Betty White Put Acting on Hold During World War II to Join the Military

by Clayton Edwards

Betty White is a legend. The characters that she has played over the years have brought joy to countless people around the world.

At the same time, Betty White broke ground in the world of television. After all, she has been in the TV business for over eighty years. With a career that long, she had to break new ground. In fact, she was the first woman to produce a sitcom. She starred in and served as a producer on Life with Elizabeth which first aired in 1953. This paved the way for future women of television and Hollywood alike. Think about how much of an impact Lucille Ball had on entertainment. In a way, White cleared the path for her.

Betty White got her start in 1939, shortly after she finished high school. She sang on an experimental TV show, appeared on a variety show, and had a brief career as a model. She might be the world’s cute-as-a-button grandma today. Back then, however, Betty was a bombshell.

In the early forties, America entered World War II. When her country came calling, the future Queen of Television took heed.

Betty White Joins the Military

World War II brought the citizens of the United States together like few things in history ever have. Those who weren’t overseas fighting were part of the war effort here at home. Many women entered the workforce. At the same time, everyone in the country tightened their belts. Purchases were limited. Most materials and goods were shifted to help drive the Allied Forces to victory. No one escaped the impact of the war. Betty White was no exception. When it was time to step up and help her country, White signed up, got a uniform, and went to work for Uncle Sam.

Betty White obviously wasn’t storming the beaches of Normandy or lifting the flag on Iwo Jima. She did, however, have a pretty important role here in the States. In 1941, White joined the American Women’s Voluntary Services.

During her time with the American Women’s Voluntary Services, Betty White helped to boost morale and keep supplies moving. During the day, White drove trucks full of supplies to temporary military camps in the Hollywood Hills. At night, she would attend dances held for soldiers who were about to be deployed, according to Cleveland Magazine.

Shortly after the war ended, Betty White’s career took off. Since then, she has been a major player in both television and film.