; wedding picture with Allen Ludden; with the cast of The Mary Tyler Moore Show with Emmys; with Allen Ludden at the Emmys; with Johnny Carson doing an Adam and Eve sketch
Shows

Carol Burnett Show, The (1967-78)

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Betty White on appearing on Mama's Family and The Carol Burnett Show

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

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Betty White on winning an Emmy Award for Outstanding female personality in 1952
Betty White on winning two Emmys for The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Golden Girls, The

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Betty White on the original script and casting of The Golden Girls
Betty White on how she, Beatrice Arthur, Estelle Getty, and Rue McClanahan complemented each other on The Golden Girls
Betty White on her character "Rose Nylund" on The Golden Girls, and how director Jay Sandrich helped her find her
Betty White on Rue McClanahan
Betty White on The Golden Girls director Terry Hughes
Betty White on The Golden Girls creator Susan Harris

Golden Palace, The

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Betty White on The Golden Palace , and on the importance of time slots

I've Got a Secret

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Betty White on appearing on What's My Line?, I've Got a Secret, and To Tell the Truth

Jack Paar Show, The (1953-56)

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Betty White on appearing on Password with eventual husband Allen Ludden

Life With Elizabeth

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Betty White on her first TV series, Life with Elizabeth co-starring Del Moore
Betty White on how Life with Elizabeth developed

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

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Betty White on hosting Tournament of Roses Parade and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Mama's Family

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Betty White on appearing on Mama's Family and The Carol Burnett Show

Mary Tyler Moore Show, The

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Betty White on her first appearance as "Sue Ann Nivens" on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Betty White on the ensemble cast of The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Betty White on winning two Emmys for The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Betty White on the end of The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Mary Tyler Moore Show, The: "The Lars Affair"

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Betty White on being cast on The Mary Tyler Moore Show as "Sue Ann Nivens" - the Happy Homemaker, on the episode "The Lars Affair"

Match Game

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Betty White on appearing on Match Game

Pet Set, The

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Betty White on her syndicated show about animals, The Pet Set (1971)

To Tell the Truth

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Betty White on appearing on What's My Line?, I've Got a Secret, and To Tell the Truth

Today

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Betty White on turning down a chance to work on the Today show

Tonight Starring Jack Paar aka The Jack Paar Show

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Betty White on appearing on Tonight Starring Jack Paar

Tournament of Roses Parade

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Betty White on hosting Tournament of Roses Parade and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

What's My Line?

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Betty White on appearing on What's My Line?, I've Got a Secret, and To Tell the Truth
Topics

Diversity in Television

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Betty White on how it was for women in television in the early '50s

Historic Events and Social Change

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Betty White on her experience with World War II
Betty White on how it was for women in television in the early '50s

Industry Crossroads

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Betty White on the Quiz Show Scandals and how they never touched Goodson/Todman shows

Quiz Show Scandals

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Betty White on the Quiz Show Scandals and how they never touched Goodson/Todman shows

Technological Innovation

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Betty White on the Betty White Show experimenting with color in 1954, and on the show going off the air

Television Industry

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Betty White on the Quiz Show Scandals and how they never touched Goodson/Todman shows

War

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Betty White on her experience with World War II

Women

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Betty White on how it was for women in television in the early '50s

World War II

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Betty White on her experience with World War II
Genres

Comedy Series

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Betty White on her first TV series, Life with Elizabeth co-starring Del Moore
Betty White on how Life with Elizabeth developed
Betty White on hosting Date with the Angels
Betty White on her first appearance as Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Betty White on the ensemble cast of The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Betty White on appearing on Mama's Family and The Carol Burnett Show
Betty White on playing "Rose Nylund" on The Golden Girls

Game Shows

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Betty White on her affinity for game shows
Betty White on appearing on Password with eventual husband Allen Ludden
Betty White on the enduring popularity of Goodson/Todman game shows
Betty White on attempting to host three different game shows, including Just Men!
Betty White on appearing on What's My Line?, I've Got a Secret, and To Tell the Truth
Betty White on appearing on Match Game

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

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Betty White on hosting Tournament of Roses Parade and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Betty White on appearing on Mama's Family and The Carol Burnett Show

News and Documentary

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Betty White on turning down a chance to work on the Today show

Talk Shows

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Betty White on appearing on Tonight Starring Jack Paar
People

Eddie Albert

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Betty White on working with Eddie Albert, Sam Peckinpah, Del Moore, Frank De Vol, Seaman Jacobs, and Jack Paar

Beatrice Arthur

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Betty White on how she, Beatrice Arthur, Estelle Getty, and Rue McClanahan complemented each other on The Golden Girls

Edward Asner

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Betty White on working with Mark Goodson,Dinah Shore, Rod Serling, Grant Tinker, Mary Tyler Moore, Edward Asner, Cloris Leachman, and Ted Knight

James L. Brooks

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Betty White on James L. Brooks, Allan Burns, Ed. Weinberger, Stan Daniels,

Carol Burnett

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Betty White on appearing on Mama's Family and The Carol Burnett Show

