Actress Betty White has died on Friday, her agent and close friend Jeff Witjas told People magazine in a statement.
At 99, she was just weeks away from celebrating her 100th birthday on January 17.
“Even though Betty was about to be 100, I thought she would live forever,” Witjas said.
“I will miss her terribly and so will the animal world that she loved so much. I don’t think Betty ever feared passing because she always wanted to be with her most beloved husband Allen Ludden. She believed she would be with him again.”
For the first half of her career White was a regular, but not widely noticed, presence on radio and television.
There were ’50s sitcoms, a 1954 talk show and even a role in the 1962 film “Advise and Consent.” She’d pop up on game shows occasionally.
But starting with her performance as acerbic kitchen diva Sue Ann Nivens on the 1970s sitcom “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” at 51 White developed a knack for portraying the apparently pure-hearted elder, full of Midwestern sincerity. In doing so, she created a new generation of fans, a base that only grew larger as she entered her 90s.
White also played a flinty and sometimes violent secretary on “Boston Legal.” She had a guest spot on “The Simpsons,” hosted “Saturday Night Live” and even appeared in a self-mocking ad for Snickers candy bars.
She created a new generation of fans, a base that only grew larger as she entered her 90s.
White was honored by Guinness World Records as the longest television career by a female entertainer.
US President Joe Biden released a statement upon her death, describing her as a “lovely lady” and a “cultural icon who will be sorely missed.
Many celebrities, including Ryan Reynolds, Sandra Bullock, Ellen DeGeneres, Seth Meyers, Conan O’Brien, Bob Iger, Paul Feig and Kathy Griffin also paid tribute to the late actress.