Betty White is no more. Jeff Witjas, her talent agent, in a statement for PEOPLE, said that Betty (White) was close to 100, and he thought she would live forever. Wojtas added how he would miss her as much as the animal world, but Betty craved to be with her husband, Allen Ludden. At least, the good thing is she passed away peacefully while she was asleep at home, added Witjas. Despite her close friend and agent Jeff feeling this way, TV’s Perennial Golden Girl Betty White died at the age of 99 on December 31, 2021.
She Would Be A Centenarian On January 17, 2022
Betty was almost ready to ring in her 100th birthday on January 17, 2022. She opened up to PEOPLE in a cover story about what it means to turn 100. She battled through difficult times, ill-health and such- but said how lucky she was to stay in good shape and health, even at this age. Rarely do we expect anyone to say so at her age.
But the veteran actress stays exemplary for radiating such a positive streak. She felt that being ‘born a cockeyed optimist’ was one of the secrets that described her so-called ‘upbeat’ attitude. Betty had inherited that nature from her mother, and that stayed with her till her last breath. Amazing as it may sound, she somehow always managed to stay positive.
Her Early Life Was Awesome
Born in 1922 in Oak Park, Illinois, Betty (Marion White) was the only child to her parents. Her father, Horace White, was an electrical engineer, a traveling salesman, and her mother, Tess Curts White, was a simple homemaker. They had to move out at the time of The Great Depression. Around that time, she often had to camp once a year at the Sierra Nevada that boosted her love for animals. In 1999, there was a point in her life where she stayed with 26 dogs!
Betty dreamt of an interesting life – like being a forest ranger. Later on, she fell in love with performances while a high school senior. She quickly moved to radio and didn’t finish college lessons. Before trying her luck in acting, she married twice- first, a pilot from WWII, Dick Barber (1945), and then an agent named Lane Allen (1947), who opposed her choice of a career in showbiz.
Her First Sitcom Performance Earned Her An Emmy
Some endings are useful, and that’s how her life took a different turn when she stayed her first sitcom, ‘Life with Elizabeth,’ along with a deejay based in LA called Al Jarvis. The content wasn’t the best, and the budget was low too. However, the show went on to win her the first Emmy. Following this were a few other prominent series of the 50s and 60s.
In the daytime game show ‘Password’ hosted by Allen Ludden, a widower with three children proposed her marriage, she said a ‘yes’ too in Easter. This nuptial knot markedly defined her life, and she openly said Ludden was ‘the love of her life. But sadly, at 63, Ludden died owing to stomach cancer in 1981, leaving White heartbroken after 18 long years of happy marriage.
While her career had already shaped up after 1940, and by 1952, she was hosting shows by herself and working quite hard- her first Emmy Award in 1951 as the best actress on TV consolidated the place for Betty. Her second and third nominations for Emmy occurred in the 1970s for ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show,’ and then as the game show host in 1983 for ‘Just Men!’.
The Golden Girl Betty
Despite her husband not being with her, White’s career took an upward leap after The Golden Girls happened, where she essayed the role of Rose Nylund between 1985-1992. When the series ended, she started in a few more TV shows, like ‘The Golden Palace,’ ‘Maybe This Time.’ She also made cameo appearances in Ally McBeal and That 70s Show. Betty also acted in a few TV movies in the early 2000s before ‘Boston Legal’ and ‘The Bold and the Beautiful. ‘Hot in Cleveland’ eventually gave way to her ‘career resurgence.’
She won the Screen Actors Guild Award twice from the three nominations. Besides that, she also holds the record for receiving over 21 nominations for a Primetime Emmys in her long career. White went on to win five of them from the 21 nominations. But this illustrious career and life came to a permanent standstill after she breathed her last on the very last day of 2021.