TV | December 31, 2021 3:30 pm

Betty White, Award-Winning Actress, Dead at 99

She was a few weeks away from turning 100

Betty White
Betty White, photographed during her long career.
Bettmann Archive

In the world of acting, some are well-known for a few years or for one enduring role. As for Betty White, her tenure on television and in movies endured for decades, making her a welcome screen presence for generations of viewers. Some viewers knew her best for her work on The Golden Girls; others, for her time on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Sadly, the last day of 2021 brought news of White’s death at the age of 99, just a few weeks before what would have been her hundredth birthday.

White’s agent, Jeff Witjas, confirmed the news to People, and echoed a sentiment that many had regarding her. “Even though Betty was about to be 100, I thought she would live forever,” Witjas said.

In 2018, White received a Guinness World Record due to the length of her career on television. Her work in media began when she was eight years old, and involved working in radio. She gradually made the transition to working on television, and was nominated for her first Emmy Award in 1951 — the first of eight nominations she would receive.

While White is best-known for her roles in popular comedies — and for her fantastic sense of comic timing — she was also a pioneer in television in other ways. She had full creative control over two of her shows in the 1950s, The Betty White Show and Life With Elizabeth — something that wasn’t exactly common at the time.

White stayed busy in the last 15 years. Her work included a regular role on the television series Hot in Cleveland, roles in Toy Story 4 and The Proposal — which led to an ongoing faux-rivalry with Ryan Reynolds — and an episode as the host of Saturday Night Live.

In a 2011 interview, White spoke about her approach to acting. “I love what I do. I’m blessed with that,” she said. “I don’t think of it as work, because I’m doing what I enjoy.” Throughout her career, that enjoyment was deeply felt and regularly apparent.