Beloved television actress, Betty White is dead at age 99. She was weeks shy of her 100th birthday on January 17.
White’s death was confirmed Friday by Jeff Witjas, her longtime agent and friend. She would have turned 100 on Jan. 17.
“I truly never thought she was going to pass away,” Witjas told The Associated Press. “She meant the world to me as a friend. She was the most positive person I’ve ever known.”
Witjas said White had been staying close to her Los Angeles home during the pandemic out of caution but had no diagnosed illness. It was unclear if she died Thursday night or Friday, he said.
White’s TV career spanned 7 decades, including Life With Elizabeth in the early 1950s to Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show in the 70s to Rose Nylund in The Golden Girls in the ’80s to Boston Legal, in the aughts, and Hot in Cleveland in the 1ens.
In 2010, White’s appearance in a Snickers commercial that premiered during that year’s Super Bowl, gave her career new life.
The instantly-viral video helped spark a Facebook campaign called “Betty White to Host SNL (please?)!,” which led to her half-co-hosting Saturday Night Live on Mother’s Day weekend. The appearance won her a seventh Emmy award.
A month later, cable’s TV Land premiered Hot In Cleveland, the network’s first original scripted series, which starred White, Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves and Wendie Malick as three past-their-prime show-biz veterans who move to Cleveland.
“Don’t try to be young,” she told The AP. “Just open your mind. Stay interested in stuff. There are so many things I won’t live long enough to find out about, but I’m still curious about them.”
A film celebrating White on her birthday will be released as planned for a one-day showing in more than 900 theaters nationwide, said Steve Boettcher and Mike Trinklein, producers of Betty White: 100 Years Young — A Birthday Celebration.
“We will go forward with our plans to show the film on Jan. 17 in hopes our film will provide a way for all who loved her to celebrate her life — and experience what made her such a national treasure,” they said in a statement.
Betty White appeared everywhere! Here she is on The Voice in 2012, promoting the animated film The Lorax with Zac Efron.