Betty White, First Lady of Television has passed away. She was criticized in 1954 after having Arthur Duncan, a Black tap dancer, on her show. Her response: “I’m sorry. Live with it.”

Another iconic performer passed away, at age 99. Betty White was a supporter of equality before it was a popular thing to do,

Betty White

Arthur Duncan known for his stint as a performer on The Lawrence Welk Show from 1964 to 1982, got his big break on the Betty White show which, along with his earlier inclusion (despite Southern objections) on Betty White‘s variety/talk show (1954), made him the first African-American regular on varietytelevision programs.

Betty White, also known as the “First Lady of Television,” wore many hats, as a comedian, a talk show host, an actress, and more. But one heartwarming story about her principled stand in supporting a Black colleague’s career despite opposition highlighted another facet of her life.

In the early 1950s, White faced criticism for featuring Arthur Duncan, a Black tap dancer and singer, on a few episodes of her variety talk show “The Betty White Show.”

According to the 2018 PBS documentary, “Betty White: First Lady of Television,” (available on Netflix) Duncan credited White for his first big break. “I credit Betty White for really getting me started in show business,” he said.

In the documentary, White described that “all through the South there was this whole ruckus, they were going to take the show off the air if we didn’t get rid of Arthur because he was Black.”

They kept rescheduling her time slot until eventually the show was cancelled.

Added Duncan: “People in the South, some of them resented me being on the show and wanted me thrown out. And it was never a question at all.”

White said she wasn’t going to budge: “Evidently through the South at that point it was a very heavy [thing], and I said, ‘I’m sorry, but he stays […] Live with it!’” White said.

Duncan appeared on three episodes of White’s show in 1954.

Though she was known primarily as a legendary comedian whose career began at age of eight, Betty White also served during World War II with the American Women’s Voluntary Service. … When the war ended in 1945, she married U.S. Army Air Force pilot Dick Barker. The couple moved to an Ohio chicken farm owned by Barker’s parents.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Duncan

Betty White

BETTY WHITE SHOWS, GUEST APPEARANCES, MOVIES

1939 Radio Show
The Betty White Variety Show
The Golden Girls
Bones
Boston Legal
Mama’s Family
The Carol Burnett Show
Off Their Rockers
Bones
Life with Elizabeth
Date with Angel
Ally McBeal
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
The Dinah Caroll Show
Save Me
Fame
Hercules
Pound Puppies
Saturday Night Live
Ladies Man
The Ellen Show

