Betty White’s Best Roles, Ranked

There are few women as iconic as the late Betty White. Her acting talents have spanned decades and she has proven herself to be a well-rounded actress who can bring believability and heart to her characters. Betty White was awarded many times for her acting that won the hearts of many viewers. With that being said, she was known for being able to deliver raucously funny lines and creating deep moments that left viewers in awe.

Since her first appearance in Advice and Consent (1962), White went on to originate many roles and iconic characters. Many of them were significantly likable; although each one typically had its own idiosyncrasies and flaws. The most memorable have been her iconic roles in The Golden Girls and Boston Legal (for which she won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series).

With that said, these are Betty White’s 5 best roles, ranked in ascending order –

Lake Placid

Betty White as Delores Bickerman in Lake Placid
Betty White as Delores Bickerman in Lake Placid

Since her success in The Golden Girls as Rose Nylund, Betty White sought out several guest appearances. One particularly great role was that of Delores Bickerman in the horror-comedy Lake Placid. From the moment she appears in the film, she shows that she is no one to be taken lightly and gives anyone who tries to talk down to her a piece of her mind. As a result, the late actress managed to turn this character into one of her most likable one.

Boston Legal

Betty White as Catherine Piper in Boston Legal
Betty White as Catherine Piper in Boston Legal

In later years, White played the feisty and incredibly talented Catherine Piper for an episode in the series Boston Legal. Even though this one episode was short-lived, her character made quite a lasting impression on fans and viewers of the day because she is so open-minded, flamboyant, and untraditional despite being older than most. Catherine surprises everyone who watches her by getting herself into all sorts of trouble. It’s impossible not to love such a bold personality! For some extra trivia about White, she named this role as one of her favorites according to EW.

Life With Elizabeth

Betty White as Elizabeth in Life with Elizabeth
Betty White as Elizabeth in Life with Elizabeth

Undoubtedly, Betty White’s television career has been incredibly influential on pop culture in general. In fact, she has acted in some of the most popular sitcoms in the last couple of decades. Her most notable role was that of Elizabeth in Life with Elizabeth. She played a housewife-turned-writer who is constantly getting herself into all sorts of trouble along with her husband. Early on, White demonstrated immense talent at creating likable and memorable characters when she performed as Elizabeth. At a time when it would have been culturally accepted to portray housewives as demure and submissive women, White effectively disproved this notion through her devilish personality.

Hot In Cleveland

Betty White as Elka Ostrovsky in Hot In Cleveland
Betty White as Elka Ostrovsky in Hot In Cleveland

This was, by all accounts, White’s moment and while she capitalized on the opportunity presented to her by crafting characters with constantly-evolving arcs, she also hit the pinnacle of both her own work and her credibility when Elka became a permanent fixture. The Golden Girls seems to have served as a kind of role model for Hot in Cleveland. With that being said, they shared an emphasis on the power of female friendship and not much else. As a member of the team – through its frequent sarcastic commentator – Elka Ostrovsky became not only one of White’s most endearing creations but also proved pivotal to Hot in Cleveland‘s renaissance late into its run.

The Golden Girls

Betty White as Rose Nylund in The Golden Girls
Betty White as Rose Nylund in The Golden Girls

White has a history of roles relating to older people, but her portrayal of Rose Nylund is the most iconic one. Throughout the series, no matter whether life throws good things or bad in her direction, Rose always remains optimistic about everything that comes at her. She never loses sight of the fact that she deserves to be happy. And there’s no question that her gift for telling St. Olaf stories is what really makes her stand apart from all the other characters on screen.

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