A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

32 Photos of the Incomparable Betty White

In honor of Betty White's unparalleled 99 years of life, here are some memorable photos celebrating her illustrious career.

Betty White June 20, 2015
Amanda Edwards/WireImage/Getty Images

Here’s to you, Betty!

Betty Marion White was born on January 17, 1922, in Illinois, and it didn’t take her long to start making waves in the entertainment industry. Even before she gained television stardom, she appeared on several different radio shows throughout the 1940s—including her own, The Betty White Show. Her career would soar through several more decades, as she graced the screen in classic TV shows and sitcoms like The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Golden Girls, catapulting her to larger-than-life cultural icon status. In addition to this gorgeous shot, taken at a Los Angeles Zoo gala in 2015 when White was 93, here are some more pictures taken throughout the life of the unparalleled Betty White, who passed away on December 31, 2021, at age 99.

White & Albert At KLAC-TV Studio
Nigel Dobinson/Getty Images

Lights, camera, action, Betty!

Betty White started gracing the small screen in the late 1940s after appearing on several radio shows throughout the decade. Here, she’s seen smiling for the camera during a 1952 broadcast of Hollywood on Television. 1952 was also the year she cofounded Bandy Productions—pretty groundbreaking for the male-dominated 1950s entertainment industry! She totally deserved commendation right along with these other women pioneers who changed the world.

Betty White feeding her huge St. Bernard, Stormy
Bettmann/Getty Images

Puppy love

Just when you thought Betty White couldn’t get any more delightful, turns out she was a big-time dog person. Betty White, age 32, was starring in—and, breaking the norms at the time, producing—Life with Elizabeth when this 1954 photo was taken. Here, she fed her massive St. Bernard, Stormy, one of several dogs she owned throughout her life.

White frequently spoke passionately about her lifelong love for not just dogs, but all animals. After her passing, fans on social media started using the hashtag #BettyWhiteChallenge, which encourages people to donate to a local animal shelter on January 17 to honor White’s memory on what would have been her 100th birthday.

Betty White
Graphic House/Getty Images

Mirror, mirror on the wall

Everyone does a double take in the mirror, including Betty White. This 1954 photo shows White fixing her hair in the mirror. Here are some reasons why we’ll love Betty White until the end of time.

circa 1955: Promotional studio portrait of American actor Betty White smiling and wearing a patterned dress with a heart-shaped brooch.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Smiling starlet

White was quintessential ’50s charming elegance in this studio headshot from 1955. Check out some more glamorous vintage photos of life in the 1950s.

Betty White is honored as she rides in a Chevrolet in the Chirstmas Parade in Los Angeles,CA.
Earl Leaf/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

On a roll

Betty White, age 33, could have been a pageant queen in this 1955 photo. She was perched atop a Chevrolet decorated with her name, smiling at spectators of a Los Angeles Christmas parade.

circa 1956: American actor Betty White sits in a canvas chair with her name written on the back, looking over her shoulder in a backyard garden.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Sitting pretty

Betty White, age 34, struck this glamorous pose in a personalized chair. By the time this photo was taken (in 1956), she’d already been a producer on her sitcom Life with Elizabeth, as well as a talk show called The Betty White Show (a television version of her 1940s radio show).

Michael Ansara and Betty White, 1957
De Carvalho Collection/Getty Images

Point: Betty White

We bet Betty White had a heck of a serve. Here, she relaxes while playing tennis alongside actor Michael Ansara in 1957.

American TV personality Allen Ludden (1917 - 1981) and his wife, actress Betty White, at the 18th Emmy Awards, at the Hollywood Palladium, Los Angeles, 22nd May 1966.
Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Power couple

White was all smiles at the 1966 Emmy Awards. She shared a table with her first husband, Allen Ludden, the host of the game show Password. She met him while appearing as a celebrity guest on the show, and they married in 1963 when she was age 41. Sadly, Ludden would pass away in 1981.