Match Game
2021
I’ve Got a Secret
I’ve Got a Secret
2020
Match Game
Match Game
2018
The Late Late Show With James Corden
The Late Late Show With James Corden
2017
Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Jimmy Kimmel Live!
2015
Oprah: Where Are They Now?
Oprah: Where Are They Now?
2015
The Talk
The Talk
2015
Conan
Conan
2015
Steve Harvey
Steve Harvey
2014
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson
2014
The Queen Latifah Show
The Queen Latifah Show
2014
The Tonight Show With Jay Leno
The Tonight Show With Jay Leno
2014
The Arsenio Hall Show
The Arsenio Hall Show
2014
Late Night With Jimmy Fallon
Late Night With Jimmy Fallon
2013
Inside Comedy
Inside Comedy
2013
Anderson
Anderson
2013
The Doctors
The Doctors
2013
Joy Behar: Say Anything!
Joy Behar: Say Anything!
2013
Katie
Katie
2013
Marie
Marie
2012
Piers Morgan Tonight
Piers Morgan Tonight
2012
Home & Family
Home & Family
2012
Late Show With David Letterman
Late Show With David Letterman
2012
The View
The View
2012
Inside E Street
Inside E Street
2011
Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild
Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild
2011
The Dr. Oz Show
The Dr. Oz Show
2011
Best of the Gayle King Show
Best of the Gayle King Show
2011
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
2011
The Ellen DeGeneres Show
The Ellen DeGeneres Show
2010
Lopez Tonight
Lopez Tonight
2010
The Bonnie Hunt Show
2010
Chelsea Lately
Chelsea Lately
2009
The Martha Stewart Show
2005
Bob Hope: The First 90 Years
Bob Hope
Bob Hope
TV’s Greatest Sidekicks
Actor
80 Credits
Life With Elizabeth as Elizabeth White
Life With Elizabeth
2019
Bones as Dr. Beth Mayer
Bones
2017
Young & Hungry as Ms. Wilson
Young & Hungry
2017
Crowded
Crowded
2016
Valerie’s Home Cooking
2015
Hot in Cleveland as Elka
Hot in Cleveland
2015
The Soul Man as Elka
The Soul Man
2014
The Client List as Ruth Gibbons
The Client List
2012
The Middle as Mrs. Nethercott
The Middle
2010
Community as June Bauer
Community
2010
30 Rock as Herself
30 Rock
2009
My Name Is Earl as Crazy Witch Lady
My Name Is Earl
2009
30 Rock as Herself
30 Rock
2009
Boston Legal as Catherine Piper
Boston Legal
2008
Ugly Betty as Herself
Ugly Betty
2007
Joey as Mrs. Bly
Joey
2005
Complete Savages
2005
Everwood
Everwood
2004
My Wife and Kids as Mrs. Hopkins
My Wife and Kids
2004
The Practice as Catherine Piper
The Practice
2004
My Wife and Kids
2004
I’m With Her
2003
Malcolm in the Middle as Sylvia
Malcolm in the Middle
2003
That ’70s Show as Bea Sigurdson
That ’70s Show
2003
Yes, Dear as Sylvia
Yes, Dear
2002
Providence as Julianna Shills
Providence
2002
Ladies Man
2001
Action as Betty White
Action
1999
Ally McBeal as Dr. Shirley Flott
Ally McBeal
1999
Suddenly Susan
1996
The John Larroquette Show
The John Larroquette Show
1996
The Golden Palace
1993
Bob
1993
The Golden Girls as Rose Nylund
The Golden Girls
1992
Empty Nest as Rose
Empty Nest
1989
Matlock
Matlock
1987
Mama’s Family as Ellen
Mama’s Family
1986
St. Elsewhere as Capt. Gloria Neal
St. Elsewhere
1985
The Love Boat as Louise Willis
The Love Boat
1985
Who’s the Boss? as Bobbie Barnes
Who’s the Boss?
1985
Fame as Catherine
Fame
1983
Best of the West
1981
The Betty White Show
1977
The Mary Tyler Moore Show as Sue Ann
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
1977
The Sonny and Cher Show
1976
The Odd Couple as Herself
The Odd Couple
1972
Petticoat Junction as Adelle
Petticoat Junction
1969
Date With the Angels as Vicki Angel
Date With the Angels
1958
Eunice
The Proposal as Grandma Annie
The Proposal
The Lost Valentine as Caroline Thomas
The Lost Valentine
Love N’ Dancing as Irene
Love N’ Dancing
The Third Wish as Lettie
The Third Wish
Annie’s Point as Annie Eason
Annie’s Point
Stealing Christmas
Stealing Christmas
Bringing Down the House as Mrs. Kline
Bringing Down the House
Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt
The Retrievers as Mrs. Krisper
The Retrievers
Perfectly Mary
The Proposal as Grandma Annie
The Proposal
The Story of Us as Lillian
The Story of Us
Lake Placid as Delores
Lake Placid
Hard Rain as Doreen
Hard Rain
Holy Man as Herself
