Betty White: America Says Goodbye to an Icon

Faye Higbee
betty white

American Actress Betty White died on December 31, just days before her 100th birthday. In addition to being an amazing actress who generally steered clear of the rants and leftist politics of her colleagues, White also served in the AWVS during WWII. AWVS: American Women’s Volunteer Service.

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AWVS 1940-1945

The American Women’s Volunteer Services was a program started by Alice Throckmorton McLean in 1940 to help prepare for the eventuality of war. Although the organization was accused of being “alarmist”at first, when Pearl Harbor occurred and America was thrust into WWII, they provided invaluable services. Betty joined soon after Pearl Harbor, and became a truck driver for the war effort.

Betty put her career on hold when World War II broke out just a month before her 20th birthday in order to join the war effort. Betty joined American Women’s Voluntary Services (AWVS), alongside over 325,000 women to provide invaluable support for on the home front during the war.

Their contributions involved delivering messages, driving ambulances, selling war bonds, spotting aircrafts, navigation, aerial photography, fighting fires, and transportation services driving vehicles that ranged from motorcycles to ambulances to dogsleds. Betty herself was a truck driver, transporting military supplies through California and shuttling supplies to soldiers barracked in the Hollywood Hills. She also participated in events for troops before they were deployed overseas.Betty said of her wartime service, “It was a strange time and out of balance with everything.”

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She wasn’t alone in her service role, Joan Crawford also joined the AWVS. Bea Arthur, her colleague in the “Golden Girls” was one of the first women to join the US Marine Corps during the War.

While Betty was well known in her Golden Girls role, and was an ardent lover of animals, especially dogs. She played an ornery Crocodile feeding woman in the movie “Lake Placid,” and starred in everything from sitcoms to Snickers commercials. She even appeared on game shows and was seriously funny with her ability to deliver one-liners. She received numerous Emmy awards for her performances in everything from sitcoms to mini-series. (Stripes)

Her endearing charm was her positive attitude and bright smile – even if her language was sometimes “salty.” Called “America’s Sweetheart,” her ability to smile was a wonderful break from the dark days we live in. Goodbye, Betty White, you will be missed.

“I just make it my business to get along with people so I can have fun. It’s that simple.”

Betty White

*****

Featured screenshot: combination of Hollywood photo and US Army.mil

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