The World Reacts to the Loss of Betty White
One thing we can all agree on as this new year rolls in…we will dearly miss the light and humor of the sassy, incorrigible Betty White.
The legendary actress passed away yesterday at the age of 99, just 17 days shy of her 100th birthday on January 17. The milestone gained much attention this week as buzz grew for People Magazine’s special Betty White birthday edition, released on Wednesday. Throughout the press, the famously spunky comedian revelled in well wishes and invited the world to join her big celebration.
Timing is Everything
The impeccable timing of her passing was not lost on Twitter users. Stealing the spotlight while the world celebrated her, on a day that ended in auld lang syne, celebratory toasts, and a proverbial blank page all around the world…well no one else could pull that off.
White’s passing quickly took over social media, with general adoration mixed with fond memories, monumental accolades, and more than one quip about her spot on timing.
TomandLorenzo, pop culture podcasters and authors noted that only Betty White could orchestrate her own passing in such a way .
Dying hours before New Year’s Eve ensures that Betty White will have more toasts made to her memory on the day she died than just about anyone in history. She always was a master of timing.
— Tom and Lorenzo (@tomandlorenzo) December 31, 2021
User @sleeplessmarea tweeted,
Who here believes that Betty White, in a final example of showmanship and timing, just showed us the perfect way to make an EXIT?”
But the beloved White’s timing wasn’t the only focus of the social media world today. Her trailblazing history of sticking to her guns and work for the greater good stood out as well. She was the first woman to produce a television show, first to win a Daytime Emmy for Best Game Show Host, and holds a record for timespan of Emmy nominations (1951-2014).
Former First Lady Michelle Obama noted that White “broke barriers” fighting for equal rights in the 1950s and the actress had a fondness for former First Dog, Bo.
Betty White broke barriers, defied expectations, served her country, and pushed us all to laugh. Barack and I join so many around the world who will miss the joy she brought to the world. I know our Bo is looking forward to seeing her up in heaven. pic.twitter.com/tVL7NUw2TT
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) January 1, 2022
The First Lady of Television had a fondness for most animals, actually. Animal advocacy was a lifelong passion. Koko the gorilla being the most famous animal friendship and prompting White to accept a position on the board of The Gorilla Foundation. A Yahoo News article credits her lifelong support of animals as one of Betty’s greatest legacies. Many users suggested donations to local shelters in White’s honor tonight.
Betty White’s love for all animals made me❤️her even more, if that’s possible!! She walked the walk every day and the animal world will miss her voice! I love this pic!! 😢💔😢 #BettyWhite #RainbowBridge pic.twitter.com/gHcc6vYydw
— Dan Pereira (@ddanpereira) January 1, 2022
All About Attitude
Her list of achievements is long, but it was Betty White’s signature sass and powerhouse attitude that stood out among those who knew her. She famously claimed that the secret to her long life was “vodka and hot dogs”, avoiding green foods, and a general sense of humor.
Actor Ted Danson, who worked with White in philanthropic roles, said,
It’s not like she’s just a bubbly, joyful person. She wakes up every day and chooses to be that way,”
Sandra Bullock, White’s The Proposal co-star, commented to People Magazine,
I don’t drink vodka … but I will tonight, on ice, with a slice of lemon with a hot dog on the other side and just be okay being sad.”
Comedian Kathy Griffin paid tribute with several memorial anecdotes, concluding,
She was as sharp and amusing as she was tender and smart, and no matter how long this world continues to spin, there will be only one Betty White.”
Probably the most adored friendship of the iconic White is that with her The Proposal co-star Ryan Reynolds. The hearthrob had a public “flirtation” with White since 2009, a darling media story that both played into beautifully. Reynolds called White an ex-girlfriend and White claimed she’d moved on. Less than 48 hours before her passing, the two exchanged a final public ribbing,
I’ve heard Ryan can’t get over his thing for me, but Robert Redford is The One.” – Betty White in People Magazine
“I’m absolutely sick of the media exploiting past relationships just to drive clicks.” – Ryan Reynolds via Twitter
While it was all in good fun, it was obvious the two had great affection for one another. Social media posts jovially claimed that someone should “check on Ryan Reynolds” after his friend’s passing, but the star posted an unmatched heartfelt tribute.
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/uevwerjobS
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) December 31, 2021
It’s a bit heartwarming that at 99 years old this incredible, everlasting spirit spent some of her final hours giving a dear friend a some business.
No, you’d be hard pressed to find a negative word about Betty White on social media today and that is, in itself, a pretty remarkable legacy to leave. A true international treasure whose delightful presence on our screens spanned a television career almost as long as the media itself. (The television was invented in the late1920s/early 30s, while White’s illustrious television career began in the late 1930s.)
It seems the whole world will miss her, toast her, and forever be touched by her, but there’s a comforting closure in the impeccable timing that only Betty White could leave us with.
Perhaps comedian Paula Poundstone said it best…
You know what’s really great? We told Betty White that we loved her while she was still alive.
— Paula Poundstone (@paulapoundstone) December 31, 2021
And for that, we are all grateful. Rest in Peace, our beloved Golden Girl. Thank you for being a friend.
Feature Image: Toby Canham/Getty Images via CNN.com
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