It’s often assumed that loving, married couples will eventually be buried next to each other for eternity. However, that will not be the case for Mineral Point’s Hollywood connection, Allen Ludden, and his wife of 18 years, the recently departed Betty White.

Ludden was born Allen Packard Ellsworth in Mineral Point, Wisconsin, in 1917. His father died of the Spanish flu in 1919 and was buried in the family plot at Graceland Cemetery in the historic mining town of Mineral Point at the southern end of the Driftless area. When Ludden was five his mother remarried, and Allen was given his adoptive father’s name, becoming Allen Ellsworth Ludden. The family lived briefly in several Wisconsin cities before moving to Texas when Allen was nine years old. 

Ludden, a charismatic television personality, is best known for having hosted various iterations of the game show Password between 1961 and 1980. It was on the set of Password that Ludden met and fell in love with Betty White, America’s Golden Girl. They were married from 1963 until his death from stomach cancer in 1981. Ludden was buried next to his father among the stately evergreen trees at Graceland Cemetery in Mineral Point.

White’s Hollywood career flourished through a series of hit comedy shows, game shows and cameo appearances. Her irreverent wit, natural charm and dimpled girl-next-door beauty made her a popular actress, comedian and TV personality throughout her lifetime. She received 20 Emmy nominations, winning seven. White passed away of natural causes just three weeks shy of her 100th birthday in December 2021. 

While there is a cemetery plot available next to Ludden, White’s agent said she will not be laid to rest there. He suggested her final resting place may be her birthplace of Oak Park, Illinois, or perhaps California. Except for her beloved husband’s final resting place, she had no ties to Mineral Point. But upon his death she graciously donated a collection of his items to the Public Library in the town of 2,600. The Allen Ludden Papers collection includes letters written or received by Ludden, typed radio scripts, newspaper and magazine clippings by or about Ludden, publicity and personal photographs, and a broken pair of horn-rimmed glasses. 

Ludden was White’s third husband. In a 2011 interview with reporter Anderson Cooper, she was asked why she never remarried. She replied, “I had the love of my life. If you’ve had the best who needs the rest?”

Today, White’s and Ludden’s stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame are next to each other. White was awarded hers in 1960; Ludden’s posthumously in 1988. “I cannot express what this day means to me,” White tearfully told the crowd at the unveiling of Ludden’s star. “Don’t be surprised if in the wee hours of the morning our stars are fooling around.”