Comic actress Betty White has died at 99

Actor Betty White attends the premiere of the 3-D animated film ‘Dr Seuss’ The Lorax’ in Los Angeles on February 19, 2012. Photo: Reuters / Phil McCarten


Actor Betty White attends the premiere of the 3-D animated film ‘Dr Seuss’ The Lorax’ in Los Angeles on February 19, 2012. Photo: Reuters / Phil McCarten

Comedic actress Betty White, who capped an 80-year career as America’s geriatric sweetheart after Emmy-winning roles on television sitcoms “The Golden Girls” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” died within three weeks of her. 100th anniversary, People magazine reported on Friday, citing its agent.

Agent Jeff Witjas told the magazine, “Even though Betty was about to turn 100, I thought she would live forever.” No cause was cited.

In a youth-focused entertainment industry where an actress over 40 faces the twilight of her career, White was an aged anomaly who was a star in her sixties and a pop culture phenomenon in the ’80s and’ 90s. .

Playing on his impending sympathy, White still starred in a TV sitcom, “Hot in Cleveland,” at the age of 92 until it was canceled in late 2014.

White said his longevity was the result of good health, good fortune and love for his job.

“It’s amazing that I’m still in this business and you still support me,” White said during an appearance at the 2018 Emmy Awards, where she was honored for her long career. “It’s amazing that you can stay in a career for so long and people still support you. I wish they would do that at home.”

White wasn’t afraid to laugh at herself and throw out a joke about her sex life or a sarcastic crunch you wouldn’t expect from a smiling, white-haired elderly woman. She was often asked if, after such a long career, there was still something she wanted to do and the standard response was: “Robert Redford.”

“Old age has not diminished it,” the New York Times wrote in 2013. “It gave it a second lease of life.”

Minutes after news of her death was announced, US President Joe Biden told reporters: “It’s a shame. She was a lovely woman.” His wife Jill Biden said: ‘Who didn’t love Betty White? We are so sad over her death.’

Betty Marion White was born January 17, 1922 in Oak Park, Illinois, and her family moved to Los Angeles during the Great Depression, where she attended Beverly Hills High School.


White began her career in radio entertainment in the late 1930s and in 1939 she made her television debut singing on an experimental channel in Los Angeles. After serving in the American Women’s Voluntary Service, which aided the American effort during World War II, she was a regular on “Hollywood on Television,” a five-hour daily live variety show, in 1949.

A few years later, she became a television pioneer by co-founding a production company and as co-creator, producer and star of the 1950s sitcom “Life With Elizabeth”.

In the 1960s and early 1970s, White was seen regularly on television, hosting the cover of the annual Rose Parade tournament and appearing on television game shows such as “Match Game” and “Password.” She married “Password” host Allen Ludden, her third and final husband, in 1963.

White reached a new level of success on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”, playing the host of a homework TV show, the sneaky and vigorous Sue Ann Nivens, whose credo was “a woman who does a good job in the kitchen is sure to reap rewards in other parts of the house. ” White won the Emmy Awards for Best Supporting Actress in 1975 and 1976.

She won another Emmy in 1986 for “The Golden Girls,” a sitcom about four older women living together in Miami and featuring an age range rarely highlighted on American television. White was also nominated for an Emmy six other times for her portrayal of the sweet, naive and silly widow Rose Nylund from the Midwest in the series, which ran from 1985 to 1992 and was one of the series. the best rated of its time.

Following a less successful sequel to “The Golden Girls,” a series of short film parts, talk show appearances and unique television roles, including one that won her an Emmy for an appearance on “The John Larroquette Show”.

By 2009, she was becoming ubiquitous with more frequent television appearances and a role in Sandra Bullock’s film “The Proposal”. She starred in a popular Snickers candy commercial that aired during the Super Bowl, taking a brutal hit in a mud puddle during a soccer game.

A young fan started a Facebook campaign to have White host “Saturday Night Live” and she ended up appearing in every sketch on the show and won another Emmy for it.

The Associated Press voted her Artist of the Year in 2010, and a 2011 Reuters / Ipsos poll found the then 89-year-old White to be America’s most popular and trusted celebrity with a preference rate of 86%.

White’s witty and cheeky demeanor came in handy as the host of “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers”, a hidden camera show in which older actors played pranks on younger ones.

“Who would have dreamed that I would not only be so healthy, but that I would always be invited to work? White said in a 2015 interview with Oprah Winfrey. “It’s the privilege … to still have work to do is such a privilege.”

White, who had no children, worked for animal causes. She once turned down a role in the movie “As Good As You Can” because of a scene in which a dog was dumped in a garbage chute.

Daniel K. Denny