Betty White tops poll to find Meryl Streep of TV

Senior editor Marcus Dixon kicked off this debate thus: “As Meryl Streep is considered by most to be our greatest living film actress, who’s our greatest living TV actress?” 

Hundreds of you voted in our poll (for those who haven’t, it can be found at the bottom of this post). The result: a resounding victory for Betty White who reaped almost one-quarter of the vote despite there being 10 actresses in the running.

All-time Emmy champ Cloris Leachman came in second with 15%. Alfre Woodard was third at 13% just ahead of Mary Tyler Moore who showcased both Leachman and White on her 1970s show. All three won multiple Emmys for that classic sitcom. Rounding out the top five is Julia Louis-Dreyfus who just equalled Lucille Ball‘s record of 13 Emmy nominations for comedy with her Comedy Actress bid for “Veep.”

White is also an Emmy nominee this year, contending for Reality Host for her hidden camera show “Off Their Rockers.” 

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Our forum posters fiercely debated this issue (have your say here) and many of them offered succinct explanations for their choices. Below, just a sample of their thoughts. 

Morgan Henard: Betty White is the true queen of comedy. Lucille Ball, Mary Tyler Moore, and Tina Fey have created memorable roles on memorable series but White is the one possessing the legacy and will long after she’s gone (something I can’t even fathom to think about).

Madson Melo: I said Alfre Woodard not only because she won four Emmys and has 16 nominations (17 if you count her Daytime nomination, the same amount as Streep lol) for 15 different characters but also because both have almost the same age, and both started to work (or became famous) in the 80’s. 

Jay DeFeliceCloris Leachman and Alfre Woodard are top choices.

A Person: In terms of regard within the industry Julia Louis-Dreyfus comes to mind, especially if she wins for “Veep.”


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