Canadian actor Lorne Greene (1915 - 1987) and American actress Betty White posing for a publicity still, in front of a back projection of a Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, 1969.
Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Happy Thanksgiving

White prepared to host the 1969 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, with her co-host, actor Lorne Greene, in this pre-broadcast promotional photo. Super-creepy cat balloon behind them notwithstanding, this photo was a charming slice of Americana.

Betty White, US actress, smiling as she holds an Emmy Award, against a yellow background, USA, circa 1975.
Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

And the Emmy goes to…

Betty White, age 53, posed triumphantly with her brand-new Emmy Award at the 1975 ceremony. She’d been nominated for the award before, in 1951, but this was her first win. She won for her recurring guest stint on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Promotional portrait of the cast of the TV series, 'The Golden Girls,' 1980s. CW, from top left: Rue McClanahan, Bea Arthur, Betty White and Estelle Getty.
Fotos International/Getty Images

The gang’s all here

Betty White’s most famous role of her entire career was Rose Nyland from The Golden Girls, the classic sitcom celebrating female friendship that ran from 1985 to 1992. Here, White, along with her cast-mates Rue McClanahan, Bea Arthur, and Estelle Getty, poses for a promotional photo for the show.

Emmy Winners Betty White Michael J Fox 1986
Bob Riha Jr/Getty Images

We’ve got some winners!

White and actor Michael J. Fox pose for a picture backstage at the 1986 Emmys. She won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series that year for her role in The Golden Girls, while Fox won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for his role as Alex P. Keaton in Family Ties.

Actresses Betty White (left) and Lucille Ball embracing at a book signing event in Los Angeles, October 2nd 1987.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

A pair of pioneers

Name a more iconic duo! At a book signing in 1987, White was all smiles with another 1950s household name, I Love Lucy‘s Lucille Ball. White and Ball certainly looked great for ages 65 and 76, respectively.

Signing of Top Dog - November 9, 1991
Ron Galella/Getty Images

Two top dogs

Betty White and actor James Stewart share a laugh during the signing of Top Dog in 1991.

1992 Publicists Guild of America Awards - March 27, 1992
Jim Smeal/Getty Images

Golden Girls group shot

White and her Golden Girls costars get a group photo together at the 1992 Publicists Guild of America Awards. 1992 was also the year their legendary TV show aired its final episode.

Actress Betty White meets some of the goats during the LA Zoo's Annual Beastly Ball fundraiser Satur
Bryan Chan/Getty Images

Kidding around

Following Betty White, ever the animal lover, into the 21st century, this photo shows her taking time to meet a few goats during the LA Zoo’s Annual Beastly Ball fundraiser in 2003.

The 6th Annual TV Land Awards - Backstage And Audience
Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images

Comedy heavy hitters

What a trio! Betty White met up with Bea Arthur and Henry Winkler backstage at the 6th Annual TV Land Awards in 2008. We love seeing The Fonz hang out with a couple golden girls.

Betty White winking June 11, 2009
Gary Gershoff/WireImage/Getty Images

Wink, wink

This 2009 shot captured her continued spunk as an octogenarian. At age 87, she attended an event at New York City’s Fuse Studios, rocking this bold pink-and-black patterned blouse.

2010 Teen Choice Awards - Backstage And Audience
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Two of America’s sweethearts

Betty White and Sandra Bullock share a hug at the Teen Choice Awards in 2010. The two became close friends after starring in 2009’s romantic comedy The Proposal together.

Actress Betty White poses with the Life Achievement Award in the press room at the 16th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on January 23, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

A SAG smooch

Only a few days after her 88th birthday, White got cozy with this delightfully over-the-top tiki statuette, which was bestowed upon her with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 16th Screen Actors Guild Awards. Of course, a full decade after that, her achievements continued.

