The Truth About Betty White And Mary Tyler Moore's Relationship

Th world lost an icon with the death of Betty White at the age of 99 on December 31, 2021. Her death was confirmed by her agent and close friend Jeff Witjas, who told People, "Even though Betty was about to be 100, I thought she would live forever." While White has a decades-long career that began in the 1940s, she is most known for her roles in TV shows like "The Golden Girls" and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" (via IMDb). 

White was actually the fourth cast member of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" to die in 2021, according to the Daily News, after Cloris Leachman, Gavin MacLeod, and Ed Asner. The show's star, Mary Tyler Moore, died in 2017, according to People. White's character on the sitcom, Sue Ann Nivens, was originally written for a guest role in just one episode, but according to Deadline, the actress' performance was so good that she was already in talks to come back and become a series regular in Season 4. 

As much as White was beloved in the role, what was her relationship like off screen with Moore? 

Betty White and Mary Tyler Moore would go on double dates together

It was actually Mary Tyler Moore who helped Betty White get her role on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." According to Closer Weekly, the character of Sue Ann Nivens was actually written with White in mind. However, the producers had not actually brought the actress in to audition. Moore recalled that Sue Ann was "described in the script as being a man-eating b**** who laid out her victims with the sweetness of a Betty White." After unsuccessfully finding that type, Moore suggested they actually bring White in. 

The only problem was the producers were worried that if White failed the audition, it would hurt her friendship with Moore. The two reportedly would often go on double dates together with their husbands — Grant Tinker and Allen Ludden — which shows just how close they were. However, Moore told the producers that if White was bad in the audition to not "use her." It was that simple. 

Luckily for everyone involved, White nailed her audition and the two only grew closer working together on the show. White even went on to win two Emmys for her role as Sue Ann, according to Us Weekly. When Moore died in 2017, White paid tribute to the late actress on Instagram with a throwback picture and caption that read, "Mary Tyler Moore, Grant Tinker, Allen Ludden and I had some of the best times of my life together. She was special." Hopefully, these two BFFs are reunited in spirit.