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The Marriage of Allen Ludden and Betty White

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Betty White and Allen Ludden in 1974

American actor Betty White stands smiling with her husband, TV producer and host Allen Ludden at an International Broadcasting Awards dinner tribute to Mary Tyler Moore in March 1974.

Photo: Frank Edwards / Fotos International / Getty Images
After widower Allen Ludden's successful long-lasting first marriage and Betty White's two short failed marriages, Betty and Allen had a close marriage where they became a team as well as lovers and "each other's critic, editor, fan and friend."

Here is information on how they met, their wedding, quotes about their marriage, and more.

Marriage Fast Facts - Betty and Allen
Met: Abt. 1962.
Married: June 14, 1963.
Marriage Ended: 1981, Allen's death.
First Marriage: No.

Did You Know?
A small cute stuffed bunny finally did the trick and Betty said yes to Allen's marriage proposal.

Born:

Elizabeth "Betty" Marion White: January 17, 1922 in Oak Park, Illinois.

Allen Ludden aka Allen Ellsworth: October 5, 1917 in Mineral Point, Wisconsin.

Died:

Allen: June 9, 1981 at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles, California. Allen died of stomach cancer. Allen was buried in Graceland Cemetery in Mineral Point, Wisconsin.
"But concerns hit closer to home in 1979 when Allen Ludden was diagnosed with cancer. To spare friends, the Luddens kept Allen's illness private until near the very end ... The Luddens kept up work on the dream house they were building in Carmel, and Betty kept working. Three days after moving into the house and three days shy of his and Betty's eighteenth wedding anniversary, in June of 1981, Allen Ludden died."
Source: Cary O'Dell. Women Pioneers in Television: Biographies of Fifteen Industry Leaders. 1997. pg. 214.

How Allen and Betty Met:

Betty and Allen met when she was a panelist on the Password television show. They reportedly fell in love while performing in the play Critic's Choice at the Lakewood Theatre in Skowhegan, Maine in August 1962.
"Their first date came when Password was originating briefly in Hollywood. Allen and Betty, chaperoned by their agents, had a business dinner together -- and then attended a performance of Critic's Choice. 'Strictly to catch the show, at least at the beginning,' added Ludden."
Source: Cynthia Lowry. "Betty White Will Wed Host of 'Password'." Gettysburg Times. 5/18/1963. pg. 10.

Wedding Date:

After Betty said no to several marriage proposals, Allen wore the wedding ring he purchased on a chain around his neck. Betty finally said yes when Allen sent her a cute little stuffed bunny. Allen and Betty were married on June 14, 1963 in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Sands Hotel-Casino. Along with Allen's three children, Betty's parents were witnesses at Betty and Allen's wedding ceremony. They had a short honeymoon in Laguna Beach, California.

Betty shares about meeting Allen, their courtship, and his marriage proposals in an interview. Her comments about Allen are in Chapter 2 of the video around the 25:14 mark.

Occupations:

Betty: Actress, game show panelist, producer, animal-rights activist, model, writer.

Allen: TV game show host, actor, producer, author, high school teacher, university professor, TV programming director, Captain in the U.S. Army during WWII.

Residence:

Betty and Allen lived in Brentwood, California.

Previous Marriages:

Betty had two previous marriages:
  • Dick Barker: Dick was a chicken farmer and military pilot. The couple married and divorced in 1945.
  • Lane Allan: Betty's short two year marriage, 1947-1949, to agent Lane Allan aka Albert Wooten ended in divorce. Betty said of Lane, "a wonderful fella [but] we never should have been married."
    Source: Cary O'Dell. Women Pioneers in Television: Biographies of Fifteen Industry Leaders. 1997. pg. 212.
Allen had one previous marriage:
  • Margaret McGloin: Allen and Margaret were married from October 11, 1943 til October 30, 1961 when she died. They had three children: David, Martha, and Sarah.

Quotes About the Marriage of Betty White and Allen Ludden:

Betty: "He [Allen] was the most genuine man I've ever known. I first fell in love with his enthusiasm. He was interested in everything."
Source: Champ Clark. "6 Things You Need to Know About ... Betty White." People Weekly. 1/25/2010. pg. 118.

Betty: “I wear his ring for good luck whenever I’m doing a big event."
Source: Philip Potempa. "Betty White brings shart wit and stories back to Chicago." VisitShoreMagazine.com. 3/19/2009.

Betty: "All of our problems came from the outside ... never between the two of us and we handled those problems together."
Source: Susan Marg. Las Vegas Weddings: A Brief History, Celebrity Gossip, Everything Elvis, and the Complete chapel Guide. pg. 174.

Betty: "Life does not come equipped with an instruction manual, and neither does death. Allen and I had worked together on and off during almost eighteen years of marriage, but in our private life we were always very much a team. As well as lovers, we were each other's critic, editor, fan and friend. While we had had two long years to get used to the idea, when he died I was shattered. My first instinct was to crawl away somewhere to mourn in private, and to some extent I suppose I did. But there were two other gentlemen in my life, my dogs, Timmy, a coal-black miniature poodle, and Sooner, a Labrador-golden retriever mix. They missed Allen, too, but were not about to let me just wither away."
Source: Jack Canfield. Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul: Stories About Pets as Teachers, Healers, Heroes and Friends. 1998. pg. 73.

Betty: "I always said I'd never get married again ... but Allen out-numbered me. He started in and the children [Ludden had three teenagers at the time] joined in -- and even the two poodles got in the act. And I surrendered -- willingly."
Source: Cary O'Dell. Women Pioneers in Television: Biographies of Fifteen Industry Leaders. 1997. pg. 212.

Art Linketter about Betty caring for Allen during his illness: "No one really knew that or that it was Betty who cared for him. she described his ordeal, and her own, as a book in itself. 'You just put one foot in front of the other and live moment to moment.'"
Source: Art Linkletter. Old Age Is Not For Sissies: Choices for Senior Americans. 1988. pg. 25.

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