Remembering Betty White


White posing for a picture at the 1988 Emmy Awards. This image was captured by Alan Light from Wikimedia Commons. She was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for The Golden Girls and while she didn’t win the award in 1988 she won two years prior.

Betty White, the beloved actress, and comedian passed away at 99 on December 31, 2021, just three weeks before her 100th birthday. White had many notable achievements, even close to the time she passed, including her feature on the cover of People magazine commemorating turning 100 years old, hosting SNL at 88, and winning a Guinness World Record for her 79-year long career. While she appeared in many tv shows and movies perhaps her two most memorable roles were Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls and Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Her comedic timing made her role as Rose Nylund far more impactful than the naivety the character portrayed. 

“…I thought she would live forever.

— Jeff Witjas

It’s clear she had a decorated career winning “…five Primetime Emmys, a lifetime achievement Emmy, and Los Angeles regional Emmy” (Severo and Keepnews, 2021). Her costars Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan, and Estelle Getty on The Golden Girls passed, leaving her the last one standing. Her agent, Jeff Witjas said, “…I thought she would live forever” (Leopold, 2021). White was never afraid of death because she wanted to be reunited with her husband Allen Ludden, who died in 1981 (Leopold, 2021). 

White was treasured not only for her natural ability to act but also for her passion for helping animals. She used her money in order to contribute to funding organizations like the Morris Animal Foundation (Leopold, 2021). She even said, “Being remembered for Rose and Sue Ann and the others would be wonderful…But I also want to be remembered as a lady who helped the animals” (Severo and Keepnews, 2021). This was clear from her devoted role at the Los Angeles Zoo. Her persistent dedication towards helping animals as well as her devotion to her career made it difficult not to look up to the actress and remember her for the amazing person she was.