Betty White lived to see the media report Thomas Dewey had defeated Harry S. Truman and to see her 100th birthday celebrated by (prematurely) in a cover story in People magazine.
She even celebrated her appearance on the cover just days before her death. “My 100th birthday… I cannot believe it is coming up, and People Magazine is celebrating with me!” she boasted. The cover of the issue shows the famed actress beaming, and proudly boasts the headline “Betty White Turns 100!”
— Betty White (@BettyMWhite) December 28, 2021
Betty White’s 100th birthday would have been January 17, and some people feel that People’s premature celebration of her 100th birthday “jinxed” her. While I’m certainly not among those who think this cover story tempted fate, it nevertheless makes me cringe.
“We are deeply saddened by the news of Betty White’s passing,” People editor-in-chief Dan Wakeford said in a statement. “We are honored that she recently chose to work with People to celebrate her extraordinary life and career.”
Why did People magazine jump the gun? Well, as Variety notes, “The week between Christmas and New Years has historically been a prime window for print magazine sales, as travelers flying home from the holidays snap up reading material to occupy their attention.” They do note, however, that prematurely celebrating her 100th birthday to hit that sweet spot for sales could “paradoxically spur more readers to purchase People’s White covers, which are now certain to become collectors items.”
Copies of the issue are already being listed at eBay, well above the list price.