‘Golden Girls’ Star Betty White Volunteered in WWII, Danced with Soldiers Before Their Deployment

by Megan Molseed
(Photo by Francesco Da Vinci/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Very few doubt that the great Betty White is anything short of a legend. In her extensive career on stage, film, and television the former Golden Girls star has played so many memorable characters over the years each of which has brought delight to her countless fans.

The actress is known for a ground-breaking career in her eighty years in the business. Among these groundbreaking moments, Betty White is credited as the first-woman-ever to produce a sitcom.

She acted as both producer and star in 1953’s sitcom Life With Elizabeth. This accomplishment, of course, helped pave the way for future women in the business...both in television specifically, and in Hollywood as a whole.

A Promising Career Leading to ‘Golden Girls’

Betty White got her start in the business in 1939 just a few years after graduating high school. The actress began her iconic career as a singer, variety show actress.

Not long after breaking into the business, America was facing the second world war. And, says Betty White, this meant her country needed her.

Betty White’s Call to Serve Her Country

As World War II gripped the world, and our nation, everyone stepped in to do what they needed to do.

Those who were not called overseas to fight in the war were committed to doing what was needed as part of the war effort at home. Women who had previously set focus on homemaking stepped out to join the workforce.

Many joined efforts to serve however they could here at home to support our overseas soldiers. And, Betty White was no exception in this effort.

In 1941, the actress, singer, dancer, and producer signed up to join the American Women’s Voluntary Services.

During her time with the American Women’s Voluntary Services, White was dedicated to doing what she could to help boost morale here at home and worked tirelessly to help keep supplies available both here at home and overseas.

During the day, then actress manned trucks that were full of supplies – driving them to short-term military camps located within the Hollywood Hills.

Betty White was a fully uniformed volunteer in this effort as drove the PX truck to furnish much-needed supplies to this effort.

A Strange Time

At night, however, the actress employed her skills in the entertainment field; attending dances planned for soldiers who were facing deployment.

“It was a strange time and out of balance with everything,” Betty White told Cleveland Magazine.

“Which I’m sure the young people are going through now,” the actress continued.

Of course, after the war ended, Betty White returned to her calling as a performer. The actress went on to develop some of the most beloved characters in television history such as Su Ann Nivens on the Mary Tyler Moore Show; and, of course, Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls.