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Tess Curtis White: The Remarkable Mother Behind Icon Betty White

Tess Curtis White might not be a household name like her daughter, Betty White, but her influence on one of America’s most beloved actresses can’t be understated. As the mother of Betty White, Tess played an integral role in shaping the woman who would break barriers in the entertainment industry. This article aims to spotlight Tess Curtis White, diving deep into her life, her family, and her impact on Betty’s career.

Early Life of Tess Curtis White

Tess Curtis White was born on July 25, 1899, in Chicago, Illinois. She was a Leo by zodiac sign and held American nationality with white ethnicity. Tess’ maiden name was Cachikis, and she later married into the White family. Her father, Nicholas Cachikis, was of Greek descent, while her mother, Margaret Curtis Hobbs Cachikis, had English and Welsh roots.

Interestingly, Tess was 10 years old in the 1910 federal census and lived with her family, including her younger brother Thomas, in Chicago. Her father worked as a “wagon driver” in the ice cream industry.

Marriage and Family

Tess Curtis White tied the knot with Horace Logan White on February 17, 1921. Horace was an electric industry executive, and the couple was first listed as living in Oak Park, Illinois, in 1922. It was in Oak Park where Tess and Horace welcomed their daughter, Betty White, on January 17, 1922.

By 1925, the family relocated to Pasadena, California, and eventually settled in Beverly Hills by 1938. In the 1940 federal census, Tess was 40 years old, and the entire family, including daughter Betty, lived in Los Angeles. All had completed high school, and Horace was listed as a “sales representative” earning more than $5000 a year.

Tess’ Influence on Betty White’s Career

Tess Curtis White’s daughter, Betty, had a career in entertainment spanning over seven decades. Starting with radio jobs where she earned about five dollars per show, Betty gradually became an icon. Betty had her radio show, The Betty White Show, and later began co-hosting Hollywood on Television in 1949.

Betty White later gained widespread recognition, appearing on network game shows and talk shows, including The Tonight Show with both Jack Paar and Johnny Carson. Notably, she even hosted Saturday Night Live at age 88, becoming the oldest person to do so. These achievements were undoubtedly influenced by the strong family values and encouragement Tess provided.

The Final Years of Tess Curtis White

Tess Curtis White lived to be 86 years old, passing away on November 11, 1985, in Los Angeles, California. She left behind a legacy in her daughter Betty, who continued to light up our screens until her passing on December 31, 2021, just weeks shy of her 100th birthday.

It’s worth noting that a documentary-style film about Betty, Betty White: A Celebration, was released on what would have been her 100th birthday. And while Betty White received countless tributes following her death, it’s important to remember the woman behind the icon—Tess Curtis White.

Conclusion: Tess Curtis White’s Lasting Legacy

Tess Curtis White may have lived her life largely behind the scenes, but her impact on her daughter Betty White was monumental. Behind every great person is often an even greater support system, and in Betty White’s case, that was undoubtedly her mother, Tess.

As the backbone of one of the most iconic females in the entertainment industry, Tess Curtis White’s values, upbringing, and undying support played a pivotal role in shaping Betty’s unparalleled career. For anyone looking to understand the roots of Betty White’s incredible journey, understanding the life of Tess Curtis White offers invaluable insights.


Who is Tess Curtis White?

Tess Curtis White was the mother of legendary American actress and comedian Betty White. She was born on July 25, 1899, in Chicago, Illinois, and passed away on November 11, 1985, in Los Angeles, California.

What is Tess Curtis White famous for?

Tess Curtis White is primarily known for being the mother of Betty White, one of the most iconic and beloved actresses in American television history.

Where was Tess Curtis White born?

Tess Curtis White was born in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, United States.

What was Tess Curtis White’s maiden name?

Tess Curtis White’s maiden name was Cachikis.

What were the ethnic backgrounds of Tess Curtis White’s parents?

Tess’ father, Nicholas Cachikis, was of Greek descent, and her mother, Margaret Curtis Hobbs Cachikis, had English and Welsh roots.

Who was Tess Curtis White’s husband?

Tess Curtis White was married to Horace Logan White, an electric industry executive. They got married on February 17, 1921.

Did Tess Curtis White have any children besides Betty White?

No, Tess Curtis White and her husband, Horace Logan White, had only one child, Betty White.

Where did Tess Curtis White live during her lifetime?

Tess Curtis White lived in various places during her lifetime. She was born in Chicago, Illinois, and later lived in Oak Park, Illinois, where Betty was born. By 1925, they had moved to Pasadena, California, and by 1938, they lived in Beverly Hills, California.

What was Tess Curtis White’s profession?

Tess Curtis White was primarily a homemaker, taking care of her family while her husband worked as an electric industry executive.

How did Tess Curtis White influence Betty White’s career?

While not much is documented about Tess Curtis White’s direct influence on Betty White’s career, it’s understood that her upbringing and family values played a crucial role in shaping Betty into the iconic actress that she became. Tess Curtis White was undoubtedly a strong and supportive figure in Betty White’s life.


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