Sept 15, 1973 -Introducing Sue Ann Nivens


The role of Sue Ann Nivens was not specifically written for Betty White, but script #73 of the series (“The Lars Affair”, originally aired September 15, 1973)called for an “icky sweet Betty White type”. The show’s casting director decided to approach the star herself, who with her then husband Allen Ludden was already good friends with Mary Tyler Moore and her then husband, the show’s producer Grant Tinker. (In a 2011 Archive of American Television interview, Moore explained that producers, aware of Moore and White’s friendship, were initially hesitant to audition White for the role, the fear being that if she hadn’t been right, that it would create awkwardness between the two.) In playing Sue Ann, the actress played up this image as a contrasting cover for a backbiting, sexually voracious nature.This first appearance was in the sitcom’s fourth season.

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