Betty White turns 98 today. And not only has she been working for over 80 years, she continues to work to this day.
White is a legend in entertainment, working steadily for as long as she has and becoming both a household name and beloved Hollywood figure. White hasn't stopped working since she started, and every new credit builds on her legacy. Grandparents remember her from the game shows of old, while their grandchildren have heard her voice in "Toy Story 4."
And as it turns out, working as much as Betty White has for as long as she has is pretty lucrative. How much is the television legend worth?
Betty White's Net Worth
While estimates vary, Betty White is estimated by Celebrity Net Worth to be worth as much as $75 million. If that figure is even close to true, it's a testament to the incredible sustained run of success in entertainment, from several successful TV show roles to her reputation as a game show mainstay.
Betty White's Career
Betty White was born in 1922. By 1939, she already had her first television credit.
Television, in addition to being a fraction of the phenomenon it is today, was a medium White didn't get consistent work in at first. After her first TV appearance, White was mostly relegated to radio work for the next decade, and also began to do work behind the scenes in television. Around the time she got back into TV, on a 5½-hour program called "Hollywood on Television," she also began working in television production. She helped create Bandy Productions, a production company that would give White her first starring role as an actor.
That first role was on the show "Life With Elizabeth," which not only became a success in syndication but got White her first Emmy nomination, in just the third-ever Emmy awards. She has overall been nominated for 21 Primetime Emmy Awards (and won a Regional Emmy for this specific role in 1952). The show premiered in 1952 and, after being syndicated, aired until 1955.
For nearly two decades after that, White made her name not as an actress but as a personality for talk shows, variety shows and game shows. Through shows like "Password" and "What's My Line?", White remained a mainstay on television sets and a household name.
White got her next chance to become a major cast member of a scripted show in the mid-70s on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." First appearing on the show in its fourth season, White stayed on the show for the rest of its seven-season run. Her portrayal of Sue Ann Nivens won her both her first and second Primetime Emmy Awards in 1975 and '76 (the fifth and sixth consecutive Emmy awards, respectively, the show won for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series; she was nominated but lost in 1977).
Suddenly, White was one of the biggest names in TV.
After the end of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," White kept working in television doing part roles as well as her own short-lived sitcom, "The Betty White Show." Eventually in the mid '80s, well into her 60s, White got what would become the defining role in her career.
"The Golden Girls" premiered on NBC in 1985. White had originally booked the role of Blanche Devereaux, but ultimately ended up switching roles with actress Rue McClanahan, who had booked the role of Rose Nylund. The switch was one of the best things that happened to White's career; her Rose was one of the breakout characters in an ensemble of well-known actresses, and after its first season White was the one who took home the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.
That 1986 Emmy was the last White won for her portrayal of Rose, but she would be nominated every year the show was on. And "The Golden Girls" ran for seven seasons and 180 episodes, one of the most massive hit network comedies of its era. The show won Outstanding Comedy Series in both of its first two seasons, and each of the four main women in the cast went on to win Emmys for their portrayals of their respective characters. The show still runs in syndication to this day. After the show ended in 1992, White reprised her role (along with McClanahan and Estelle Getty) for the spinoff "The Golden Palace," which lasted one season.
At this point, with her many award nominations and hit TV shows, White had fully cemented an impressive career and legacy. Rather than coasting or retiring (she was over 70 by the time "The Golden Palace" was canceled), she continued to work. She even won another Emmy in the '90s, for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for playing herself on "The John Larroquette Show."
As she got older, White developed a reputation as one of America's most beloved actresses. She appeared in commercials as herself and hosted "Saturday Night Live" (winning another Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Emmy). That goodwill even translated into another job in the main cast of a sitcom: "Hot in Cleveland" on TV Land, which premiered in 2010 and led to a nomination for Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 2011. She also hosted a prank show, "Betty White's Off Their Rockers," from 2012-14.
And as previously mentioned, she still works to this day. Last year, she voiced a character in Pixar's "Toy Story 4."