8 overlooked and outstanding Betty White roles

The TV icon once played Marie Osmond's mom!

Image: The Everett Collection

Betty White was around since the inception of television. In fact, the acting legend made her television debut in 1939 by participating in an experimental broadcast in Los Angeles.

Since then, White went on to portray some of the most iconic roles of all time, including Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Ellen Harper Jackson on Mama's Family and Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls.

With such a storied career, it's hard to honor every single role White had throughout the years. Believe us, there's been a lot!

Here's a look back at some of her most overlooked roles. We bet you've never heard of Vickie Angel! 

1. 'Date with the Angels'

After Life with Elizabeth in the early 1950s, White's second big television role came as Vickie Angel on the sitcom Date with the Angels, which ran for one season in 1957. The series wasn't a major stetch for the time, revolving around a husband and wife and the various situations they get themselves into.

However, White wasn't a fan of the show's sponsor, Plymouth Cars, saying, "That was the only time I have ever wanted to get out of a show." Plymouth phased out the show's dream sequences because they thought fantasy didn't work well on TV, which didn't set well with White.

Image: MCA Television

2. 'The Betty White Show'

White made guest appearances throughout the '60s, but finally received her own show after the success of Mary Tyler Moore. On The Betty White Show, White played Joyce Whitman, an actress who lands her dream role only to find out her ex husband is directing the project. The Betty White Show only lasted one season in 1977 due to stiff competition from Monday Night Football.

Image: CBS Television

3. 'The Golden Palace'

We all know Rose Nylund from The Golden Girls, but who remembers Rose Nylund from The Golden Palace? The spinoff of the popular '80s sitcom featured White, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty selling their Miami home and opening a hotel nearby. Despite playing the same characters, the audience didn't connect with the new series. It was canceled after one season.

Image: Buena Vista Television

4. 'Bob'

Right after The Golden Palace was canceled, White jumped to Bob, another one of Bob Newhart's eponymous sitcoms. The actress had a starring role as Sylvia Schmidt during the show's second season, acting as Bob's new boss. However, the part was brief, as Bob was canceled five episodes after White's introduction. Yes, the early 1990s were rough for White.

Image: Everett Collection


5. 'Maybe This Time'

In a cruel play on words, White starred in Maybe This Time not long after The Golden Palace and Bob proved to be unsuccessful. In the sitcom, White plays Shirley, a bakery owner whose daughter just so happens to be portrayed by Marie Osmond. The time wasn't right for Maybe This Time, and the series was canceled after (you guessed it) one season. The sitcom was also the first U.S. role for British talk show host Craig Ferguson.

Image: Sony Pictures Television

6. 'Ladies Man'

Never one to give up after a string of losses, White continued with her television career by signing onto the sitcom Ladies Man in 1999. White plays Mitzi Stiles, just one of many women living under the same roof as her son Jimmy Stiles. The series featured a young Kaley Cuoco, who went on to star in The Big Bang Theory.

Image: Sony Pictures Television

7. 'Boston Legal'

Well into her 80s by the time Boston Legal premiered in 2004, White picked up a recurring role as Catherine Piper on The Practice spinoff. Proving that White just gets sassier with age, the slick-talking Piper had a plethora of roles on the show, from one of the character's assistants to the law firm's sandwich lady.

Image: 20th Television

8. 'The Bold and the Beautiful'

The Bold and the Beautiful has run more than 7,000 episodes since its debut in 1987, so 23 episodes is just a drop in the bucket. But from 2006 to 2009, White signed onto the soap opera to appear as Ann Douglas, the grandmother of Ridge Forrester. Aside from her starring role as Elka in Hot in Cleveland, this was White's last recurring role on a television series. 

Image: BBL Distribution, Inc.

