Betty White Wanted to Be a Forest Ranger Before Pursuing Hollywood Career

by Taylor Cunningham

At 88-years old, the late Betty White finally achieved her childhood dream when she became an honorary Forest Ranger.

As a young girl, and even through high school, Hollywood starlet Betty White hoped to one day work with the U.S. Forest Service. But unfortunately, the service did not employ women when she graduated in the 1940s.

Because of that, Betty White moved forward with her backup plan of becoming an actress. And as we know, that path worked out perfectly.

But over the decades, the avid animal activist continued to speak about her desire to work with the Forest Service. And in 2010, her dream finally became a reality.

That year, Betty White became an honorary forest ranger during a star-studded ceremony inside Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center. At the event, the Golden Girls star earned a badge, a ranger’s hat—and a hug from Smokey Bear.

“In my heart, I’ve been a forest ranger all my life,” White said at the time. “But now I’m official.” 

Betty White’s Love for ‘This Beautiful Planet’ Began As a Child

While speaking to the crowd, Betty White reflected on her love for the national parks and remembered visiting the Sierra Nevada Mountains as a young child.

“My first memories are riding in front of my dad on his horse as we packed into the high Sierras,” she shared. “And we’d go in there for three weeks and never see another two-legged soul other than birds, in our lives. And then we’d come back and I’d live all the next year waiting for our next trip into the wildness. Wilderness is harder and harder to find these days on this beautiful planet.”

Honored by her new title, the actress promised that she would continue her activism. And she knew that her stardom would give her a platform to fight for America’s protected wilderness areas.

“Whether I’ve been a legitimate forest ranger or not, I’ve been working for the cause for the last 89 years,” she said. “I know this is an honorary position, but it’s also one where I can use a voice [and] try to protect the remaining beautiful parts of this gorgeous world we live on.”

Betty White Dies at 99

Actress, comedian, and activist Betty White died today. She was 99 years old.

TMZ broke the news earlier this afternoon, stating that the star died inside her home this morning. The news comes only a few weeks before Betty White was set to celebrate her 100th birthday. As of now, her cause of death is unknown.