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US Army pays tribute to Betty White’s World War II volunteer service: ‘A true legend on and off the screen’

Betty White attends the “SNL” 40th Anniversary Celebration at Rockefeller Plaza in New York City on February 15, 2015.

D Dipasupil/FilmMagic

  • The US Army on Friday lauded the late actress Betty White for her service during World War II.
  • In 1941, White served as a volunteer for the American Women’s Voluntary Services.
  • White passed away on Friday at the age of 99, just days before her 100th birthday on January 17.

While millions of fans mourn the beloved television star Betty White, who passed away on Friday at the age of 99, the US Army paid tribute to the comedian for one of her earliest and most significant roles — as a volunteer during World War II.

In a statement released on Friday, the military branch lamented the death of White and detailed her association with the armed services.

“We are saddened by the passing of Betty White,” the Army said in a statement on Twitter. “Not only was she an amazing actress, she also served during WWII as a member of the American Women’s Voluntary Services. A true legend on and off the screen.”

White found work modeling in the late 1930s, but put her larger aspirations on hold during World War II in order to work with the American Women’s Voluntary Services (AWVS) in 1941.

The AWVS sent female volunteers to take on roles including firefighting, ambulance and truck driving, and aerial photography.

During an interview with Cleveland magazine in 2010, White said that her assignment consisted of driving a PX truck of supplies to barracks in the Hollywood Hills — while attending dances for departing troops at night.

“It was a strange time and out of balance with everything,” White told the magazine, “which I’m sure the young people are going through now.”

—U.S. Army (@USArmy) December 31, 2021

White, a staple on numerous game shows including “Password” and “The Hollywood Squares” from the 1960s through the 1980s, was also well-known for her roles as Sue Ann Nivens on the 1970s CBS sitcom “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” Rose Nylund on the NBC sitcom “The Golden Girls,” and Elka Ostrovsky on the TV Land sitcom “Hot in Cleveland.”

She developed a huge following among many younger Americans from her role in the 2009 film “The Proposal” and through her guest host appearance on Saturday Night Live in 2010.

Many younger Americans have also been drawn to White from streaming old episodes of “Golden Girls,” which originally ran on television for seven seasons from 1985 to 1992.

White passed away just days shy of her 100th birthday — which would have been on January 17.

In a People spread celebrating the actress, White told the magazine’s Liz McNeil and Dory Jackson in an interview conducted several weeks ago that being “born a cockeyed optimist” was the source of her sunny disposition.

“I got it from my mom, and that never changed,” she told the publication. “I always find the positive.”

At the time, White also joked that her longevity came from her diet.

“I try to avoid anything green. I think it’s working,” she said.

 

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