Beloved actor, comedian, animal advocate, and trailblazer Betty White passed away on 31 December 2021 aged 99.
Today, 17 January 2022, marks what would have been the treasured performer's 100th birthday.
Betty White was no stranger to breaking boundaries and setting records.
In 2013, the TV star earned the Guinness World Records title for longest TV career for an entertainer (female), spanning over 74 years of work in the industry.
Making her TV debut in 1939, just after graduating from high school, Betty went on to portray some cherished characters.
Working in TV, radio, stage and appearing in more than 15 movies, Betty is probably best known for her role as the loveable Rose Nylund in The Golden Girls (NBC, 1985–1992).
Betty worked primarily on stage and radio in the 1940s, and by the end of the decade had become a regular co-host of Hollywood on Television on KLAC TV. In 1954, she hosted her own daily talk show, The Betty White Show (NBC).
Lovingly referred to as the queen of the small screen, Betty White’s legacy spans much further than her acting career. Betty took a stand for the things and people she believed in.
When Betty was asked to remove Arthur Duncan from the cast of The Betty White Show in the 1950s because of his race, her response did not waver despite the threat of cancellation. She said "I'm sorry, but, you know, he stays".
Betty also pushed back on gender norms and societal pressures by being vocal about her decision to be childfree. "No, I’ve never regretted it," she said in an interview with CBS in 2012.
"I’m so compulsive about stuff, I know if I had ever gotten pregnant, of course, that would have been my whole focus. I didn’t choose to have children because I’m focused on my career."
In an interview with Guinness World Records in 2013, when asked if she had any career regrets, Betty calmly replied that she did not.
"I have no regrets at all. None. I consider myself to be the luckiest old broad on two feet."
Known for making the world a better place even after 99 years, for many it feels too soon to say goodbye to the woman who brought so much light and laughter to the world.
Betty left us with countless lessons and advice. When it came to aging, Betty wrote in her book, If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won’t):
"It's not a surprise, we knew it was coming—make the most of it. So you may not be as fast on your feet, and the image in your mirror may be a little disappointing, but if you are still functioning and not in pain, gratitude should be the name of the game."
Cheers to you Betty, thank you for being a friend.