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Just 17 days before her 100th birthday, iconic star Betty White has passed away. Sadly “The Golden Girls” actor died around 9:30 a.m. on Dec. 31, 2021.
Many people thought the “Hot in Cleveland” star would live forever, including her close friend and agent Jeff Wijas who stated, “Even though Betty was about to be 100, I thought she would live forever.”
The Grand Dame of Television was born on Jan. 17, 1922, in Oak Park, Illinois. The TV legend’s mother Christine Tess was a homemaker; her father Horace Logan was a lighting company executive for the Crouse-Hinds Electric Company.
At the age of 17, she graduated from Beverly Hills High School n 1939. White was made honorary mayor of Hollywood in 1955.
Fans know her as Sue Ann Nivens from “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and Rose Nylund from “The Golden Girls.” Her career began on radio in 1930 at the age of 8 playing an adopted orphan on the soap opera “Empire Builders.” Her first TV appearance was on the Phone Girl on Al Jarvis’s TV show in Los Angeles.
White appeared in several shows and movies throughout her decades-long career. For example, “Mamas Family,” “Lake Placid,” and alongside Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds in “The Proposal.”
The Democrat endorsed Franklin D. Roosevelt, Adlai Stevenson, John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama throughout her years.
Witjas added, “I will miss her terribly and so will the animal world that she loved so much. I don’t think Betty ever feared passing because she always wanted to be with her most beloved husband Allen Ludden. She believed she would be with him again.”
Ahead of her centennial mark, White admitted to PEOPLE how she was feeling about turning 100. During the interview, she stated, “I’m so lucky to be in such good health and feel so good at this age.” She added that it was “amazing.” She has joked about avoiding greens as to why she had been able to live so long. She had attributed alcohol and hot dogs to why she survived all these decades.
Upon news of her death breaking, many people took to social media to pay their respects. Reynolds tweeted, “The world looks different now. She was great at defying expectation. She managed to grow very old and somehow, not old enough. We’ll miss you, Betty. Now you know the secret.” Jon Byars replied to his tweet, “I say she’s 100. She had 24 Leap Years, that’s an extra 24 days getting her past 1/17. This is the exception all of mankind needs right now.”
Of course, that is not really how leap years work but is a nice thought.
In 2011 White stated, “Growing up, whenever we’d lose somebody, [my mother] would always say, ‘Now they know the secret,’” during an interview on CBS.
Chris Rad Finch replied to CBS’s tweet, ” Betty White knew the secret, for real. This is the mindset everyone needs to have, when they reach that stage of living their last days on the planet. Betty didn’t just entertain us or inspired us….she spoke to us beautifully on how to live and have a life like she did.”
She is survived by her family, friends, and millions of fans. May she rest in peace.
Written by Sheena Robertson
PEOPLE: Betty White, The Golden Girls and Hot in Cleveland Star, Dead at 99; by Stephen M. Silverman
IMDb: Betty White
Top and Featured Image Courtesy of Loren Javier’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image by Angela George Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License