This Is How Much Betty White Is Worth Now

"The Golden Girls" has been a hit ever since it first hit our screens in 1985. It even made stars out of its four lead actors — Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan, Betty White, and Estelle Getty. Yet only one of these leading ladies has been leading the pack when it came to receiving the largest paychecks over the course of her career. Today, Betty White is worth nearly $75 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

Though she may be rich now, White actually acted for free for a while just to help make a name for herself. At one point early on in her career, she was even paying $50 dues every month to star in plays at a local theater in Los Angeles. Luckily, after only one month, the theater recognized her level of talent. "The next month I got what amounted to a raise. I could be in the next play and not have to pay them anything," she told the Archive of American Television. "I didn't make anything, but I didn't have to pay them anything." Her acting career only continued to grow from there.

Now, White is a household name around the world. Here are just a few of the things that have contributed to her massive net worth.

Betty White's first payday came from saying a single word in a commercial

Back when Betty White was looking for her first paying gig, she decided that radio may be the way to go. She eventually figured out that Tuesdays were the days that a local radio station casted their commercials. Though she wasn't a member of the union, she would go and sit in their offices, hoping it would help secure herself a gig. "I figured if they saw me often enough, they'd think they had hired me," she explained to the Archive of American Television

After a few weeks, one of the producers noticed and sat down beside her. He explained how she wasn't qualified for the job but eventually agreed to give her a single word in a commercial for $37. Though it sounded like an easy enough gig, White found herself starting to overthink the pronunciation of "Parkay." "Of course, I had it written in front of me, so I managed to get through it," she laughed. 

Betty White's game show hosting gig didn't make big bucks in the beginning

As far as game shows go, Betty White was given the opportunity to host one when casting came around for "Grab Your Phone." She was one of the four women hired to answer callers phoning in with answers to the trivia questions. There, producers paid the aspiring actor $10 each week. "And they said, 'Don't tell any of the other girls,'" she later explained to the Archive of American Television. "'Cause they're only getting $5, but you ad-lib with the M.C., so you get $10.'" It may not seem like much now, but it was a solid gig for someone trying to break into show business.

Fast-forward to 1983, and White was asked to host another game show called "Just Men." That year, she was the very first woman to ever win a Daytime Emmy in the category of Outstanding Game Show Host. White later went on to appear on other game shows like "The $25,000 Pyramid," "Match Game," and "Password." "I love games," she later told Parade. "Of course, I met my husband on 'Password,' so that one is extra special."

Betty White's big break made her even more money

In 1949, Betty White was about to get her first big break on television. A disc jockey by the name of Al Jarvis called her in hopes she'd want to be cast on his talk show "Hollywood on Television." "I thought, 'Sure! Gee, another job? Maybe I'll make another 10 bucks,'" she told the Archive of American Television. It turned out that the series would be airing live each weekday for five hours, so the pay was a bit higher than that. Jarvis offered the young actress $50, and at the time, she couldn't even believe it. "$50 a week!" she reminisced. "I was in heaven."

Each week, White would appear alongside Jarvis, and the two would ad-lib as music played around them. It was an important gig, and one that taught White a lot about what it meant to be on television — and it also ended up becoming super successful. "After three weeks, they extended it to also a show on Saturday," she said. "And stretched it from five hours a day to five and a half hours a day."

After four years of hard work, White's co-host decided to leave the popular series. Luckily, the crew had the perfect replacement in mind. "I inherited the show," White said, and the rest is history. 

Betty White was one of the world's first female television producers

Once Betty White had taken over acting on our small screens, the actor opted to hop behind-the-scenes. In 1952, she began her own production company called Bandy Productions. Now, she had even more power over the roles she was placed in, and it was an important step in her television career for a particular reason. "I was one of the first women producers in Hollywood," she explained to The Hollywood Reporter.

White's first project was producing and starring in a half-hour sitcom called "Life with Elizabeth." The series was done live in front of a studio audience — one of the first of its kind to do so. Though it was a big deal, it didn't have a very big budget. "We had about a $1.95 budget for each show," she laughed during an interview with PBS

While White was excited about the project, executives didn't think any show could be funny enough for an entire 30 minutes. Unexpectedly, the series was so successful that it ended up lasting for three whole years. "Funny thing: half-hour situation comedies somehow has been done again, I guess, hasn't it?" she laughed. Television certainly hasn't been the same since!

Betty White was once offered a lot to host the Today show

Early on in her career, Betty White was offered to co-host a popular morning program you may recognize — the "Today" show. Surprisingly, she wasn't even remotely interested in moving away from the West Coast. Her agent at the time thought it was an amazing opportunity for the actor, but she still declined. "He thought I was out of my mind!" she told the Archive of American Television.

Even after saying "no" to the role, NBC was still adamant about getting White to move to New York City for the job. They even insisted on purchasing her an apartment inside the St. Regis Hotel so she would be able to return to her home in California over the weekends. "At first that sounded, 'That's not a bad idea!'" White said. "And then I began figuring out time, because that was before jets, so it was an eight-hour flight." In the end, she ultimately declined.

The network's second option for the position was a woman named Barbara Walters. "And you know, they somehow managed to muddle through," White laughed.

The Golden Girls has made Betty White worth more than gold

In 1985, another television show came calling for Betty White. "'Golden Girls' was pure gold," she told The Hollywood Reporter. "Once I read that script and saw the casting, I knew I had to be involved." That year, she began to portray the role of Rose Nylund alongside three other actors named Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan, and Estelle Getty.

