As always, the further we go back in Hollywood history,
the more that fact and legend become intertwined.
It's hard to say where the truth really lies.
January 17, 1922
Betty Marion White is born.
Actress, comedian, presenter, singer, author and television personality. In 2013, the Guinness World Records awarded White with having the longest television career for a female entertainer.
To contemporary audiences, White is best known for her television roles as Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls. Since the death of co-star Rue McClanahan in 2010, she is the only surviving Golden Girl. She currently stars as Elka Ostrovsky in the TV Land sitcom Hot in Cleveland for which she has won two consecutive Screen Actors Guild Awards.
She also hosted NBCs practical-joke show Betty White's Off Their Rockers which resulted in two Emmy nominations.
Regarded as a television pioneer for being one of the first women in television to have creative control in front of and behind the camera, White has gone on to win six Emmy Awards (five for acting), receiving 20 Emmy nominations over her career, including being the first woman to receive an Emmy for game show hosting (for the short-lived Just Men!) and is the only woman to have won an Emmy in all performing comedic categories.
In May 2010, White became the oldest person to guest-host Saturday Night Live, for which she received a Primetime Emmy Award. White also holds the record for longest span between Emmy nominations for performances—her first was in 1951 and her most recent was in 2012, a span of 61 years—and has become the oldest nominee as of 2013, aged 91. The actress is also the oldest winner of a competitive Grammy Award, which she won in 2012.
Due to her legacy and continued success within the entertainment industry The American Comedy Awards, The Screen Actor Guild and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts have all awarded White with Lifetime achievement awards recognizing her contribution to television.
She has made regular appearances on the game shows Password and Match Game and played recurring roles on Mama's Family, Boston Legal, The Bold and the Beautiful, That '70s Show, and Community.
January 19, 1957
Philadelphia comedian, Ernie Kovacs, did a half-hour TV show without saying a single word of dialogue.
Silent Show was an American half-hour television comedy special created by and starring Ernie Kovacs. It was broadcast in the United States on the NBC network in 1957. It was selected by the United States as the only television program screened at the 1958 World's Fair in Brussels. Kovacs restaged and expanded the "Eugene" sketch for the ABC network in 1961.
January 22, 1947
The first television station west of the Mississippi River goes on the air.
The station was KTLA-TV in Hollywood. The station began broadcasting at 8:30 p.m. from a converted garage. When the first Emmy Awards were handed out two years later, KTLA swept the awards for its original programming.
January 22, 1972
Emergency!, produced by Dragnet star and producer Jack Webb, premieres, featuring the same semidocumentary style popularized by Webb's earlier police drama. Emergency was based on the paramedic program that started in Los Angeles, California in 1969. Senator Alan Cranston actually praised the show for informing the public about the value of funding such programs!
The show focused on the adventures of paramedics Roy DeSoto and Johnny Gage. The show, which ran from 1972 to 1977, foreshadowed later hits like E.R., with its interwoven comic and serious subplots.
Julie London was married to fellow Emergency cast member Bobby Troup. In an earlier marriage, London was married to Jack Webb. Bobby Troup was a bandleader before becoming an actor.
January 22, 1987
PhilDonahue became the first talk show host to tape a show from inside the SovietUnion. The shows were shown later in the year.