Golden Girls actress Betty White dies after 80-year career

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Golden Girls actress Betty White has died at the age of 99, after a career that spanned a whopping 80 years.

The beloved actress and Hollywood icon has died just weeks before her 100th birthday which would have taken place on January 17, sources have told TMZ.

It has been reported that the actress died at her home on Friday morning.

Her death comes shortly after an interview with People which saw her celebrate her "good health" as she shared her excitement to turn 100.

She told the publication: "I'm so lucky to be in such good health and feel so good at this age. It's amazing."

The US actress played Rose Nylund in Golden Girls, which was on screens for seven seasons – a total of 180 episodes – between 1985 and 1992.

She reprised her role of Rose in The Golden Palace, a spin-off of the original series which came after actress Beatrice Arthur decided to quit the show.

While Golden Girls saw Betty's popularity soar in the late 1980s, she had already achieved incredible success earlier in her career.

Her television career began back in 1939, just three months after she graduated high school, when she appeared on an experimental Los Angeles TV channel.

She enjoyed work as a model and on stage at Bliss Hayden Little Theatre, though her career was put on hold with the outbreak of World War II.

During the Second World War, Betty volunteered for the American Women's Voluntary Services, which saw her help transport military supplies through California.

After the war, her acting career stalled when she was told she was "unphotogenic" – so she turned to radio.

She eventually landed her own radio show, The Betty White Show, before appearing as a co-host on the daily live television variety show Hollywood on Television.

Following the departure of her co-host Al Jarvis, Betty took on the hosting duties on her own and went on to be nominated for her first Emmy Award in 1951.

She won a Regional Los Angeles Emmy the following year for her work on TV comedy show Life With Elizabeth, in which she played the titular role.

In 1954 she landed her second solo show on NBC, and she stood up to racist attitudes after viewers threatened to boycott unless African-American performer Arthur Duncan was removed.

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In the face of criticism, Betty defiantly said: "I'm sorry. Live with it." She also gave Arthur more screen time.

Throughout the 1960s, Betty appeared on a number of game shows before debuting in the feature film Advise & Consent in 1962.

Betty got her second and third Emmy Awards in the early 1970s after appearing as Sue Ann Nivens in The Mary Tyler Moore Shore.

In 1983, Betty became the first woman to win a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host for Just Men!. She has since been deemed the "First Lady of Game Shows".

Then came her run on The Golden Girls, reprising her role of Rose in The Golden Palace as well as in guest appearances on Empty Nest and Nurses.

Following this, Betty joined soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful in 2006, as well as starring in Boston Legal.

In 2012, Betty won her first Grammy Award for a spoken word recording of her book If You Ask Me.

And she voiced Bitey White in Toy Story 4, which was released in 2019.

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Away from her working life, Betty has had a romantic time, though has not remarried since her third husband's death in 1981.

Her first marriage was to Dick Barker, a US Army Air Forces pilot in 1945, though it was short-lived.

In 1947, Betty got hitched to Hollywood agemt Lane Allen, before getting divorced in 1949.

Her 1963 marriage to TV host Allen Ludden was the romance to keep her hooked though, until his death from stomach cancer.

Following his death, in an interview with Larry King, Betty said about remarrying: "Once you've had the best, who needs the rest?"

Betty never had children of her own, however she is step-mother to Allen Ludden's three kids from his marriage to Margaret McGloin Ludden, who died of cancer in 1961.

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