Betty White Won 5 Primetime Emmy Awards for ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show,’ ‘The Golden Girls’ & More

by Liz Holland

Betty White was an undisputed American icon. Leading up to her passing, she had the longest-running television career ever for a woman. A comedic genius and young at heart, Betty White won 5 Primetime Emmy Awards throughout her career. Honoring the actresses’ beautiful life and successful career, we look back on her wins. 

In 1975 and in 1976, White took home the honor of “Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series” for her role as Sue Ann in The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Taking the crown for two consecutive years is certainly an impressive feat, and truly speaks to how iconic the series was. 

According to White, it wasn’t always obvious that the show was going to be such a hit. “Nobody knew going in that The Mary Tyler Moore Show would be an all-time classic,” she said in an interview. “In the fourth season, I got a call one week, would I do that week’s Mary Tyler Moore Show, from casting. They wanted a happy homemaker who was a sickening, icky Betty White type.” The late star continues, “It sounded like a cute idea, and funny, because [Sue Ann] was just lovely on camera, she was so sweet, until the red light went off, and then she was a monster,” White said. “She was also the neighborhood nymphomaniac.”

Betty White Says Winning an Emmy Was a “Thrill”

Winning an Emmy for her role in the show was a big moment for her. “Talk about a thrill,” White said of winning the award. “My first Emmy was in 1952. So I waited 22 years for the next one. When they announced my name that night, and Ed Asner presented it to me, I was a mess,” White recollected. I was so excited, so happy. And so grateful. I started out as an actress in the business, but then I did game shows and talk shows. I became a “television personality.” So everybody was so surprised. ‘Why, Betty can act, isn’t that amazing?’ It really did turn my career completely around.”

And it certainly did. Following her role on The Mary Tyler Moore show, White went on to star in one of her most iconic works, “The Golden Girls”. “The Golden Girls” remains a classic across multiple generations. With episodes still in syndication and a fan convention for the series planned for April ‘22, the long-lasting impact of the project is undeniable. 

Golden Girls Was Always Special, White Says

Betty White won an Emmy in 1986 for “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series” for her role on the show. According to her, she knew from the get-go that the project was special. White revealed in an interview what was going through her mind during the table read for the show. “We all sat down for the first table read and somebody read a line and then somebody else read a line,” she explains. “It was the most exciting (read),” White continues. “We all began to look at each other because there wasn’t any first reading feeling about it. It was like we had been working together forever. I still get goose bumps thinking about it.”

White also won an Emmy in 1996 for her Guest role in “The John Larroquette Show”, and in 2010 for her Guest role on Saturday Night Live. 

Betty White passed away at the age of 99 on Friday morning. She will be remembered through her work that brought joy and laughter to the masses.