15 Amazing Facts About Betty White

Betty White at a Los Angeles Zoo event in 2015.
Betty White at a Los Angeles Zoo event in 2015. / Vincent Sandoval/GettyImages
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4. White’s initial rise to stardom was derailed by World War II.

betty white 1950s headshot
A headshot from the 1950s. / Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Before she took off on television, White was working in theater, on radio, and as a model. But with WWII, she shelved her ambitions and joined the American Women's Voluntary Services. Her days were devoted to delivering supplies via PX truck throughout the Hollywood Hills, but her nights were spent at rousing dances thrown to give grand send-offs to soldiers set to ship out. Of that era, she told Cleveland Magazine, “It was a strange time and out of balance with everything.”

5. Her first sitcom hit was in the early 1950s.

Co-hosting the Al Jarvis show Hollywood on Television led to White producing her own vehicle, Life with Elizabeth. As a rare female producer, she developed the show alongside emerging writer-producer George Tibbles, who would go on to work on such beloved shows as Dennis the Menace, Leave It to Beaver, and The Munsters. Though the show is not remembered much today, in 1951 it did earn White her first of 21 Emmy nominations. Of these, she won five.