 
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RobertM 8 months ago
The man in #2 is John Hillerman.
CouchPotato19 10 months ago
God Bless Betty in heaven! Our mom is so much like Betty White, we always called her that!! My mom is 94.
JHP 10 months ago
heaven got even more classy and funny

RIP Betty
RIP Louie Andersen

and a tearful nod to Meatloaf (I guess heaven needed to get a bit rocky-er)

and in todays "stars" - no fill-ins
WSK2513 11 months ago
This may be not be a Betty White moment, per se but she supports what is one of the Odd Couples greatest episodes and the illogical logic used in the "Password Sequence".
CouchPotato19 WSK2513 10 months ago
Love those two!!
scp 11 months ago
If you can see her appearances on Boston Legal, do so. And Leslie Jordan, who was also guesting on the show, has an amusing story about her (which has spoilers, so I won't repeat it here).
MadMadMadWorld 11 months ago
I saw an episode of "The Millionaire" (Decades.com) on Friday, with her as an owner of a hamburger diner, who then travels to Europe with her new-found wealth. Aired in Oct. 1956, so she was 34 then, just after her first starring series "Life with Elizabeth" (1952-1955, aged 30-33). Who knew she would be on television until 2019, at 97! https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0648517 ("Millionaire Virginia Lennart")
bobgclark 11 months ago
Friday night we were supposed to see the Dean Martin roast on Betty White. It was on the Decade network (Ch 13 here in L.A.). But it was never pre-empted. Does anybody know just when this roast will be shown on TV? We know of the various shows on Sunday wherein Betty had a great role though.
LoveMETV22 bobgclark 11 months ago
Don't know about on tv, but you can watch it on ShoutTV free:
https://www.shoutfactorytv.com/dean-martin-celebrity-roasts/the-dean-martin-celebrity-roasts-betty-white-5-6-78/5d8e604afef27c5bffe41711

LisaDaileyGregory 11 months ago
Game Shows were her Forte even before she met Allan Luddon. Johnny Carson had a show Carson's Cellar 1951-1953 he was everywhere lol.
MichaelGreene 11 months ago
On Amazon.com, there's an offering of a season of episodes of the game show "To Tell the Truth", where celebrities had to determine which one of three contestants was the actual person who did something notable. The Amazon.com shows date to 1971. One show has Johnny Carson as one of the celebrities...yes, he was on TV before "The Tonight Show". Also, Betty White was one of the celebrities who tried to guess the correct person.
MarkSpeck MichaelGreene 11 months ago
She appeared on the recent reboot of TTTT, and they honored her by showing a montage of clips from her appearances on previous incarnations.
LpCloyd 11 months ago
Betty White was phenomenal in a movie called "The Lost Valentine". It is not comedy, it is a dramatic role and her acting just by the expressions on her face alone are very moving.
Rgranata24 11 months ago
What a blessing that she leaved that long she was blessed with good health not to many people are that fortunet
JoeGuenther 11 months ago
Her funniest stuff was on Game Shows like Match Game.
Moverfan JoeGuenther 10 months ago
We never would have known what great legs Gene Rayburn had if it weren't for Betty (he knew she'd roll his pants leg up, yet he kept going over and standing next to her...well, i appreciated it!).
DENMAG 11 months ago
AND you overlooked her great role in the film Lake Placid!!
KatherineZeigler 11 months ago
The "Late Great" Betty White will be missed and best remembered for her roles in "Mary Tyler Moore, Bold &Beautiful, The Golden Girls & Hot IN Cleveland", and The SUPERBOWL advertisement a few year's ago,and mama's Family, since they're more recent than her earlier roles, I was born in 1957,the year of her earliest role. I think she was a contestant on the game shoe "Password" starring Allen Luden, her late husband. (I only remember that game show through reruns,though.)

Well. you're not as old as Betty White's career! By 1957, she already had done a talk show and Life With Elizabeth! In fact, she made her first TV appearance in 1939 and did radio in 1930!
Supercat58 11 months ago
She had a long, great career and will be sorely missed. The most memorable to me was of Sue Ann on Mary Tyler Moore. She was the character you loved to hate, which just shows how talented (and gorgeous ❤️) she was.
Kid 11 months ago
Betty always was a babe .. she filled my dreams as Susanne the happy home maker !! Just loved her … she will be missed !!!
Sara 11 months ago
What about playing Kitty's mom, Eric's grandmother, on That 70s Show? I loved Betty White. May she rest in peace
Dave 11 months ago
Is that Jimmy Stiles or Alfred Molina in LADIES MAN?
MaryMitch Dave 11 months ago
Good catch! Alfred Molina's character was named Jimmy Stiles.
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