The Tragic Death Of Betty White

Betty White, beloved Hollywood actor and respected on-screen icon, died at age 99 on the morning of December 31, TMZ reported. The outlet cited law enforcement sources for the news of White's passing, but no further statement has been provided, including cause of death.

While the star doesn't leave behind any children of her own, she was married three times. She first wed Dick Barker in 1945 and divorced him that same year, which took place before she was married to Lane Allan from 1947 to 1949, and Allen Ludden from 1963 until his death in 1981, per IMDb. White was step-mother to Ludden's three children from a previous marriage, according to the Los Angeles Times.

As White's fans both grieve her death and celebrate her life, they are also surely reminiscing about their favorite roles that the star tackled over the years, as well as the comedic legacy she created. Read on to remind yourself of some of the actor's best performances and find out what she claimed was the secret to her spectacular life.

Betty White's 'sense of humor' kept her going

Betty White's on-screen work went all the way back to 1945 when she appeared in a short project called "Time to Kill" as "Lou's Girl," per IMDb. However, that was just the beginning of a long and successful career in the entertainment industry.White went on to appear on shows like "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "The Love Boat," "Mama's Family," "That '70s Show," and "Hot in Cleveland," as well as in films like 2009's "The Proposal," alongside Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, who were both incredibly fond of their older co-star

Of course, when talking about White's greatest roles, it would be impossible not to mention her long-running gig as Rose Nylund on the classic sitcom "Golden Girls." Appearing on the show from 1985 to 1992, White earned four Golden Globe Award nominations for her work on "Golden Girls" as well as multiple Emmy Award nominations and one win in 1986 for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. "We are having so much fun, there should be a law against it," she gushed to TODAY in 1987 about working with her beloved co-stars.

As the star neared her 99th birthday in January 2021, she opened up to People about what kept her motivated and trudging on (while seemingly loving life), saying, "A sense of humor." She added, "Don't take yourself too seriously. You can lie to others — not that I would — but you cannot lie to yourself." Although it's incredibly sad to lose an accomplished actor like White, we can still appreciate the legacy and laughs that she has left behind.

Betty White seemed invincible was one of a kind

Many fans and celebrities are shocked by Betty White's death — the "Golden Girls" star seemed invincible, and it is hard to believe she is gone. Case in point: The beloved 99-year-old star teased her friend Ryan Reynolds just days before her death. White quipped to People, "I've heard Ryan can't get over his thing for me, but Robert Redford is The One." 

Clearly, White was on the ball until the very end, which isn't too surprising as she was one of a kind. Seth Meyers's tribute to White sums up one of the many reasons she was unique. He tweeted, "RIP Betty White, the only SNL host I ever saw get a standing ovation at the after party. A party at which she ordered a vodka and a hotdog and stayed til the bitter end." Ha! 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, White held The Guinness Book of World Records for the longest TV career for a female entertainer. But White was much more than her accomplishments — millions loved her self-effacing humor and empathy.

Betty White lived a life of kindness

It's no secret Betty White was a national treasure. The 99-year-old actor was such a beloved figure celebrity reactions to White's death poured out shortly after her death got announced. From esteemed newsman Dan Rather to Halsey, everyone wants to pay tribute to White. Even Smokey the Bear tweeted about White's death, saying, "I'm at a loss for words. My hat is off to you, friend."

As for White's reaction to all the love she received throughout her life? "I just appreciate the fact that people have been so kind to me all these years," she told Katie Couric in 2017. And despite spending decades in a business that can be ruthless and cutthroat, she always maintained a positive outlook, which probably explains why she held public favor for so long. "Be kind, and think about people around you – the animals around you, too," White said of her admirable philosophy in an interview with NewYou. "We do terrible things to each other. We have to work hard to stop that, to deflect that. That's a great thing we can all achieve."

So here's to White's incredible life, career, and above all else — her kindness.