Meet Allen Ludden — Betty White's Husband Who Passed Away In 1981

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Meet Allen Ludden — Betty White's Husband Who Passed Away In 1981Betty White

When it comes to Hollywood, Betty White is clearly a legend, but some fans might not know much about her personal life.

That's where the documentary Betty White: The First Lady of Television comes in, which is now streaming on Netflix — and it introduces fans to the love of White's life.

But who is White's husband? Here's everything fans need to know about Allen Ludden. 

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1. The documentary follows White's life from the beginning of her career, all the way to today. 

Originally, Betty White: The First Lady of Television aired on PBS in 2018, but only recently was the hour-long documentary made available for streaming on Netflix. 

"Betty White: The First Lady of Television is a warm look at the life and career of the beloved television and film legend who celebrates 80 years in show business this year — officially the longest career in the history of TV. Lauded for her roles as the bawdy Sue Ann on The Mary Tyler Moore Show the innocent Rose on The Golden Girls and her more recent role as the worldly Elka on Hot in Cleveland, Betty White is also an industry pioneer. She was the first woman to produce a national TV show, the first woman to star in a sitcom, the first producer to hire a female director and the first woman to receive an Emmy nomination," says the documentary's official description

It included interviews with White herself, as well as stars like Tina Fey, Ryan Reynolds, Valerie Harper, and Alex Trebek.

2. Ludden was White's third husband, although he died in 1981. 

White was married three times — first, to a Army Air corps pilot named Dick Barker, who she wed in 1945 before divorcing that same year. Next was Lane Allen, a Hollywood agent she was married to from 1947-1949.

But when she married Allen Ludden in 1963, they stayed married until 1981, when he died less than a week before his and White's 18-year wedding anniversary after battling stomach cancer. 

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3. Who was Betty White's husband? Ludden also worked in TV. 

Much like White made her living as a TV personality, Ludden did the same. After a career in the US army, Ludden went on to be known for hosting game shows, including GE College Bowl, Password, and Password Plus. Aside from that, Ludden also released an album and wrote several advice books, as well as a novel for children.

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4. Ludden proposed to White several times before she accepted. 

In a 2015 interview (and in the documentary), White admitted that Ludden proposed to her for a full year before she said yes, and that not saying yes sooner was one of her biggest regrets.

"I spent a whole year, wasted a whole year that Allen and I could have had together, saying, 'No, I wouldn't marry him. No, I won't. No, I won't leave California. No, I won't move to New York,'" White said. "I wasted a whole year we could have had together. But we made it. We finally did."

5. She's shared a photo with Ludden before on Instagram.

White doesn't post often on social media, and only one of her 53 Instagram posts have included Ludden. In 2017, after Mary Tyler Moore's death, she shared a photo with the late actress that also included Ludden and Grant Tinker.

"Mary Tyler Moore, Grant Tinker, Allen Ludden and I had some of the best times of my life together. She was special," White wrote at the time.

6. White has never wanted to remarry since Ludden's death. 

In fact, in the past, White has called her first two marriages "dress rehearsals," and in 2011, she said that she doesn't plan to remarry now that Ludden is gone.

"Once you've had the best, who needs the rest?" she said. "I made two mistakes before Allen, but the love of your life doesn't come along in every life, so I am very grateful that I found him."

Ludden may have been gone for almost 40 years, but it's clear that he won't be forgotten — and certainly not by White.

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Nicole Pomarico is an entertainment and lifestyle writer whose work has appeared in Cosmo, Us Weekly, Refinery29, and more.