In 1952, Betty White landed her first lead on a TV series with Life With Elizabeth. On the show, she played Elizabeth, wife to Alvin (Del Moore), as fans tuned in to see the day-to-day events of the newly married couple. The black-and-white show had three short sketches and often broke the imaginary fourth wall for a unique watching experience.
For two seasons, White played new bride Vickie Angel in the 1950s comedy show. Every episode followed Vickie and her insurance salesman husband Gus (Bill Williams) as well as their friends and neighbors.
Oh, Sue Ann Nivens! Beginning in season four of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, White stepped into the role of Sue Ann Nivens, who, to this day, is one of her more memorable characters. Sue Ann was the neighborhood nymphomaniac, who worked at the same network as Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore), but instead of working on the WJM news show, she was the star of The Happy Homemaker and talked about cooking, decorating and bizarre themed shows about fruit and famine. Off screen she was saucy, man-obsessed and super competitive, which only made us love her more.
The Illinois native played an over-the-hill TV star named Joyce Whitman on The Betty White Show. Throughout the series, fans saw Joyce trying to stay relevant, star on a terrible crime drama called Undercover Woman, directed by her ex-husband, all while living with a crazy roommate named Mitzi (Georgia Engel).
The actress guest starred on five episodes of The Love Boat—the memorable series about romantic and hilarious tales of passengers and the crew on board the Pacific Princess—as both Louise Willis and Betsy Boucher from 1980 to 1985.
White was a recurring character on Mama's Family, which was a spinoff of the skit "The Family" from The Carol Burnett Show starring Vicki Lawrence as Thelma "Mama" Harper. White played the eldest of Thelma's three children, Ellen, who was pretentious and avoided the rest of her family unless it suited her to be with them.
Beginning in 1985, White played one of the four leads on The Golden Girls and won our hearts over with her portrayal of Rose Nylund. The series, which ran until 1992, was about four women who were either divorced or widowed and became roommates in Florida. With Rose's sweet demeanor and eternal optimism, Blanche's (Rue McClanahan) love of all men, Dorthy's (Bea Arthur) strong and sassy command of the house and her mother Sophia's (Estelle Getty) witty and wild humor this show was quite a riot to watch every week.
The Golden Palace was a short-lived spinoff of The Golden Girls following Blance (McClanahan), Rose (White) and Sophia (Getty) after they buy a hotel. Since Dorthy (Arthur) was married, the trio had to fend for themselves and figure out what it actually takes to run a hotel.
Julia Wallace (Marie Osmond) did everything in her power to stay away from dating and instead chose to run the family-owned coffee shop she loves, but her mother Shirley (White) had other plans...making sure she doesn't give up on love.
Jimmy (Alfred Molina) was trying to raise his 10-year-old daughter with his current wife Donna (Sharon Lawrence) and his teenage daughter Bonnie (Kaley Cuoco), who he shared with his ex wife. To make things more complicated his mom Mitzi (played by White) was always around.
White was a recurring character on That '70s Show as Bea Sigurdson, the grandmother of Eric Forman (Topher Grace) and mom to Kitty Forman (Debra Jo Rupp). She was totally passive aggressive and always yelling at her husband when she showed up in Wisconsin to pay the family a visit.
From 2005 through 2008, the hilarious actress starred as Catherine Piper on Boston Legal. Catherine was complicated to say the least, starting as the secretary to Alan Shore (James Spader) at Crane, Poole, and Schmidt. She, of course, was always on hand with a sandwich or cake and accidentally set her doctor's office on fire. She was wild.
What TV actress hasn't been on a soap opera, right? From 2006 to 2009, White played Ann Douglas, who was the long-lost mother of Stephanie Forrester (Susan Flannery), on the long-running soap.
This comedy might be about book publisher Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock) getting engaged to her assistant Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds) in order to keep her visa and stay in America, but White's Grandma Annie really steals the show. When the fake couple go to Alaska to meet Andrew's family, Grandma Annie, or "Gammie" makes everyone laugh with her tiny dog, bridal dress fitting jokes and chanting in the woods.
White played Grandma Bunny in this 2010 comedy. After Marni (Kristen Bell) realizes her brother is going to marry her high school bully, and her mother Gail (Jamie Lee Curtis) is faced with her high school foe, the two can't help but face off against their nemesis ahead of the wedding. Good thing Grandma Bunny is there for comic relief...until her high school rival appears at the reception!
White played the sassy caretaker Elka, who lives in the guest house of Melanie (Valerie Bertinelli), Joy (Jane Leeves) and Victoria (Wendi Malick) in this TV Land comedy. After the trio of Los Angeles entertainment industry veterans is forced to land in Cleveland, Ohio on their way to Paris, they quickly discover that beauty and age are perceived differently than where they are from. This causes them to stay in Cleveland and rent a house where Elka is still residing, and causing some mayhem on her own.
Even though White only appeared on two episodes of Bones as Dr. Beth Mayer, the world's most experienced forensic anthropologist, both appearances were totally memorable. She definitely gave Temperance "Bones" Brennan (Emily Deschanel) a run for her money in the lab and her sass was spot on.