Hollywood Star and gay icon Betty White died peacefully in her Brentwood home in West LA on December 31st.
She was just a few weeks away from her 100th birthday, which she would have celebrated on 17 January, and was vibrant and energetic right to the end.
White’s agent and close friend Jeff Witjas confirmed the news.
“Even though Betty was about to be 100, I thought she would live forever,” he said. “I will miss her terribly and so will the animal world that she loved so much. I don’t think Betty ever feared passing because she always wanted to be with her most beloved husband Allen Ludden. She believed she would be with him again.”
White’s career spanned nine decades and is best known for starring on shows such as The Mary Tyler Moore Show (in the ’70s) and The Golden Girls (in the ’80s). However, in 1952, she appeared in the I Love Lucy-like Life with Elizabeth, a show she also produced.
She was revered in Hollywood and around the world for her sharp wit and warmth, and was passionate about human and animal rights.
In 2010 she came out in support of LGBT+ rights and equal marriage, telling Parade magazine: “I don’t care who anybody sleeps with. If a couple has been together all that time – and there are gay relationships that are more solid than some heterosexual ones – I think it’s fine if they want to get married.
“I don’t know how people can get so anti-something. Mind your own business, take care of your affairs, and don’t worry about other people so much.”
She joked: “Gays love old ladies.”
In a statement, GLAAD Head of Talent Anthony Allen Ramos said, “Betty White was an icon in the entertainment industry and a true ‘friend’ to the LGBTQ community. Her character Rose on The Golden Girls was instrumental in drawing mainstream attention to LGBTQ issues on television, namely an episode that raised awareness about HIV in 1990. Throughout the rest of her career, White used her platform to advocate for many issues affecting the LGBTQ community, including marriage equality and supporting at-risk queer youth.”