Commentary: Remembering Betty White for the indelible impact her ‘Golden Girls’ HIV story left on me

· Jan. 8, 2022, 8:14 am
Obit Betty WhiteObit Betty WhiteRingo H.W. Chiu/AP
Flowers, stuff toys and cards are displayed at the Hollywood Walk of Fame star of the late actress Betty White, Friday, Dec. 31, 2021, in Los Angeles. White, whose saucy, up-for-anything charm made her a television mainstay for more than 60 years, whether as a man-crazy TV hostess on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” or the loopy housemate on “The Golden Girls,” has died. She was 99.

Editor's note: This story originally aired on Jan. 8. It received an encore airing on Dec. 31, marking the one-year anniversary of Betty White's passing.

When comedic actress Betty White died last week, she left behind a legacy of laughter for many Americans, including members of the LGBTQ community, many of whom cherished the sitcom where White played gullible, yet lovable, Rose Nylund on “The Golden Girls.”

Debuting in 1985, the Emmy award-winning NBC sitcom was ahead of its time when it came to LGBTQ representation on television, so much so that gay bars would often host Golden Girls watch parties.

The show often addressed complex social issues important to the gay community, like homophobia and marriage equality, with grace and empathy. And there’s one episode that still stands out to CPR’s Vic Vela, more than three decades later. It deals with AIDS, an issue very personal to our “Back from Broken” podcast host.

Listen below for Vic’s audio essay on the late, great Betty White and her starring role in the Golden Girls episode titled, “72 Hours.”

Commentary: Remembering Betty White for the indelible impact her ‘Golden Girls’ HIV story left on me

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