Los Angeles, Dec 31 (EFE).- Pioneering television actress and pop culture icon Betty White, who was part of series such as “The Golden Girls,” “Boston Legal” and “Hot in Cleveland,” died Friday, online celebrity news outlet TMZ said. She was 99.
Her agent and long-time friend, Jeff Witjas, subsequently confirmed the report in a statement to People magazine.
“Even though Betty was about to be 100, I thought she would live forever. I will miss her terribly and so will the animal world that she loved so much,” he said, alluding to White’s decades of activism on behalf of animals.
The producers of “Betty White: 100 Years Young – A Birthday Celebration,” said that film will be shown as planned at more than 900 cinemas across the United States on what would have been her 100th birthday.
“We will go forward with our plans to show the film on Jan. 17 in hopes our film will provide a way for all who loved her to celebrate her life – and experience what made her such a national treasure,” Steve Boettcher and Mike Trinklein said.
Though White’s first TV series, “Life with Elizabeth,” premiered in 1952, the roles that would define her came later, starting with the character of Sue Ann Nivens on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” (1970-1977).
That would be followed by “The Golden Girls” (1985-1992), “Boston Legal” (2004-2008) and “Hot in Cleveland” (2010-2015).
Along the way, White co-starred with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds in the 2009 film “The Proposal” and was a guest star on “The Simpsons.”
In 2010, partly as the result of a campaign by her fans on Facebook, White – then 88 – became the oldest person to host “Saturday Night Live.”
Word of White’s death spurred a flood of tributes.
“Betty White brought a smile to the lips of generations of Americans. She’s a cultural icon who will be sorely missed. Jill and I are thinking of her family and all those who loved her this New Year’s Eve,” President Joe Biden said on behalf of himself and first lady Jill Biden.
White quipped earlier this week that Reynolds still had a romantic crush on her from the time they spent making “The Proposal,” in which she portrayed his grandmother.
Playing along with the joke, Reynolds tweeted Thursday: “I’m absolutely sick of the media exploiting past relationships just to drive clicks.”
“The world looks different now,” Reynolds said Friday after learning that White had died. “She was great at defying expectation. She managed to grow very old and somehow, not old enough. We’ll miss you, Betty.”
“RIP Betty White! Man did I think you would live forever. You blew a huge hole in this world that will inspire generations,” actress Viola Davis wrote on Twitter. EFE