Betty White Dies: ‘Golden Girls’ Star Was 99

Betty White
Eric McCandless/Freeform via Getty Images

Long-beloved TV mainstay and The Golden Girls star Betty White has died at 99, TMZ reports.

The actress was set to turn 100 on January 17, and her centennial birthday is currently being celebrated on the cover of the current issue of People magazine. “I’m so lucky to be in such good health and feel so good at this age. It’s amazing,” she was quoted as saying in the story.

White made her small screen debut in 1949 as cohost of the Al Jarvis’ live variety show, Hollywood on Television, which earned her her first Primetime Emmy.

She first really made a name for herself as a TV icon in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, starring as the flirty Sue Ann Nivens from 1973 to 1977. She then went on to play lovable ditz Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls from 1985 to 1992. The pioneer White was the first woman to produce a sitcom with Life with Elizabeth, as well as the first woman to receive a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show host for Just Men!. In later years her incredible resume grew with memorable appearances on everything from Saturday Night Live to WWE Raw. Her last real regular TV role was as Elka Ostrovsky on TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland.

White also made the move to the big screen a number of times in movies like Lake Placid (1999) and The Proposal (2009), though it’s really television where she made her biggest mark.

The news of her death broke hours before the end of 2021 and was confirmed to Deadline by her longtime agent Jeff Witjas. TMZ reported through law enforcement sources that the iconic actress passed away at her home Friday morning.

As expected, tributes have been pouring in from around the world. In all, her years on screen spanned many decades and earned eight Emmys, three Screen Actors Guild Awards, and yes, a Grammy. Beyond her trailblazing career amassing multiple accolades, it was White’s dedication to animal rights that was perhaps most rewarding.