Over the course of seven seasons, White found herself more famous than ever. She was nominated for seven Emmys (and won in 1986) for playing Rose — something she had never dreamed of. "I never thought about those things," she admitted to Variety. "I was happy to work!"

When the series came to a close in 1992, more than 27 million people tuned in to see the finale, according to Forbes. Today, Collider reports that White makes $3 million every year just from reruns of the series (via CheatSheet).

Betty White appeared in one of the most popular Super Bowl commercials of all time

Betty White was a well-established household name by 2010. That year, she was asked to star in a commercial for Snickers. In it, she can be seen being tackled to the ground by a group of football players. It made audiences everywhere laugh, but White never imagined it would be as big as it became. "It wound up airing on the Super Bowl," she told CBSNews.com. "And then the doors all started opening." Even today, it's still one of the most popular Super Bowl commercials of all time, according to USA Today's Ad Meter.

Not only is White entertaining to watch, but viewers believe her to be just as trustworthy. According to a poll conducted by Reuters shortly after the Super Bowl, she was voted the most trusted famous face — beating out stars like Oprah Winfrey, Kate Middleton, and Michelle Obama. In fact, 44 percent of the people polled said they would want to spend money with a company if White was the face of it. Lucky for businesses everywhere, this actor loves being a part of advertisements on TV. "I think I would get the bends without a commercial to do every now and then," she wrote in her memoir "Here We Go Again: My Life in Television," per Variety.

Betty White's single appearance on Saturday Night Live earned her an Emmy

Shortly after Betty White's successful Super Bowl commercial, viewers were wanting to see her on television again. According to NPR, one fan in particular started up a Facebook page, petitioning to see her host "Saturday Night Live." In 2010, their plea came true. With Jay-Z as the musical guest, White had a hosting gig secured on "SNL," and she was the oldest actor to ever do so. Yet, even for a woman who's truly done it all, being on the live late-night show made her nervous. "And with cue cards I hope I don't have to wear my glasses," she told PopSugar prior to the show. "I hope the print is big enough."

Luckily, fans loved seeing White that weekend. According to Entertainment Weekly, the episode had the highest ratings of any other that year and won White another Emmy. It was also the most viewed primetime show that evening as well. Though White has never revealed her paycheck amount from that evening, Justin Timberlake once shared with ET that he was paid $5,000 when he hosted "SNL" the year prior.

Betty White's guest roles proved that the show couldn't go on without her

You know what they say: The show must go on. But the show can't seem to go on without Betty White.

In 1974, producers were searching for an actor like White to appear in a single episode of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." Lucky for them, they locked in the real deal herself. "When they asked me, I was so excited," White said during an interview with the Television Academy. What was supposed to be a guest role turned into writing White into the rest of the series after she improvised a scene that wasn't originally written into the script.

A similar situation happened with "Hot in Cleveland" in 2010. When they were shooting the pilot, White had it written in her contract that she would only appear for a single episode. When the series got picked up, she couldn't resist continuing to play Elka Ostrovsky. "I had such a wonderful time with them that sure I signed up and said I'd do some more," White told TV Is My Pacifier, and the series continued for six seasons. Celebrity Net Worth reports that White was paid $75,000 per episode.

Betty White's written a few best-selling books

Betty White has lived a very interesting life, so much so that she decided to write all about it in 1983. Her first book talked all about the most important people in her life — her pets. "Betty White's Pet-Love: How Pets Can Take Care of Us" included anecdotes about her furry friends as well as stories from other Hollywood stars. Her love for sharing a good story didn't stop there, either. Four years later, she released her own memoir called "Betty White: In Person," and by the time her third book, about a guide dog, came out, she had become a New York Times Best-Selling author.

White has written eight books, and her latest certainly didn't disappoint other animal lovers. In 2011, she wrote "Betty & Friends: My Life at the Zoo." In fact, if she wasn't an actress, she would love to pursue a completely different profession: "Hands down, a zookeeper," she said during an interview with Guinness World Records — though it obviously wouldn't pay as much as her movie star career!

Betty White's made a lot of cameos in famous films and TV shows

Over the course of her 80-plus years in show business, Betty White has truly made a name for herself. She's become so famous that she's gotten to play a very popular character again and again on-screen: herself. In 2007, she appeared as herself on a show that even had her name in the title, "Ugly Betty." In 2009, she appeared on an episode of "30 Rock" as a friend of Tracy Jordan.

Aside from those two roles, she's even taken her acting skills into animation. She's appeared twice on "The Simpsons" and once on "Family Guy."

In 2019, White had the ultimate honor of having a character named after her in the fourth "Toy Story" film. In the movie, she voiced a toy tiger named Bitey White. "I'm just lucky they asked me to be a part of it," she later told Entertainment Weekly. "It's a lovely group, and they're all friends of mine. It doesn't get any better." But maybe it does — the family film ended up bringing in over $1 billion worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo, so we can only assume she got a pretty hefty paycheck as well!

Betty White donates much of her money to charity

While Betty White has always loved show business, there's something else that's always been near and dear to her heart. "I have to keep acting so that I can afford to keep doing my charity work!" she once admitted to The Hollywood Reporter.

Over the course of her career, she's been heavily involved in supporting both the L.A. Zoo and the Morris Animal Foundation, which is dedicated to helping improve the lives of animals. In fact, she even told Smithsonian that she has turned down movie roles because of mistreatment of animals on set.

Out of everything she's starred in, her TV show all about animals has to be one of White's favorites. In 1971, she started up the series "The Pet Set” to shine the spotlight on animals. "I'm actually the luckiest old broad alive," she said. "Half my life is working in a profession I love and the other half is working with animals. I couldn't ask for more."