Betty White, American actress of Golden Girls, dies at 99

Actress Betty White, who made American television audiences laugh for more than seven decades by starring in popular sitcoms “The Golden Girls” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” died, US media reported Friday. She was 99 years old.

The pioneering and Emmy-winning comedian enjoyed one of the longest careers in show business history: She began appearing regularly on television in 1949 and had a voice role in “Toy Story 4” in 2019.

“Even though Betty was about to turn 100, I thought she would live forever,” her agent Jeff Witjas told People magazine in a statement.

“I will miss her so much and also the animal world that she loved so much.

“I don’t think Betty ever feared death because she always wanted to be with her dearest husband, Allen Ludden. She believed she would be with him again.”

TMZ, citing law enforcement sources, said he died at his home on Friday. The cause of death was not immediately revealed.

The news drew a great deal of tribute, and President Joe Biden called her “a lovely lady.”

“Ninety-nine years old, as my mother would say, God loves her!” he told reporters.

White was an early producer on the 1950s sitcom “Life With Elizabeth,” in which she also starred.

Later, as a nonagenarian, she interacted with much younger fans on Instagram.

“It’s amazing that I’m still in this business, and you still put up with me!” White said at the 2018 Emmys.

In total, he won five primetime Emmys, two daytime awards, one of them for lifetime achievement, and a regional Emmy in Los Angeles.

White, whose signature halo of whitish blonde hair and light blue eyes were instantly recognizable to American viewers, adopted a variety of on-screen characters.

She went from playing a 1950s housewife on “Elizabeth” to a man-hungry 1970s television personality on “Moore” to a 1980s retiree “Golden Girl.”

In real life, he loved to utter irreverent phrases.

When asked by late-night host David Letterman about her favorite hobbies, the longtime animal welfare advocate replied, “(I like) playing with animals, mostly. And vodka is kind of a hobby.”

golden girl

Betty Marion White was born on January 17, 1922, outside of Chicago. The family moved to California during the Great Depression.

White said her love of acting came from a school production, but she recognized her parents, a homemaker and a lighting company executive, as her inspiration for the comedy.

After a few years of modeling, as well as a stint in the American Women’s Voluntary Services during World War II, White moved on to radio concerts, reading commercials, and playing small roles.

His first regular television job came in 1949 on the variety show “Hollywood on Television.” Just a few years later, he co-created “Life with Elizabeth”.

It was through her early television career that White met Ludden, her third and final husband, who hosted the game show “Password,” on which he appeared frequently.

In fact, it became a staple of game shows in the 1960s and 1970s, before Moore called on it.

White would win two Emmy Awards for her portrayal of Sue Ann Nivens on the newsroom sitcom.

A career ray struck again in the mid-1980s with “The Golden Girls,” about four older women who share a home in Miami.

White was Rose Nylund, the goofy and often naive Minnesota native who was the stark contrast to the more sophisticated characters played by Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan, and Estelle Getty.

“Bea didn’t love me that much,” White said in an interview with HLN in 2011. “But I loved Bea and looked up to her.”

White won another Emmy for the role of Rose.

Success at the end of life

As White aged, he won over an entirely new generation of viewers, the millennials who watched reruns of “Golden Girls,” with his sarcastic, sometimes obscene wit.

Over the past decade, he has come back into the public eye, starring in TV Land’s “Hot in Cleveland” and hosting the hidden camera prank show “Off Their Rockers.”

She even returned to the game shows in a revamped “To Tell The Truth” and was the face of an ad campaign for the Snickers candy bar.

In 2010, at age 88, White became the longest-serving host of the sketch comedy show “Saturday Night Live,” an experience she called “probably the funniest I’ve ever had and the scariest.”

Despite her prolific television career, White only appeared in a handful of films, including “The Proposal” (2009) and the animated “The Lorax” (2012).

White attributed her long career to being “blessed.”

In addition to her multiple Emmy Awards, White was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1995.

He won three Screen Actors Guild Awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Trophy in 2010. In 2011, he took home a Grammy for the audio version of one of his books.

White and Ludden were married from 1963 until his death in 1981. The actress never remarried and had no children.

(AFP)

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