Betty White: ‘Golden Girls’ Icon Was First Woman to Win Emmy for Hosting Game Show

by Matthew Wilson
Photo credit: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images

Betty White may be best known for her work on “The Golden Girls” as Rose Nylund. But she also earned a remarkable achievement in game shows. White became the first woman to win the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Game Show host.

White won the Emmy for hosting the game show “Just Men!” in 1983. But White actually got her start in game shows much earlier than that. During the 1950s through the 1980s, White mad appearances in various game shows of that era. She appeared on shows like “To Tell The Truth,” “Password,” and “Pyramid.” White was also a regular on the “Match Game” as a panelist as well during this period. At one point, White briefly host that game for a round taking regular Gene Rayburn’s place.

All those game show appearances earned White the moniker “First Lady of Game Shows.”

In 1983, White finally got a chance to host her own game show, the short-lived “Just Men!” The game show featured two women contestants going head to head. The grand prize was a brand new car. To win, the women had to guess how a panel of seven male celebrity guests would answer a question.

Each correct guest earned the contestant a key, which had the chance of starting the car. White gave a rave performance as host of the show, bringing her brand of kooky comedy. But the show stumbled in the ratings, being canceled after only 65 episodes. Still, White’s role on the show earned her an Emmy for the role.

Betty White Wins Multiple Emmys

White added the prize to her Emmy collection. During her career, White also won two Emmys for “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” in the 1970s. Later she added an Emmy for her work on “The Golden Girls” during the 1980s. Finally, White won another Emmy at age 88 when She hosted “Saturday Night Live” for the first time.

The actor actually has several other firsts to her name as well. White became one of the first women to both star and produce a sitcom in the 1950s. White starred in the short-lived “Life with Elizabeth” as the titular character of the sitcom. White produced the show as part of her production company Bandy Productions, which she started with George Tibbles. The show only ran for a total of two seasons. But it offered a start to one of the sitcom world’s longest and most enduring careers as well.