Betty White Named Honorary Forest Ranger
Paul Morigi/Getty Images

An honorary Forest Ranger

White’s lifelong activism for animal rights and her childhood dream of being a forest ranger contributed to her being named an honorary Forest Ranger in 2010. Here, she holds a Smokey the Bear stuffed animal during the ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Betty White Portrait Session
Bob Riha Jr/Getty Images

Arms wide open

To say Betty White had a legendary career is an understatement. She talked about her career at the Museum of Radio and TV in Los Angeles in 2011, where this lovely photo was taken.

25th Anniversary Genesis Awards - Show
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

An embrace with Ed Asner

The two Mary Tyler Moore Show alums shared a sweet moment onstage at the 25th Anniversary Genesis Awards in 2011. Asner passed away in August 2021, just four months before White’s passing.

Betty White Unveils Her First Ever Wax Figure At Madame Tussauds Hollywood
JB Lacroix/Getty Images

Double Betty!

Double the Betty, double the fun. White had some fun attending the unveiling of her wax figure at Madame Tussauds Hollywood in 2012.

The Friars Club Salute To Betty White
Jim Spellman/Getty Images

Kisses from a pup

How sweet! Here, White gets a kiss from Uggie the dog at The Friars Club Salute to Betty White in 2012.

Betty White Accepts The "Who-Manitarian" Award As Universal Studios Hollywood Celebrates "Grinchmas"
Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images

Betty the “Who-Manitarian”

It was definitely a White Christmas at Universal Studios Hollywood in 2012. There, White accepted the “Who-Manitarian” award during Universal’s “Grinchmas” celebration.

ctress Betty White holding a parrot at the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association's (GLAZA) 44th Annual Beastly Ball at Los Angeles Zoo on June 14, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.
Angela Weiss/Getty Images

Betty and birdie

A 92-year-old White delightedly made friends with this majestic parrot at the Los Angeles Zoo in June 2014.

Actress Betty White poses next to her cake at the celebration of her 93rd birthday on the set of "Hot in Cleveland" January 16, 2015
Mark Davis/Getty Images for TV Land

Have your cake and eat it

May we all have this much enthusiasm when presented with the cake on our 93rd birthdays! That’s right, Betty White was still slaying in hot pink on her 93rd birthday as she prepared to dig into this fancy luau cake on the set of Hot in Cleveland in 2015.

The 42nd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards - Show
Jesse Grant/Getty Images

Blowing a kiss

White earned several awards throughout her career. Here, she’s seen accepting the Daytime Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award at the 42nd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards in 2015.

Betty White attends SNL 40th Anniversary Celebration at Rockefeller Plaza on February 15, 2015 in New York City.
Larry Busacca/Getty Images

Saturday night’s all right

Shortly after celebrating her 93rd birthday in 2015, White attended another celebration—the 40th anniversary of Saturday Night Live, on February 15 of the same year. White made her Saturday Night Live hosting debut on May 8, 2010, making her the oldest-ever host by a full eight years at age 88. Her performance was so good that it earned her a fifth Emmy—this time, for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series.

The 41st Annual People's Choice Awards - Backstage And Audience
Christopher Polk/Getty Images

The people’s choice

The crowd celebrates as Betty White accepts the award for Favorite TV Icon at the 41st Annual People’s Choice Awards in 2015. The people spoke loud and proud that night!


Meghan Jones
Meghan Jones is a word nerd who has been writing for RD.com since 2017. You can find her byline on pieces about grammar, fun facts, the meanings of various head-scratching words and phrases, and more. Meghan graduated from Marist College with a Bachelor of Arts in English in 2017; her creative nonfiction piece “Anticipation” was published in the Spring 2017 issue of Angles literary magazine.
Kelly Kuehn
Kelly Kuehn is a former editor for Reader’s Digest who covered entertainment, trivia and history. When she’s not working you can find her watching the latest and greatest movies, listening to a true-crime podcast (or two), blasting ‘90s music and hiking with her dog, Ryker, throughout the Finger Lakes.