On This Day: Allen Ludden, Betty White’s Husband and ‘Password’ Host, Dies in 1981

by Madison Miller
Photo by: Bettmann / Contributor / via Getty Images

Sadly, on June 9, 1981, The First Lady of Television, Betty White, became a widow.

After marrying and divorcing both Dick Barker and Lane Allen, Betty White found who she considers the love of her life. “Once you’d had the best, who needs the rest?” she told Larry King. While she dated again, White never saw herself remarrying.

Allen Ludden Passes Away

White and Allen Ludden were married in 1963. The future couple first met when Betty White was a guest on “Password.” Eventually, the duo reunited when they both co-starred in “Critic’s Choice” in New England summer stock. They were married in Las Vegas. Ludden was also a widow and had three kids of his own during a previous marriage.

“Well we were up there for three weeks and pretty soon he didn’t say hello, he’d say ‘Will you marry me?’ Well, it was a joke, I’d laugh it off and he’d laugh it off…” White said during Television Academy in 1997. For over a year he started proposing to her until eventually, it wasn’t a joke anymore.

He passed away from complications related to cancer and a stroke he had a year before. He was in and out of the hospital frequently after the stroke.

Ludden was only 63 when he died. Since then, Betty White has remained single and has not tried or seemed to want to remarry.

The legendary “The Golden Girls” actor is currently 99 years old and seems to be healthy.

According to UPI, Betty White was next to her husband in the hospital when he passed away in Los Angeles. You may recognize Ludden as the host of some very popular game shows of the time. He was the moderator of “GE College Bowl,” “Password,” and “The Liar’s Club.” He also won an Emmy for his work on “Password,” his most popular show. Ludden also would go on to produce “Stumpers” and “Allen Ludden’s Gallery.”

He also wrote books for teenagers. They were called “Plain Talk About College,” “Plain Talk for Women Under 21,” and “Plain Talk for Men Under 21.”

Betty White Regrets Not Being with Him Sooner

Despite getting to spend 18 wonderful years together, Betty White finds that she regrets the decisions she made that didn’t get them even more time together.

“I spent a whole year, wasted a whole year, that Allen and I could have had together, saying, ‘No, I wouldn’t marry him,'” White said to Oprah Winfrey in 2015.

She said that she turned down his proposal and refused to restructure her life for him at the beginning of the relationship. White wouldn’t leave California and move to New York.

White has often referred to her first two marriages as “mistakes” and “rehearsals” during past interviews. She once joked to Piers Morgan, “Back in those days, you didn’t sleep with a guy until you married him,” according to Honey.