Betty White dies at 99, fans nationwide mourn the loss of the beloved actress

Giana Coletti and Sharon Olkovsky

Due to a stroke endured overnight, American actress Betty White passed away on December 31, 2021, less than a month from what would’ve been her 100 birthday. Known for her comedic acting, most notably on National Broadcasting Center’s (NBC) The Golden Girls, White had a large fanbase filled with fans who were stunned and upset to hear about her passing.

Beginning her television career in the 1930’s, later she starred on Life with Elizabeth, kickstarting her popularity in the acting industry. White continued acting until she was well into her 90’s and contributed to over 120 productions including TV shows, movies, and animated films. Additionally, White was known for using her platform and fame to promote important messages related to social justice.

White was often referred to as the “First Lady of Television” and was named the honorary Mayor of Hollywood in 1955. Many fans, friends, past co-cast members, and other celebrities publicly reacted to White’s death, expressing their sadness and overall admiration of her as a person.

“Even though Betty was about to be 100, I thought she would live forever. I will miss her terribly and so will the 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,” White’s Manager and Publicist Jeff Witjas said.

In addition to her success in acting, White was known for her efforts and dedication to equality, diversity, and inclusion. In 1954, White publicly stood up against racism, fiercely replying to hateful comments about a black performer on her show. In 2014, White spoke out in favor of marriage equality, and frequently voiced her support for LGBTQ+ rights. In 2018, White was a major donor to Guide Dogs for the Blind and other organizations supporting disability rights. Most prominently, White was known as a strong and passionate feminist.

“Betty was such a joy and inspiration in her later years, but what many people don’t realize is what a pioneering, feminist bada**, she was in television’s earliest days. She produced, co-created, and starred in her own sitcom, hired female directors, and deliberately chose her career over marriage. She was TV’s original trailblazing feminist,” author Jennifer Keishin Armstrong wrote.

For her contributions to the acting industry, fights for social justice, and being an overall influential American celebrity, the death of White is mourned by many. Although living for 99 powerful and successful years, many were excited to see White celebrate her 100 birthday.