Culture

Betty White Dies at Age 99

Matt Sayles

TMZ is reporting that famed actress and comedian Betty White has died at the age of 99. According to the online tabloid, law enforcement sources told them exclusively that she passed away at her home Friday morning.

White, the first woman to produce a national television show and receive an Emmy nomination, was to turn 100 on January 17. A special movie event had been planned for the occasion, which she promoted on social media. Her last tweet promoted her new interview with People magazine, in which she talked about her upcoming 100th birthday. “I’m so lucky to be in such good health and feel so good at this age,” she said. “It’s amazing.”

White’s agent Jeff Witjas confirmed her passing to People magazine.

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

Betty White got her start in show business in the 1940s in radio. In the 1950s, she had a short-lived variety talk show called The Betty White Show. She was criticized for having a black tap dancer appear on the show, to which White reportedly said, “I’m sorry. Live with it.” The show was canceled soon after. In 1973, she started playing Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. My first introduction to Betty White was in the 1980s when she played Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls.

White had a long and groundbreaking career and has become a pop culture icon. Unfortunately, her passing is a sad bookend to 2021. She will be missed.

Betty White, thank you for being a friend.