Details About Betty White's Husband Allen Ludden, 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.

Originally, the Betty White documentary aired on PBS in 2018.

"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. Betty made a lot of strides in her career and monumental moves for women.

She made many strides in her career including being the very first woman to produce a national TV show, the first woman to star in a sitcom in her show "Life With Elizabeth," the first producer to hire a female director, and the first woman to receive an Emmy nomination. She was also 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."

But who is White's husband, Allen Ludden?

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Ludden was White's third husband.

Even though she could support herself, as her net worth is 75 million dollars, White wanted to find love. She was married three times — the first was a short-lived marriage to Army Air Corps pilot Dick Barker in 1945 before divorcing that same year. Next was Lane Allen, a Hollywood agent she was married to from 1947-1949. 

She married Allen Ludden on June 14, 1963, and they stayed married until June 9th, 1981, when he died less than a week before his and White's 18-year wedding anniversary after battling stomach cancer. 

Ludden also worked in TV. 

Much like White made her living as a television personality, Ludden did the same. Born on October 5th, 1917, Ludden grew up in Mineral Point, Wisconsin, and got his bachelor's degree in English from the University of Texas at Austin in 1938 and later received a Master of Arts in English in 1941. He then joined the U.S. Army and made a career for himself there.

After he left the army, Ludden went on to be known for hosting game shows, including "GE College Bowl," "Password," and around the 1970's he officially moved to Los Angeles where Password would continue airing from 1971-1975. A few years later, "Password Plus" was then created and aired from 1979-1982.

Aside from that, Ludden also released an album and wrote several advice books, as well as a novel for children. 

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Ludden proposed to White several times before she accepted. 

Before Betty, Ludden was married to Margaret McGloin in 1943, and the two of them had a son, David, and two daughters, Martha and Sarah. Unfortunately, after only 18 years of marriage, she died of cancer in 1961. Two years later Ludden would meet White on Password and the rest is history.

After Ludden met White, he couldn't take his eyes off of her. White admitted in the documentary that Ludden proposed to her for a full year before she said yes in 1963 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."

Ludden has been featured before on White's Instagram.


A post shared by Betty White (@bettymwhite) on Jan 26, 2017 at 3:18pm PST

White doesn't post often on social media, and only one of her 53 Instagram posts has 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.

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"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.

Even though Betty didn't have any children with Allen, she helped him raise his children David, Martha, and Sarah from his previous marriage. 

Ludden died in 1981 from stomach cancer.

After Ludden's death, White said she wouldn't remarry.  

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. Much like Ludden's previous marriage, he and Betty were also married for a whole 18 years and he also died of cancer like his previous wife. 

"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.