Beloved actress and television icon Betty White passed away on December 31 at the age of 99, and fans wasted no time in expressing their sorrow at her death and paying tribute to everything she accomplished over the course of her long and successful career. Unsurprisingly, there are plenty of celebrities and important public figures who were fans as well, and many took to social media to share tributes to her.
Betty White was just a few weeks shy of her 100th birthday when she passed away, and she leaves behind a strong legacy for her work in comedy as well as accomplishments ranging from volunteering during World War II, becoming one of the first women ever to be nominated for an Emmy (and going on to win five Primetime Emmys and two Daytime Emmys), and pushing for progress throughout her career.
The world looks different now. She was great at defying expectation. She managed to grow very old and somehow, not old enough. We’ll miss you, Betty. Now you know the secret. pic.twitter.com/uevwerjobSDecember 31, 2021
Reynolds’ praise for White's talent for “defying expectation” is a sentiment that plenty of fans can undoubtedly echo, as she continued delivering laughs well into her 80s and 90s, and in fact made her Saturday Night Live hosting debut back in 2010 at the age of 88 to become the oldest host in show history. Former SNL writer and cast member Seth Meyers shared a fun detail about her time on the sketch show in his post in her honor:
RIP Betty White, the only SNL host I ever saw get a standing ovation at the after party. A party at which she ordered a vodka and a hotdog and stayed til the bitter end.December 31, 2021
The death of a television icon like Betty White also prompted other TV icons to use social media to share their thoughts and memories of her over her years in the limelight. Star Trek's William Shatner – who was actually hilariously roasted by White during Comedy Central's 2006 Roast of William Shatner after appearing on Boston Legal with him – had a kind message in her memory:
Saddened to hear that @BettyMWhite has passed. I loved her comedic wit and endearing charm. She definitely was a sweetheart to the world and a gift to the entertainment world. 😔December 31, 2021
Betty White's comedic talents were so great that even other comedy legends had stories to tell about what her support meant to them over the years, with Steve Martin taking to Twitter to share what happened when he met White back in the 1970s. He wrote:
Who could possibly blame Steve Martin for feeling "elated" at the praise from Betty White, especially so early in his career? She was already well-known in the entertainment industry in 1974, and her star would only rise further over the years with series like The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Betty White Show, and of course The Golden Girls. In the wake of her death, former Golden Girls writer David A. Goodman shared a story about when he encountered White again, many years later for a different show:
During my 2 seasons on Golden Girls, I only spoke to Betty White once. 20 years later she came in to "Family Guy", I walked up to her and said "I'm sure you don't remember me..." and she said "Of course I remember you, David Goodman! I loved the writers!" No one better. RIP.December 31, 2021
Big names in showbiz aren't the only ones who had messages to share about Betty White after the news broke of her death. President Joe Biden himself praised White as a "cultural icon" with her talent for making people smile:
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.December 31, 2021
Another post brought some awareness to one of Betty White's accomplishments that is undoubtedly far less well-known than her work on Golden Girls or, later, Hot in Cleveland or her history-making hosting debut on SNL. The Twitter account for the U.S. Army acknowledged her both as an actress and for her service as a member of the American Women's Voluntary Services during World War II:
We are saddened by the passing of Betty White. Not only was she an amazing actress, she also served during WWII as a member of the American Women's Voluntary Services.A true legend on and off the screen. pic.twitter.com/1HRDYCeV7wDecember 31, 2021
All in all, the passing of Betty White so close to her birthday with just hours left before the new year was heartbreaking for her fans, and Marvel star Mark Ruffalo may have summed up the prevailing opinion of a lot of people who were saddened by the news:
As if 2021 wasn’t bad enough. Rest In Peace, Queen Betty White. pic.twitter.com/BfxwP31km0December 31, 2021
Our thoughts here at CinemaBlend are with the family, friends, and loved ones of Betty White in this difficult time. The tributes that began pouring out on social media from fans and celebrities alike prove that her talent and personality reached a lot of people over her nearly 100 years, and she won't be forgotten.
Resident of One Chicago, Bachelor Nation, and Cleveland. Has opinions about crossovers, Star Wars, and superheroes. Will not time travel.
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