Betty White, an ageless TV star, was America's sweetheart

Posted at 9:39 AM, Jan 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-01 11:31:20-05

Betty White was America’s naughty sweetheart. With a wholesome smile and a dirty joke she charmed millions of viewers decade after decade, rising from $50-a-week to ageless superstar.

Even in her 90s, in defiance of time and expectations, she still enjoyed a cocktail before dinner, a weekly poker night and wide-eyed interest in the world. White died Friday at 99, just weeks before her 100th birthday.

White launched her TV career when the medium was in its infancy and never lost touch.

She gave life to quirky characters, including the sitcom “Life With Elizabeth” in the 1950s, man-crazy Sue Ann on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” in the 1970s, and Rose in “The Golden Girls” in the ’80s.

Even into her 90s, White worked regularly. She had a starring role on the sitcom "Hot in Cleveland" until the show ended its run in 2015.

White also lit up movie screens with her memorable roles in the horror spoof “Lake Placid” and the comedy “The Proposal,” alongside actors Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock.

She really gained notoriety when she starred in a Snickers commercial that ran during the Super Bowl in 2010.

Afterward, she co-hosted "Saturday Night Live," for which she won her seventh Emmy award.

White's death comes just days before her 100th birthday, which would have occurred on Jan. 17.

Tributes from her famous friends began rolling in after news broke of her passing.

"Our national treasure, Betty White, has passed just before her 100th birthday," "Star Trek" star George Takei tweeted. "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."

"Tonight we will raise MANY glasses to the WONDERFUL legacy of Betty White!!!" Bravo's Andy Cohen said on Twitter.

"Betty White: I is very hard to absorb you are not here anymore.." "Happy Days" actor Henry Winkler said. "But the memories of your deLIGHT are ..Thank you for your humor, your warmth, and your activism .. Rest now and say Hi to Bill."

"A spirit of goodness and hope," journalist Dan Rather tweeted. "Betty White was much beloved because of who she was, and how she embraced a life well-lived. Her smile. Her sense of humor. Her basic decency. Our world would be better if more followed her example. It is diminished with her passing."