Allan Burns

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Betty White on Allan Burns, Ed. Weinberger, Stan Daniels, Jan Sandrich, Bob Daly, Donna Reed, and Johnny Carson

Johnny Carson

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Betty White on Allan Burns, Ed. Weinberger, Stan Daniels, Jan Sandrich, Bob Daly, Donna Reed, and Johnny Carson

Bob Daly

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Betty White on Allan Burns, Ed. Weinberger, Stan Daniels, Jan Sandrich, Bob Daly, Donna Reed, and Johnny Carson

Stan Daniels

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Betty White on Allan Burns, Ed. Weinberger, Stan Daniels, Jan Sandrich, Bob Daly, Donna Reed, and Johnny Carson

Don Fedderson

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Betty White on working with Dick Haymes, Al Jarvis, and Don Fedderson

Zsa Zsa Gabor

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Betty White on winning her 1952 Best Actress Emmy 

Estelle Getty

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Betty White on how she, Beatrice Arthur, Estelle Getty, and Rue McClanahan complemented each other on The Golden Girls

Mark Goodson

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Betty White on working with Mark Goodson,Dinah Shore, Rod Serling, Grant Tinker, Mary Tyler Moore, Edward Asner, Cloris Leachman, and Ted Knight

Seaman Jacobs

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Betty White on working with Eddie Albert, Sam Peckinpah, Del Moore, Frank De Vol, Seaman Jacobs, and Jack Paar

Al Jarvis

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Betty White on working with Dick Haymes, Al Jarvis, and Don Fedderson

Buster Keaton

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Betty White on hosting Hollywood on Television and on having guests like Buster Keaton on

Ted Knight

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Betty White on working with Mark Goodson,Dinah Shore, Rod Serling, Grant Tinker, Mary Tyler Moore, Edward Asner, Cloris Leachman, and Ted Knight

Vicki Lawrence

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Betty White on Vicki Lawrence, Rue McClanahan, Terry Hughes, Susan Harris, and Bob Newhart

Cloris Leachman

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Betty White on working with Mark Goodson,Dinah Shore, Rod Serling, Grant Tinker, Mary Tyler Moore, Edward Asner, Cloris Leachman, and Ted Knight

Allen Ludden

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Betty White on appearing on Password with eventual husband Allen Ludden
Betty White on her husband Allen Ludden

Rue McClanahan

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Betty White on how she, Beatrice Arthur, Estelle Getty, and Rue McClanahan complemented each other on The Golden Girls
Betty White on Vicki Lawrence, Rue McClanahan, Terry Hughes, Susan Harris, and Bob Newhart

Mary Tyler Moore

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Betty White on the end of The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Betty White on working with Mark Goodson,Dinah Shore, Rod Serling, Grant Tinker, Mary Tyler Moore, Edward Asner, Cloris Leachman, and Ted Knight

Bob Newhart

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Betty White on Vicki Lawrence, Rue McClanahan, Terry Hughes, Susan Harris, and Bob Newhart

Jack Paar

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Betty White on working with Eddie Albert, Sam Peckinpah, Del Moore, Frank De Vol, Seaman Jacobs, and Jack Paar

Sam Peckinpah

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Betty White on working with Eddie Albert, Sam Peckinpah, Del Moore, Frank De Vol, Seaman Jacobs, and Jack Paar

Donna Reed

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Betty White on Allan Burns, Ed. Weinberger, Stan Daniels, Jan Sandrich, Bob Daly, Donna Reed, and Johnny Carson

Jay Sandrich

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Betty White on her character "Rose Nylund" on The Golden Girls, and how director Jay Sandrich helped her find her
Betty White on Allan Burns, Ed. Weinberger, Stan Daniels, Jan Sandrich, Bob Daly, Donna Reed, and Johnny Carson

Rod Serling

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Betty White on working with Mark Goodson,Dinah Shore, Rod Serling, Grant Tinker, Mary Tyler Moore, Edward Asner, Cloris Leachman, and Ted Knight

Dinah Shore

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Betty White on working with Mark Goodson,Dinah Shore, Rod Serling, Grant Tinker, Mary Tyler Moore, Edward Asner, Cloris Leachman, and Ted Knight

Grant Tinker

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Betty White on working with Mark Goodson,Dinah Shore, Rod Serling, Grant Tinker, Mary Tyler Moore, Edward Asner, Cloris Leachman, and Ted Knight

Frank De Vol

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Betty White on working with Eddie Albert, Sam Peckinpah, Del Moore, Frank De Vol, Seaman Jacobs, and Jack Paar

Barbara Walters

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Betty White on turning down a chance to work on the Today show, and being replaced with Barbara Walters

Ed. Weinberger

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Betty White on Allan Burns, Ed. Weinberger, Stan Daniels, Jan Sandrich, Bob Daly, Donna Reed, and Johnny Carson

Ethel Winant

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Betty White on her first appearance as "Sue Ann Nivens" on The Mary Tyler Moore Show (cast by Ethel Winant)

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