Holy Man
Dennis the Menace Strikes Again as Mrs. Wilson
Dennis the Menace Strikes Again
American Red Cross Emergency Test
American Red Cross Emergency Test
A Weekend in the Country as Martha
A Weekend in the Country
Carol Burnett’s Favorite Sketches
Carol Burnett’s Favorite Sketches
Chance of a Lifetime
Vanished
The Retrievers
The Retrievers
With This Ring
The Gossip Columnist
The Best Place to Be
Before and After
Noddy Holiday: Anything Can Happen
You Again?
Advise and Consent as Sen. Bessie Adams
Advise and Consent
You Again as Grandma Bunny
You Again
Rockin’ Road Trip as Maid in Motel
Rockin’ Road Trip
Appearing
30 Credits
Little Big Shots: Forever Young
Little Big Shots: Forever Young
2017
Valerie’s Home Cooking
Valerie’s Home Cooking
2015
Tanked: Unfiltered
Tanked: Unfiltered
2014
WWE Monday Night Raw
WWE Monday Night Raw
2014
Tanked
2013
Ace of Cakes
Ace of Cakes
2011
Million Dollar Password
Million Dollar Password
2008
Pioneers of Television
Pioneers of Television
2008
American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards
American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards
Never Give Up
Betty White’s 90th Birthday: A Tribute to America’s Golden Girl
Screen Actors Guild Awards
Britannia Awards: Honoring Excellence in Film and Television
Britannia Awards Red Carpet
Betty White: Champion for Animals
Betty White: Champion for Animals
Tina Fey: The Mark Twain Prize
Screen Actors Guild Awards
Betty White’s 2nd Annual 90th Birthday Special
Daytime Emmy Awards
Daytime Emmy Awards
TV Land Awards
60th Primetime Emmy Awards
Screen Actors Guild Awards
Roast of William Shatner
Roast of William Shatner
TV Land Awards: A Celebration of Classic TV
Jay Leno: The Mark Twain Prize
Jay Leno: The Mark Twain Prize
The 2015 TV Land Awards
The 2015 TV Land Awards
Daytime Emmy Awards
Daytime Emmy Awards
If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast
If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast
Historic Reruns, Vol. 8: Date with the Angels
Teen Choice 2010
Teen Choice 2010
Panelist
1 Credit
To Tell the Truth
To Tell the Truth
2017
Voice
17 Credits
SpongeBob SquarePants
SpongeBob SquarePants
2016
Pound Puppies as Agatha McLeish
Pound Puppies
2013
Glenn Martin, DDS
Glenn Martin, DDS
2010
The Simpsons as Herself
The Simpsons
2007
Family Guy as Herself
Family Guy
2006
Fatherhood
2005
King of the Hill as Ellen/Dorothy
King of the Hill
2002
The Wild Thornberrys as Grandma Sophie Hunter
The Wild Thornberrys
2001
Hercules as Hestia
Hercules
1998
Operation Secret Santa
Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax as Grammy Norma
Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax
Ponyo as Yoshie
Ponyo
Letters to Jackie: Remembering President Kennedy
Letters to Jackie: Remembering President Kennedy
Whispers: An Elephant’s Tale as Round
Whispers: An Elephant’s Tale
Toy Story 4 as Bitey White
Toy Story 4
Tom Sawyer as Aunt Polly
Tom Sawyer
The Story of Santa Claus as Mrs. Claus
The Story of Santa Claus
Host
8 Credits
Betty White’s Smartest Animals in America
Betty White’s Smartest Animals in America
2015
Betty White’s Off Their Rockers
Betty White’s Off Their Rockers
Regis and Kelly
Regis and Kelly
2011
Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live
2010
Golden Girls: Their Greatest Moments
Betty White Goes Wild!
Betty White Goes Wild!
70s: The Decade that Changed Television
Great Love Songs
Remarks by
8 Credits
Extra
Extra
2014
Rock Center With Brian Williams
Rock Center With Brian Williams
2011
Ladies and Gentlemen…Marie Osmond
Real Match Game Story: Behind the Blank
Mary Tyler Moore Reunion
American Teacher Awards
Mary Tyler Moore: A Celebration
Mary Tyler Moore: A Celebration
Great Women of Television Comedy
Executive Producer
1 Credit
Betty White’s Off Their Rockers
Betty White’s Off Their Rockers
Subject (person only)
6 Credits
Pioneers of Television
Pioneers of Television
2013
Betty White
Women Who Changed Game Shows
Betty White: America’s Golden Girl
Betty White: Champion for Animals
Betty White: Champion for Animals
Betty White: First Lady of Television
Narrator
1 Credit
Heart of a Hero


