Who is Tess Curtis White? The untold story of Betty White's mother

Who is Tess Curtis White? The untold story of Betty White's mother

Tess Curtis White came into this world just as the 19th century ended and was about two decades short of living an entire century. This was a time when the place of a woman was in the house as a homemaker. Women’s rights were not as advanced as they are today, and rarely would you find a woman working. Tess looked after her family well, and she was able to raise a daughter who would become a star several years later.

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Tess White Curtis
Legendary actress Betty White during a portrait session at the Museum of Radio and TV in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Bob Riha
Source: Getty Images

The best gift any parent can get is to see her children grow and flourish in life. Therefore, even though Tess Curtis White never pursued any career, being called the mother of Betty White is something that gave her great satisfaction. Her daughter had conquered Hollywood and brought her fame she would never have imagined before.

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Profile summary

Name Tess Curtis White
Birth name Christine Tess Cachikis
Date of birth25 July 1899
Place of birthChicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA
Age at death86
Birth signLeo
Death 11 November 1985
Place of birth Los Angeles, California, USA
Hair colourBlond
Eye colourBlue
Marital statusMarried
HusbandHorace Logan White
ChildBetty White
Father Nicholas Cachikis
MotherMargaret Curtis Hobbs
Ancestry English-Welsh
SiblingTomas R. Curtis

Tess Curtis White's background

Tess White was born on 25 July 1899 in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA. Before marrying into the White family, Tess’ maiden name was Cachikis or Christine. Tess’ father, Nicholas Cachikis, was an ice cream salesman, while her mother, Maggie Curtis-Cachikis (Hobbs), aka Margaret Cachikis (Hobbs), was a homemaker.

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Nicholas and Margaret had only two children, Tess and her brother Tom R. Curtis. She was the eldest in the family, with her brother being eight years younger. Although an American national, Tess had mixed ethnicity, English-Welsh, through her parents.

When she was ten years old, Tess lived with her grandmother Margaret Hobbs, her brother Tom and her parents. During this period, her father was working as a wagon driver.

Why was Tess Curtis White famous?

Tess Curtis is known for being a celebrity mother. She was Betty White's mother, a famous Hollywood figure. Betty White worked in commercials before transitioning to comedy and acting. On her part, Tess served as a housewife.

Tess Curtis White’s husband and children

Horace Logan White (husband) and Tess Curtis were husband and wife for more than four decades, from February 1920 to November 1963. Horace was an electrical engineer who was born on 30 May 1899 in Negaunee Township, Michigan. He was the son of Christen White and Etta White. He had a sister called Emma James.

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Both Horace and his wife were high school graduates. Her husband worked as a sales representative in the electric industry, and his annual income was $5,000. The family was in California in 1925 but moved to Beverly Hills in 1938. The two were married until 1963, when Horace died on 16 November in Los Angeles, California.

Betty White (daughter)

The couple welcomed their child, Betty, in 1922 in Illinois. The couple was living in Oak Park at the time. Betty was an only child who would later become a Hollywood star. Betty started her career in radio, where she used to read commercials. She contributed to the industry in diverse ways, including doing crowd noises and playing big parts.

In the beginning, Betty used to make five dollars per show. She also participated in a number of shows without pay. She was cast in popular shows such as This Is Your FBI, The Great Gildersleeve, and Blondie. The highlight of her career was when she got her show, The Betty White Show.

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In 1949, Betty was a co-host of the Make Believe Ballroom show alongside Al Jarvis. The show aired on KFWB and KLAC-TV. She continued gaining prominence in the entertainment industry and became famous for her appearance on talk shows.

Tess Curtis White
Betty White speaks onstage during the 2015 TV Land Awards at Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, California. Photo: Joe Scarnici
Source: Getty Images

One of the shows in which she was a regular was The Tonight Show by Jack Paar and Johnny Carson. However, she earned more recognition for her Password show from 1961 to 1975. Although she was a celebrity guest, she was able to inspire many with her skills.

Betty White breathed last time on 31 December 2021, at the age of 99. She died six days after suffering from a stroke on Christmas. Just before her death, a documentary-style film titled Betty-White: A Celebration was announced and released on her 100th birthday.

What was Tess Curtis White’s net worth?

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Tess Curtis raised a family that had an average income. The family relied on her husband’s income which was $5,000 per year. Tess never made money of her own because she did not have a job. On the other hand, her daughter made quite a fortune from her career. Betty White’s net worth was $75 million before her death.

Fast facts about Tess Curtis White

  1. Who is Betty White’s mom? Betty White’s mother is Tess Curtis White.
  2. What is Betty White’s net worth? The net worth of Betty White is $75 million.
  3. What was Tess Curtis White’s age when she died? She died at the age of 86.
  4. Who is Betty White’s daughter? Betty White never had children of her own, but she was a stepmother to her late husband Allen Ludden’s three children, David, Martha and Sarah.
  5. What was Horace Logan White’s cause of death? Betty White’s father died of a cerebrovascular accident.
  6. What was Tess Curtis White’s occupation? Although Tess graduated high school, she decided to be a housewife.
  7. Where was Tess Curtis White from? Tess was born in Chicago, Illinois, USA.

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Tess Curtis White was like any other woman of the early 1900s. In that era, women did not have the right to even vote for leaders. Still, they were instrumental in the development of society by raising children who would become future leaders. Tess was a homemaker whose role was to stay at home and look after the family.

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