Betty White, beloved comedian and actress, deceased at 99


LOS ANGELES, CA – Betty White, the iconic actress and comedian loved from generation to generation and best known for her roles on “The Golden Girls” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” has passed away, her agent Jeff Witjas confirmed in a statement to PEOPLE and the Washington Post. She was 99 years old.

White was preparing to celebrate his 100th birthday on January 17. She died Friday at her Brentwood home.

“Even though Betty was about to turn 100, I thought she would live forever,†Witjas said in a statement. “I will miss her terribly, just like the animal world she loved so much. I don’t think Betty was ever afraid of dying because she always wanted to be with her most beloved husband Allen Ludden. that she would be with him again. “

Over six decades, White’s witty style brought to life a long list of original characters on shows from the early 1950s sitcom “Life With Elizabeth” to eccentric Rose Nylund in “The Golden. Girls “in the 1980s at” Boston Legal, which ran from 2004 to 2008.

She launched her television career in daytime talk shows when the medium was still in its infancy and lasted until the era of cable and streaming. Bright and friendly, with a padded, puckered smile, White was a natural.

She was also a pioneer for women in television. She was the first woman to produce a national television show, the first woman to star in a sitcom, and the first woman to receive an Emmy nomination, according to the PBS documentary, “Betty White: First Lady of Television.” In fact, she was the first woman to appear on television with her performance on an experimental show in the 1930s.

She also stood firm against racial pressure, despite the consequences it may have had on her career at the time.

His daytime variety show starred Arthur Duncan, a young singer and dancer who credits White with giving him his show business debut. Duncan was the first regular black series on an American variety show.

Faced with boycotts from Southern TV stations, which threatened to take him off the program if White did not remove Duncan, White was unwavering. “I said, ‘I’m sorry. Live with it,'” she said.

Despite decades in television, White’s career saw a resurgence when she starred in a 2010 Snickers commercial that aired that year during the Super Bowl airing. In it, she imitated a low-energy dude getting tackled during a backlot football game.

“Mike, you play like Betty White over there,” the guy’s friend said. White, flat on the ground and covered in mud, retorts: “That’s not what your girlfriend said!”

She was also laughed at with her one-liners in the 2009 comedy “The Proposal” and the horror parody “Lake Placid”. At 88, she hosted “Saturday Night Live” in 2011, becoming the oldest person to host the variety show.

White once said that her character Sue Ann Nivens on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” might be “sweet” but that he was “really the piranha type”. This role earned him two Emmys. During his career, White received a total of eight Emmy Awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.

White has also become a role model for how to age happily.

“Don’t try to be young,” she once told The Associated Press. “Just open your mind. Stay interested in things. There are so many things that I won’t live long enough to find out, but I’m still curious about them. “

Born Betty Marion White in Oak Park, Illinois, White and her family moved to Los Angeles when she was little.

“I’m an only child, and I had a mom and dad who never drew a straight line: they just thought in a funny way,†she told The Associated Press in 2015. “Us we would sit around the breakfast table and then we “I started playing all over the place. My father was a salesman and he would come home with jokes. He was like, “Honey, you can take THIS to school. But I wouldn’t take THIS.” wonderful time. “

Her initial ambition was to be a writer, and she wrote her high school graduation play, giving herself the lead role.

While in Beverly Hills High School, her ambition turned to the theater and she appeared in several plays. Her parents hoped she would go to college, but instead she performed roles in a small theater and played small roles in radio dramas.

After getting married twice, White married game show host Allen Ludden in 1963. The marriage lasted until his death from cancer in 1981.

Offscreen, White was an animal advocate, raising funds for animal causes such as the Morris Animal Foundation and the Los Angeles Zoo. In 1970-1971, she wrote, produced, and hosted a syndicated television show, “The Pet Set,” to which celebrities brought their dogs and cats. She also wrote a book in 1983 titled “Betty White’s Pet Love: How Pets Take Care of Us” and, in 2011, published “Betty & Friends: My Life at the Zoo”.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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