THE Golden Girls actress Betty White passed away at the age of 99 on New Year’s Eve, and her cause of death has been revealed.
Her death came just weeks before the icon’s milestone 100th birthday.
Witjas said she passed peacefully in a statement to Deadline.
“Even though Betty was about to be 100, I thought she would live forever,” Witjas said. “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.”
Born in Oak Park, Illinois, on January 17, 1922, White’s career started as a radio personality in Los Angeles in the 1930s, but her career skyrocketed with her role as Rose Nylund in the ’80s sitcom The Golden Girls.
Just days before her death, White gushed about celebrating her 100th birthday in a heartbreaking last post, writing, “My 100th birthday… I cannot believe it is coming up.”
Please read our Betty White live blog for the latest updates …
Another look at Hollywood Blvd.
Hollywood Blvd. continues to honor Betty White, with a memorial set up at her star, and other tributes to the late Hollywood legend.
Hollywood Blvd memorial
Candles, flowers, photos, and other items have been left at Betty White’s star at Hollywood Blvd.
Fans remember Snickers commercial
One fan called it “one of the best commercials ever.”
Betty White dies days after PEOPLE cover
On December 28, Betty White teased her new appearance on the cover of PEOPLE Magazine.
The issue hit newsstands just two days before the star’s death.
“When I learned of Betty’s passing this morning, I was incredibly sad. But we were not surprised, Patrik said,
“As we knew her health had been failing for quite some time.”
“She really wanted to make it to 100. She was a beautiful friend and we will always remember her with love.
“She was a bright light in this dark world and that light will always shine from above, forever.”
Pol’ and Patrik designed Betty’s iconic turquoise dress for her Lifetime Achievement Award honor from SAG in 2010.
“We made a gown for Betty White for her Lifetime Achievement Award,” Pol’ added. “It was one of her most iconic gowns.”
Betty’s death ‘not surprising’ to close friends
Some close to the 99-year-old said that they were sadly aware that the Golden Girls star’s health was “failing for quite some time.”
“I’ve know[n] that her health was not great for some time, but it wasn’t until October that I knew how bad it was,” close friend and dress designer Pol’ Atteu recently told HollywoodLife.
Pol’ and his husband Patrik Simpson were planning to design a gown for Betty’s star-studded anticipated 100th birthday bash.
But they were told it wouldn’t be necessary.
“In October, we had contacted her management about doing a gown for her 100th birthday.
“We were told that her health was failing and that a gown would not be needed.”
Dress designer Pol’s husband Patrik also shared that they were “not surprised,” although “incredibly sad,” by the news.
Jennifer and Betty’s friendship, continued
After Jennifer Love Hewitt revealed she and Betty White shared a vodka and pizza, she added that Betty loved “to end her nights with [friends] by eating gummy bears.”
Jennifer also said that Betty would cheat at Scrabble, but the younger star would just let it happen and allow Betty to win because she was an icon.
“She’s everything you want her to be and more,” the Can’t Hardly Wait actress said. “She’s the best and I just love her to pieces.”
Jennifer Love Hewitt got ‘super drunk’ with Betty White
Jennifer Love Hewitt revealed she and Betty White once got so drunk that the Golden Girls star almost fell into a bush.
The 9-1-1 actress, 41, had been close friends with Betty since the two starred in the 2011 Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, The Lost Valentine, together.
“One of the only times that I’ve been super drunk was with Betty in public,” the actress revealed in an appearance on the Drew Barrymore Show.
She added that during the drunken outing, Betty “veered off into a bush and I thought, ‘Oh my God, I’m going to kill the national treasure, Betty White.’”
What were Betty White’s last words?
Betty’s former costar Vicki Lawrence revealed that Betty’s last word was her late husband’s name, “Allen.”
Lawrence said that she reached out to Carol Burnett in her grief after the news of the 99-year-old actress’s death, according to Page Six.
“Carol wrote back and said, ‘I know, I know. I spoke to Betty’s assistant, who was with her when she passed, and she said the very last word out of her mouth was ‘Allen.’” said Lawrence.
“How sweet is that?” said Lawrence. “‘That is so sweet. God, I hope that’s true. For all of us, I really hope it’s true, a lovely thought.’”
Betty’s final interview includes message to fans
As part of her 100th birthday celebration, Betty White participated in a documentary special called Betty White: 100 Years Young — A Birthday Celebration.
The film’s producer Steve Boettcher revealed that White filmed a video tribute to her fans accompanying the documentary just 10 days before she died.
“On Dec. 20, she did a short little video for us… it was kind of a tribute to her fans that were going to be with her at the event,” Boettcher told Entertainment Tonight. “It’s kind of a shout-out to her fans that she did 10 days before she passed away.”
The film will profile White’s incredible eight-decade career and will feature special appearances from many stars.
