The Life and Death of a Star: Celebrating Betty White

Remembering the life of Betty White and all her ground-breaking accomplishments

Betty+White

nypost.com

Betty White

Maddie Sturman, Photography Editor

“Best thing about being in your 90s is you’re spoiled rotten. Everybody spoils you like mad and they treat you with such respect because you’re old. Little do they know, you haven’t changed. You haven’t changed in [the brain]. You’re just 90 every place else … Now that I’m 91, as opposed to being 90, I’m much wiser. I’m much more aware and I’m much sexier.”

On January 17, 1922, in Oak Park Illinois, a star was born. On December 31, 2021, she departed this world for her journey to come, leaving behind an unforgettable legacy. Betty White was a beloved actress and comedian, well-known for her roles in the sitcoms Golden Girls and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. 

In White’s mid-20s, she got her first role ever in the animated film The Lorax, where she was able to achieve one of her lifelong goals, to be an opera singer, by being able to sing a few lines in the film. 

A few years later in the sitcom Life with Elizabeth, White played the main role as Elizabeth, a newlywed to her husband Alvin (played by Del Moore). The plot revolved around the enjoyment found in Elizabeth and Alvin’s new life together while settling into their home, and somehow their neighbors and friends always got involved in the drama of their daily lives. 

In 1983, White was the first woman to receive the award of “Outstanding Game Show Host” for the NBC show Just Men! White also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1988. According to MeTV News 4, “Ms. White had worked longer in the television medium than anyone else in history, earning her a Guinness World Record in 2018. Throughout her long career, White earned eight Emmy Awards, three American Comedy Awards, three Screen Actor Guild Awards, and a Grammy Award. White was the oldest surviving member of the casts of both The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Golden Girls.” 

Additionally, she earned two Emmy Awards as Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (1975 and 1976) for her role as Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, with a further nomination following in the show’s final season in 1977.” 

White’s awe-inspiring life and career have impacted many people, including some in our small town of Caledonia, One of them being Mrs.Yonker, an English teacher at CHS. She shared that “Betty White was a true female icon; a role model defying the odds for decades in American culture. I can remember sitting in my grandparents’ living room in the ’80s watching Golden Girls with my now 98-year-old grandmother and laughing our heads off at those crazy ladies!” 

Mrs. Yonker continued on to say “Betty White was a true star, incomparable to any social media influencer or socialite in today’s society because of her poise, grace, and sense of humor. I have been a Betty White fan my entire life. I have a tribe of women in my life with whom we banter back and forth on the assignments of each of us as a cast member of The Golden Girls. 

To her, the significance of this loss was uncovered by the fact that “To be honest, I’ve never felt emotional at the death of a big-time celebrity but this one is different. Maybe it’s the love my Grandmother and I share, and equally our love for Betty White. As I reflect on what nearly 100 years of life must feel like, I can’t help but be grateful for her role in American culture over the last seven decades. As my Grandmother enters her 99th year on this earth, I realize just how much of a gift life is and I’m reminded how important friendships are to women. To Betty White, though she has no clue who I am, ‘thank you for being a friend.’”