Betty White, America’s Screen Sweetheart, producer, actress, and animal lover just passed away at age 99. The Los Angeles Police Department was called to her Brentwood home on Friday morning but believe that Betty passed away on Thursday night. No Foul play was suspected.
Had she lived a few more weeks, Betty would have reached a century on Jan 17. Besides her TV fans, she is going to be greatly missed by all the animals; she was a devout animal lover and gave millions to animal charities. And she was not afraid of death- she always wanted to be with her beloved husband, Allen Ludden, who passed away in 1981 at the young age of 63 from stomach cancer. Betty never married again.
Unlike many other celebs, Betty had all the luck in Hollywood at a young age. She was originally from Oak Park, III, and had her first break on TV in 1949 when she co-hosted the show ‘Hollywood on TV.’ This opened the doors for more success and from 1973-1977, she was on the ‘Mary Tyler Moore’ show, and this was followed by the show that made her famous- the Golden Girls (1985-1992).
Because of her low-key manner, charm, and great personality she was liked by most people including Hollywood directors. After her TV success, she starred in many successful movies including Lake Placid (1999), The story of Us (1999), The Retrievers (2001), and The Toy Story in 2019).
Her career spanned over 70 years and when not on scream she was the hostess for the Tournament of Roses for over 2 decades. She was constantly invited as a guest on daytime game shows and late-night talk shows. It was on one of these noon TV shows- Password, where she met her future husband, Allen Ludden, whom she wed in 1963.
Following her success on the Mary Tyler Moore show and winning two Emmys, she then had her own sitcom- the Betty White show. This was followed by stints on the Carol Burnet show. While regular roles on TV did not follow through after the Golden Girls show ended, Betty was always in demand. She appeared as a guest on The John Larroquette Show, Bones (2015), Boston Legal (2005-2008), and The Bold and the Beautiful (2006). From 2012-2014, she hosted Betty White’s Off Their Rockers.
And she went on to win many awards which included the Lifetime Achievement Award, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame alongside her late husband and was named in the Guinness Book record for having the longest TV career for a female entertainer.
But Betty White was much more than a celeb- she loved animals and sponsored Friends of Animals and Farm Animal Reform Movement. She also wrote ‘Betty White’s Pet-Love: How Pets Take Care of Us; and all the proceeds went to animal charities. She worked with numerous animal organizations including the Morris Animal Foundation. Los Angeles Zoo, The African Wildlife and Actors, and others for animals. She donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to animal organizations because she did not want any animal to suffer.
After the turn of 2000, Betty White did slow down and she spent a quiet life at home watching Jeopardy, solving crossword puzzles, playing card games, or meeting up with her friends from the past. But the majority of her time was devoted to the welfare of animals. Betty White had no children of her own, but she was a step mum to 3 of Ludden’s three daughters.
All told Betty White won 8 Emmy awards, three-screen actors guild awards, three amelia comedy awards, and a grammy award. In 1985, she was inducted into the TV hall of fame.
Several polls conducted in 2011 revealed that Betty White’s popularity was chiefly due to her common-sense approach to life, her humbleness, and devotion to animals. She was also considered to be the most trusted celebrity among Americans, even topping people like Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington.
She lived a fruitful life till the very end. She had no misgiving about her life and was happy with the way things turned out.
Jeff Witjas, close friend and agent of White confirmed her passing to Variety and summed it best, “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.”