A tribute to Betty White

Cate Langhorn, Editor-in-Chief

Best known for her roles in TV series such as “The Golden Girls,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Life with Elizabeth,” and “The Proposal.” Betty White became a beloved actress and comedian over the years. She was loved for her bold and sassy, yet kind and optimistic personality.

The actress passed away on December 31, 2021, just 18 days before her 100th birthday on January 17, 2022. According to USA Today, White’s doctor confirmed that her death was due to a stroke, which she had six days before her passing.

“It’s so sad that she died so close to her 100th birthday, she was an incredibly talented actress, and the world lost her too soon,” said Ashna Khianey (’24).

Many celebrities and those who worked with White took to social media to express their grief over her passing. Jesse Ferguson, best known for his role in “Modern Family,” posted a picture of his drink on Twitter, captioned “Cheers to you Betty White.”

“The world looks different now,” Ryan Reynolds, a co-star of White’s in the 2009 movie, “The Proposal,” said. “She was great at defying expectations. She managed to grow very old and somehow, not old enough. We’ll miss you, Betty. Now you know the secret.”

“Now you know the secret,” is a reference to the way White viewed death. In a 2012 interview with The New York Times, White talked about her mother’s optimistic approach to death.

“[White’s mother] said, ‘It’s the one secret that we don’t know.’” White said. “So whenever we would lose somebody very close and very dear, she would always say, ‘Well, now he knows the secret.’ And it took the curse off of it somehow.”

Additionally, NBC News aired a tribute to Betty White on January 31 at 10 p.m. It was an hour long special featuring tributes from family, friends, coworkers, etc. Highlighting her career and the awards she has received over the years. Even President Biden joined in to honor Betty White in this special, saying “Betty White was an American treasure, an icon, and a pioneer.”

But it’s not just family members and coworkers mourning her passing. Google added a special feature in honor of Betty White. When you search her name, rose petals fall down the screen and “Thank You for Being a Friend” and “1922-2021” appear in large pink letters at the bottom of the screen, themed after her iconic role in the show “The Golden Girls.”

Madison students also mourned the death of the beloved actress, one student said “She was a witty, incredible woman with a heart of gold,” Michy Michaud (’24).

The honoring of Betty White’s death has also taken the form of online challenges such as the #BettyWhiteChallenge, a challenge started online to donate $5 or more to local animal shelters to honor White’s love of animals, as showcased on a show produced by and starring White, “Pet Set,” a show dedicated to the actress’s lifelong love for animals.

The Los Angeles Zoo has received over $70K and Lincoln animal shelters have received roughly $29K as a result of the challenge.

Celebrations have also taken place in Betty White’s hometown, in Oak Park, Illinois in her honor. Many of the celebrations included decorations, activities and food themed after the Golden Girls favorite things, such as cheesecake, white chocolate, puppies, the color pink and the “Golden Girls” theme song.

As these celebrations take place around the world, whether it’s communities coming together, or movements to donate to animal shelters in her honor, we remember Betty White by her charming personality, humor and kindness, and honor her death through this tribute.