Well, folks, here’s some very sad news to end 2021 with. TMZ is reporting that Betty White, perhaps one of the most beloved tv stars of all time, has passed away at age 99, just a few weeks shy of turning 100 (she would have hit the milestone on January 17th). Obviously, this is a massive bummer and a tragic way to end the year, but it has to be said, ninety-nine is one hell of a good run, and White was seemingly active until just recently.
White’s career on the small screen was legendary. She’s probably best known as Rose Nylund from her seven-season run on The Golden Girls (with a follow-up series, The Golden Palace running another year). Before that, she had starred on The Mary Tyler Moore Show as Sue Anne Nivens, and the happy-go-lucky Rose was considered a change-of-pace role, as Sue Anne was more like the character Rue McClanahan would play, Blanche Devereaux. For those who may not have been around for The Golden Girls‘ initial run, the whole show is streaming on Disney Plus, and it’s really worth a watch. Those ladies got away with some pretty raunchy humour back then, and the show holds up really well.
She outlived all of her co-stars on The Golden Girls, with Estelle Getty dying in 2008, Bea Arthur in 2009, and McClanahan in 2010. She made a fantastic comeback around this time, starring as Ryan Reynolds’ grandma in The Proposal, along with kicking off a five-year run on the show Hot in Cleveland. She also hosted Saturday Night Live in 2010, holding the record as the show’s oldest host ever. She was well-loved by her former co-star Ryan Reynolds, and his on-screen alter-ego Deadpool. Just recently the two had trolled each other through interviews and social media:
I’m absolutely sick of the media exploiting past relationships just to drive clicks. https://t.co/xV8v2vVvXB
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) December 30, 2021
It didn’t take long for the tributes to start rolling in on Twitter:
The world looks different now. She was great at defying expectation. She managed to grow very old and somehow, not old enough. We’ll miss you, Betty. Now you know the secret. pic.twitter.com/uevwerjobS
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) December 31, 2021
Our national treasure, Betty White, has passed just before her 100th birthday. Our Sue Ann Nivens, our beloved Rose Nylund, has joined the heavens to delight the stars with her inimitable style, humor, and charm. A great loss to us all. We shall miss her dearly.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) December 31, 2021
Betty White : I is very hard to absorb you are not here anymore.. But the memories of your deLIGHT
are ..Thank you for yur humor , your warmth and your activism ..
Rest now and say Hi to Bill
— Henry Winkler (@hwinkler4real) December 31, 2021
Saddened to hear that @BettyMWhite has passed. I loved her comedic wit and endearing charm. She definitely was a sweetheart to the world and a gift to the entertainment world. 😔
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) December 31, 2021
— Brent Spiner (@BrentSpiner) December 31, 2021
Please, no… an absolute legend. A towering entertainer. An enormous loss. Fuck. https://t.co/csvltBlVxb
— Mike Flanagan (@flanaganfilm) December 31, 2021
I loved Betty White, so I went up to them: “I’m so honored to meet you both.” And then I said, “Isn’t Linda great?” She said, “We came to see you.” I said, “Why?” “Because we heard you were funny.” I was elated.
— Steve Martin (@SteveMartinToGo) December 31, 2021