Through the 1950s and 1960s, White began a nineteen-year run as hostess and commentator on the annual Tournament of Roses Parade broadcast on NBC (often co-hosting with Lorne Greene), and appeared on a number of late night talk shows and daytime game shows.

She subsequently appeared on the show's three updated versions Password Plus, Super Password, and Million Dollar Password, having been on versions of the game with five different hosts (Allen Ludden, Bill Cullen, Tom Kennedy, Bert Convy, and Regis Philbin).

She is known for her Emmy Award-winning roles as Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1973–77) and Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls (1985–92).

The Writers Guild of America has included both sitcoms in its list of the 101 Best Written TV Series Of All Time.

White's career was disrupted immediately, as World War II broke out, causing her to join the American Women's Voluntary Services.

In the 1940s, she worked in radio, appearing on shows such as Blondie, The Great Gildersleeve, and This is Your FBI.

White made rounds to movie studios looking for work, but was always turned down because she was "unphotogenic".

So then she started to look for radio jobs where being photogenic did not matter.

She made her feature film debut as Kansas Senator Elizabeth Ames Adams in the 1962 drama, Advise & Consent.

Although her performance was well received, it would be her only big-screen appearance for decades.

A staple guest of many American game shows such as Password, Match Game and The ,000 Pyramid, White has been dubbed the 'First Lady of Game Shows' and became the first woman to receive an Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host in 1983 for the show Just Men! From 2010 to 2015, she starred as Elka Ostrovsky in the TV Land sitcom Hot in Cleveland, for which she has won two consecutive Screen Actors Guild Awards and she was nominated for an Emmy Award.