Was Betty White married?
Betty White married her first husband, Dick Barker in 1945 but they divorced that same year.
In 1947, Betty married Lane Allen but the pair divorced in 1949.
In 1963, the actress married Allen Ludden but he passed away in 1981 from cancer.
Who was Betty White’s husband?
White had been married a total of three times but her last marriage was to Allen Ludden.
Ludden and White were married from 1963 to 1981 when Ludden passed away.
He was also a TV personality and actor known for his appearance on the game show Password.
White called Ludden the love of her life according to Distractify and said her first two marriages were “a mistake.”
How much did Betty White make from Hot in Cleveland?
It has been reported that the star made $75,000 per episode of the show.
Hot in Cleveland filmed 128 episodes, which means White made $9.6million for all six seasons.
How much did Betty White make from the Golden Girls?
The actress’ salary while on the show was not released.
However, White made a yearly $3million from reruns, after the show ended in 1992.
It has been reported that the star made an estimated $87million from the show between its ending in 1992 and her death.
What was Betty White’s net worth?
Betty White’s career spanned eight decades as she became a pioneer in the film industry.
At the time of her death, White had accrued a net worth of an estimated $75million and received critical acclaim over the course of her long career.
Betty befriended ducks in quarantine
Betty White’s representative told TODAY last year that she spent the pandemic making friends with a couple of ducks in her “beautiful backyard” that like to “waddle up to her glass door…and say hello.”
Betty’s publicist added: ”The animal community is watching over her. The virus is afraid of Betty!”
Betty White’s pandemic safety measures
In May 2020, Betty’s rep told Today she’s been keeping to herself the best she can and practicing social distancing if others have to be around.
The insider said: ”No one permitted in except those who must, [and she] has helpers who are great with her.”
Betty stood for civil rights
In the 1950s, White was heavily criticized for including Arthur Duncan, a Black dancer, on The Betty White Show.
When she was told to pull him from the show, she gave a resounding “no” and gave Duncan more air time.
“All through the South there was this whole ruckus, they were going to take the show off the air if we didn’t get rid of Arthur because he was Black,” White said in a documentary.
White said her opinion was never going to change and Duncan was staying.
“Evidently through the South at that point, it was a very heavy (thing), and I said, ‘I’m sorry, but he stays … Live with it!’”
Betty White expanded activism, continued
White also worked with a guide dog school in New Jersey, called The Seeing Eye.
The organization addressed White’s passing on Friday.
“The Seeing Eye mourns the passing of long-time supporter, advocate, and friend Betty White,” said the school.
“All of us at The Seeing Eye will miss her kindness, her wisdom, and her amazing laugh.”
Betty White expanded activism
As she gained more fame, Betty White expanded her activism with animals.
The National Zoo in Washington D.C. issued a statement on how the actress’ activism inspired people.
“Actress + author (Betty White) graced us with a visit in 2012, sharing her passion for wildlife + animal conservation with our team,” the zoo wrote.
“Ms. White’s love of animals inspired us + others who care + protect creatures large + small.”
Los Angeles Zoo remembers Betty White
The actress supported the Los Angeles Zoo for more than 50 years.
“Her work with the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association spans more than five decades, and we are grateful for her enduring friendship, lifelong advocacy for animals, and tireless dedication to supporting our mission,” said association president Tom Jacobsen in statement.
“She cared deeply for all living creatures – including us,” said zoo CEO Denise Verret. “Her loss leaves a great hole in our hearts.”
Animal rights groups honor Betty White
“We lost a conservationist, animal advocate, and friend,” said the Audubon Nature Institute.
“When the penguins & sea otters were evacuated … for Hurricane Katrina, Betty White paid for the plane to relocate them.”
“She did not ask for fanfare; she just wanted to help.”
An animal lover
Betty was a huge animal lover.
So much so that she turned down a part in the 1997 film As Good as it Gets because she objected to a scene in which a dog is thrown down a laundry chute.
You can do that kind of stuff when you’re Betty White.
Betty White statement on LGBT rights
“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,” said White.
“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.”
Comedians remember superstar Betty White, continued
“She answered every question, acted very shocked at every word out of my mouth, which was mandatory,” continued Kathy Griffin. “She hung out with my mom, like a peer.”
“She actually treated me like an equal in the comedy gurrrl world. She was as sharp and funny as she was soft and wise and no matter how long this world continues to spin, there will be only one Betty White,” Kathy concluded.
And John Cleese posted in memorial, too.
“I’d like to point out today that the wonderful Betty White once played the role of Sybil Fawlty in a disastrous American adaptation of Fawlty Towers,” he wrote.
“I felt very proud she was involved and wish to apologize to her for the experience,” he concluded.
Source: This post first appeared on