Famously known for her portrayals of Sue Ann Nivens on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and Rose Nylund on “The Golden Girls,” legendary actress and comedian Betty White passed away peacefully in her sleep at her home in Los Angeles on the morning of Friday, December 31. She was 99 years old.
TMZ first reported White’s passing, posting photos of emergency responders, including police, as they entered White’s home as part of standard procedure.
“Even though Betty was about to be 100, I thought she would live forever,” stated White’s agent and close friend Jeff Witjas to PEOPLE in a statement. “I will miss her terribly and so will the animal 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 was just weeks away from turning 100 years old. In fact, days before her death she tweeted an article by PEOPLE magazine in honor of her gracing the publication’s cover (“Betty White Turns 100!”), on newsstands now. “My 100th birthday… I cannot believe it is coming up, and People Magazine is celebrating with me!”
Over a series of episodes aired from 2006-2009, White played Ann Douglas on “The Bold and the Beautiful.” The character was the mother of Stephanie Forrester (Susan Flannery) and Pamela Douglas (Alley Mills). The character died after a battle with pancreatic cancer in the November 23, 2009 episode.
“Our deepest sympathies to the family & loved ones of Betty White who graced us with her joyful presence and remarkable talent as Ann Douglas,” read a statement by the soap on Twitter. “Betty was as Bold and Beautiful as they come and she will be greatly missed.”
Following the conclusion of her “B&B” run, White starred in the comedy “Hot in Clevland” as Elka Ostrovsky from 2010-2015 and voiced the character of Agatha McLeish on “Pound Puppies” from 2010-2013. One of her final television appearances includes her portrayal as Ms. Wilson in a 2017 episode of the comedy series “Young & Hungry.”
NBC announced earlier today that it will re-air the May 8, 2010 episode of “Saturday Night Live” which was hosted by White and featured Jay-Z as a musical guest. The episode attracted more than 12 million viewers at the time and included a return appearance by former cast member Tina Fey who at the time had left the late-night series and was starring on the network’s “30 Rock.”
In 1999, White told PEOPLE, “You better realize how good life is while it’s happening because before you know it, it will all be gone.”
Rest in Peace, Betty White!