It breaks our hearts to say goodbye to Betty White.
As 2021 came to a close, movie fans and entertainment icons alike are looking back on what has been quite the rollercoaster of a year for all in the industry. Unfortunately, even though there have been the highs of major movie releases like Dune, F9, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, and Spider-Man: No Way Home, the year has also come with saddening low moments with longtime industry legends passing away.
January started off with former Major League Baseball home run leader Hank Aaron and talk show icon Larry King, who both lived into their 80s, although younger stars left this world too such as popular rapper DMX at the age of 50. The superhero movie world felt its fair share of pain too when Superman director Richard Donner died at 91 years old after leaving his mark on both the DC and Marvel universes.
As the year came to a close, these deaths didn’t seem to slow down, most recently with professional football legend John Madden, who went into the sport’s Hall of Fame after nearly 50 years involved with the sport. However, fans had to wait for arguably the biggest blow of the year until the final day of 2021, as news about someone literally loved by everyone comes as a devastating strike to the heart.
Betty White’s Long Legacy
Multiple news outlets have reported and confirmed that comedy and movie legend Betty White passed away at the age of 99. No cause of death has been revealed, although outlets are hinting that she died of natural causes, which comes less than three weeks before what would have been her 100th birthday.
To say that Betty White was an industry icon would come as quite the massive understatement, especially considering just how beloved she’s been for the better part of a century. With more than seven decades of experience on her impressive resume, White’s work had an influence on three or four generations of fans from multiple factions of the entertainment industry.
White started off as a staple of comedy programs and game shows throughout the 1950s and 1960s, including leading the way on The Betty White Show in 1954. Along with a reccurring role on the early take on The Tonight Show, she was a regular panelist on game shows of the era such as Password and Match Game.
1973 came with her biggest role to date as she became a reccurring actor on The Mary Tyler Moore Show for four years alongside Ted Knight, Cloris Leachman, and the late Ed Asner, amongst others. The decade continued for White with appearances on The Carol Burnett Show, The Sonny and Cher Show, and even a revival of her own The Betty White Show.
The ’80s and ’90s came as a literal golden era for White as she took on a leading role as the simple yet hilarious Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls, which ran for 180 episodes between 1985 and 1992. Her chemistry with Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan, and Estelle Getty brought countless laughs for its entire run as the show won eight Emmy Awards, all while White was nominated for Best Actress nearly every single year the show was on the air.
The late 20th and early 21st century saw White add even more iconic roles to her legacy in movies like Lake Placid and The Proposal while even making an appearance in 2019’s Toy Story 4. This is a woman that even held a lead role in a sitcom well into her 90s with Hot in Cleveland, in which she starred in every episode from 2010 to 2015.
On top of her seemingly endless list of credits, White was a staple on talk shows of the 2000s and in fun stories that trended all over social media over the last few years. Literally only a few days before her death, she made news for her back-and-forth affair with Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds after their banter over the “love affair” that blossomed from their work on The Proposal made fans crack up as they saw the exchange online.
Betty White is arguably one of the most impactful figures in movie and TV history, particularly for the fact that she was nearly impossible to dislike, much less hate. Add in the fact that the countdown to her 100th birthday was almost officially over, and it simply makes for a tear-jerking bit of news that has fans mourning an unexpected loss.
We at the Illuminerdi send our love and prayers to Betty White’s family, friends, and enormous fan base during this difficult time.