This is the news no one wanted to hear: Betty White, the Emmy-winning TV star who had a remarkable later-career resurgence in films, TV commercials and the hit series “The Golden Girls” and “Hot in Cleveland,” has died. She was 99.
Police responding to a death investigation this morning believe she died at her Brentwood California home last night. White would have celebrated her 100th birthday on Jan. 17.
White’s agent and close friend Jeff Witjas confirmed: “Even though Betty was about to be 100, I thought she would live forever,” Witjas said in a statement. “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.”
In January 2012 the NBC special “Betty White’s 90th Birthday: A Tribute to America’s Golden Girl’’ was the most-watched program on the night. White hosted and produced the hidden-camera reality show “Off Their Rockers” in 2012-13, earning two more Emmy nominations.
Her most recent book, “If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won’t),” was published in 2011. She won a Screen Actors Guild life achievement award in 2010.
Ludden died in 1981, and White never remarried. She was a lifelong lover and supporter of animals and groups that rescued them.
Witjas emphasized that White had not been ill but had been extremely cautious during the COVID-19 pandemic. She spent most of the past two years at the home she loved with her many pets. She had round-the-clock caretakers in her final years.