The Leading Lady

The Leading Lady

Dinah’s Story

Written by:
Written by: Tom Sullivan

Additional Formats
  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780425259245
  • 288 Pages
  • Berkley
  • Adult


The story of a dog, and the extraordinary difference
she made in every life she touched.


After sixty years in show business, Betty White has earned her reputation as an American icon. She may be a bona fide television pioneer, but throughout Betty’s life, her heart has always been with the animals. But one of the most enriching episodes in her career as an animal-rights advocate arrived with actor Tom Sullivan. Blind since birth, Tom was one of Betty’s closest friends and professional partners. Their dearest collaboration was a mutual devotion to a golden retriever named Dinah. This first-class guide dog was more than Tom’s best friend, she was a source of unqualified loyalty and love. Most important, she enabled Tom to be truly independent for the first time in his life. However as Dinah got older, as her faculties weakened and her confidence faltered, Tom had little choice but to get a new dog. The effect of losing her purpose was devastating to the once-gallant Dinah.

Then Betty gladly stepped in to give this great Lady a new lease on life.

What would transpire is a heartening and inspiring story of a dog who made a difference and who, in Betty White’s words, “helped Tom grow up as she has helped me grow older.” It is for all animal lovers, for all Betty White lovers, and everyone who can relate to the unconditional devotion of dogs and the people who love them. 



“Here, in alternating chapters written by White and Sullivan, are stories about Dinah’s early and later years—her extensive and demanding travels with Sullivan for TV appearances, golf tournaments, and concerts, and her move into White’s pet-filled household…there’s honest talk on family dynamics, on how a blind person overcomes fears and manages to lead a fulfilling life, on guide-dog training, and on how one graceful, devoted, hard-working canine affects positively the lives of those around her. Appealing for its autobiographical content, its insight into the lives of the blind, and its message of human-animal bonding.”—Kirkus Reviews