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‘Golden Girl’ Betty White Dead At 99

By Oreoritse Tariemi
01 January 2022   |   11:54 am
Betty White, a pioneer of early television and TV's perennial Golden girl, has died aged 99. Speaking to People, her agent and close friend Jeff Witjas revealed that Betty White had died peacefully in her sleep on Friday morning. "Even though Betty was about to be 100, I thought she would live forever." "I will…

Betty White | Pinterest

Betty White, a pioneer of early television and TV’s perennial Golden girl, has died aged 99.

Speaking to People, her agent and close friend Jeff Witjas revealed that Betty White had died peacefully in her sleep on Friday morning.

“Even though Betty was about to be 100, I thought she would live forever.”

“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,” he said.

US President Joe Biden lead the flood of tributes. 

Describing her as a “lovely lady”, Mr Biden told reporters: “99 years old – as my mother would say, God, love her!”

Tributes have also poured in from other Hollywood, including Sandra Bullock, Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Reynolds.

“The world looks very different now,” Reynolds wrote about his co-star in the 2009 film The Proposal.

“She managed to grow very old and somehow, not old enough,” he continued. “We’ll miss you, Betty.”

“A great loss to us all. We shall miss her dearly,” tweeted Star Trek actor George Takei.

“I grew up watching and being delighted by her. She was playful and daring and smart,” wrote Debra Messing, referring to White as “a national treasure.”

Aged 99, White was preparing to celebrate her 100th birthday on Jan. 17.

In an earlier interview with People, White had opened up on how she felt turning 100.

“I’m so lucky to be in such good health and feel so good at this age,” said the veteran actress. “It’s amazing.”

She noted that being “born a cockeyed optimist” was the key to her upbeat nature. “I got it from my mom, and that never changed,” she said. “I always find the positive.”

Joking on the secret to her long life, White said, “I try to avoid anything green. I think it’s working.”

Early Life

Born on Jan. 17 1922, in Oak Park, Illinois, Betty Marion White was an only child born to parents, travelling salesman and electrical engineer Horace White and homemaker Tess Curts White. As a child, she dreamed of becoming a forest ranger or writer.

White’s love for performing arts began after taking the lead in the high school senior play that she wrote. Before launching her acting career, she was married twice, first to Dick Barker, a WWII pilot she wed in 1945, then in 1947 to agent Lane Allen. Her marriage to Allen ended in 1949.

Her Career

Betty White’s career first started on local TV, which paved the way for her first sitcom, Life with Elizabeth. The show, with its low budget and minimal sets, earned White her first Emmy.

White’s career began in the 1940s after she graduated high school. She started working on radio and later got her own show, called The Betty White Show. In 1949, she became co-host with Al Jarvis on his daily variety show Hollywood on Television in Los Angeles.

After Jarvis left the show in 1952, White hosted the show herself working five and a half hours of live ad-lib television six days a week for four years. She was nominated for her first Emmy Award in 1951 as best actress on television. It was the first award and category in the new award show designated specifically for women in television.

In 1961 White appeared as a celebrity player on the daytime game show Password, hosted by Allen Ludden. A widower with three children, Ludden proposed marriage to the actress in 1963; however, he died of stomach cancer in 1981.

She earned her second and third Emmy nominations appearing on The Mary Tyler Moore Show in the 1970s and became the first woman to win a Daytime Emmy Award in the category of outstanding game show host for the NBC show Just Men! in 1983.

White played Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls during the show’s run from 1985–92. After the show ended, she went on to star in a series of TV shows, including The Golden Palace (a spin-off of The Golden Girls minus Arthur), Bob, and Maybe This Time and made cameos in programs including Ally McBeal and That ’70s Show, in which she played Bea Sigurdson, Kitty’s mother.

She also starred in a series of TV movies in the early 2000s before starring as Catherine Piper in Boston Legal from 2005–08 and later as Ann Douglas in The Bold and the Beautiful from 2006–09.

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