About unholypursuit

A. White, an award winning former librarian, who is also a long time member of Romantic Time and Publisher's Weekly. A. White has been writing for over fifteen years. She took classes in creative writing in college, specializing in ancient myths and legends. and later at a local community center while living in Chicago. In college she won the national contest to verbally list every country in the world, it's capital and ingenious language. Her works are mainly horror, fantasy, extreme, and sci-fi as well as, as some may says, "the truly strange predicament and puzzling." Books that I've written are "Clash with the Immortals, and eleven others which are part of the "Unholy Pursuit saga,". She has been working on the Chronicles since 2007. She wished to complete them all before introducing them to public so the readers wouldn't have to for the continuation to be written. The ideas of the book come from classic literature such as whose work greatly influence the world world such as Homer, Sophocles, Herodotus, Euripides, Socrates, Hippocrates, Aristophanes, Plato, Aristotle and many more. The "Book of Enoch" influenced the usage of Azazael as a main character and love interest. I created the primary main character from the Chronicle of Saints. I wanted to show them as real flesh and blood with thoughts, desires and yearning as any human. Not as they are so often depicted. So I created one of my own to show her as a real human that everyone can relate to.
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13 Responses to Betty White, First Lady of Television has passed away. She was criticized in 1954 after having Arthur Duncan, a Black tap dancer, on her show. Her response: “I’m sorry. Live with it.”

  1. The Butcher says:

    I’m really sorry. She was a great person and actress.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved her and she will be missed. 😥 It’s hard to believe that she would have been 100 this month. She never acted old. But I have to give her mad respect, because she showed us how to live and enjoy life, no matter what age you are! 🥳 Thanks for posting my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, she will be greatly missed by her fans and 96 animals she cared for. In colleges Black History I studied about her standing up for Arthur Duncan and refusing to kick him off her show even thus her show was cancelled in the south. It was the first open protest for equality in American show by American television show. Paving the way for show like the Nat King Show. Most entertainers even today wouldn’t have done that. That paved the way for African Americans in mainstream television.

      Next came the “The Nat King Cole” show. Hosted by Nathaniel Adams Coles (March 17, 1919 – February 15, 1965), known professionally as Nat King Cole, was an American singer, jazz pianist, and actor. He recorded over 100 songs that became hits on the pop charts. His trio was the model for small jazz ensembles that followed. Cole also acted in films and on television and performed on Broadway. He was the first African-American man to host an American television series. He was the father of singer-songwriter Natalie Cole.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes honey, not too many people knew that heroic fact about Betty White taking a stand for justice. I remember watching Nat King Cole’s show growing up. It was truly a historical thing back then watching on our black and white TV in the den. 😁 There weren’t too many choices on TV back then for people of color and trust me, my parents made sure to remind us of such privilege and honor for him, Sidney Portier, Cicely Tyson, Diahann Carroll, James Earl Jones, and so many others who didn’t get the accolades that actors and thespians of color do today. I’m a Baby Boomer, so I remember a lot of these monumental and historical trivia tidbits, that Lord knows we cannot forget. My mother loved Nat King Cole by the way! She had his records and she cherished them too! 😍 These trailblazers can’t be forgotten! I appreciate it my friend. Enjoy the rest of your week sweetie! 😘💖🤗🥂🥰

        Liked by 1 person

        • I only knew about Betty White taking a stand for equality because my grandmother and mother told me about it and that’s why they watched “Golden Girls”. My mother and grandmother loved Nat King Cole too! Both thought he was fine was Thutmose I! They had his records and loved them too. They used to say Natalie Cole was a good singer but not as good as her daddy. I have watched the reruns of all these shows and liked the classy, elegance of the host. I never seen any of them live. It must had been great to see the golden age of television. Yes, they were always telling us how great we have it with all the channels. Saying you only had three channels. The thing is most channels aren’t showing anything interesting. Unfortunately, we lost Mr. Sidney Poitier yesterday. 😦

          So many of these greats didn’t get the accolades that actors and thespians of color do today because of racism. They could act circles around most actors and thespians today. Frankly, IMHO, I think a lot of people who get rewards today….simply can not act nor sing. Some, who are said to be so great…I have tried to pay attention to their acting or singing but I soon lose interest.

          Liked by 1 person

          • You said a mouthful there my friend. If you haven’t read “The Measure of a Man” by Sidney Portier, be sure to check it out. It’s a nice read. If you’re on Goodreads, I’d love to connect. So many of our greats are leaving us. This is leaving us with the never-ending question of what are we going to do and what will our legacy be. I appreciate you my friend. Have a FANtabulous weekend! 🤗🥳😘

            Liked by 1 person

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