Ringing in the New Year is often signified with the depiction of an old man – Father Time – for the old year and a baby for the new year.

On this final day of 2021, Father Time struck one more time with the death of acting icon Betty White.  She was just two weeks shy of celebrating her 100th birthday.  Longtime friend and agent Jeff Witjas confirmed the death; saying, “I truly never thought she was going to pass away.  She meant the world to me as a friend. She was the most positive person I’ve ever known.”  Witjas said that White died peacefully in her sleep at home.

White began her television career almost as the medium itself was born.  In over 60 years of entertaining, she appeared in nearly 500 different productions; either as herself or as an actress.  She even lent her singing voice to some dozen productions.

It all began with appearances on daytime TV as a talk show personality.  Over the next several decades she would appear in numerous programs and series.  While known by different generations in different shows, one of those was “The Golden Girls” which featured a group of senior acting veterans.  White was the last surviving member of that cast.

In 2010 Mars featured White as a lackluster football player who came to life after eating a Snickers bar during the Super Bowl.  The appearance propelled her into even bigger stardom.  The ad also sparked a Facebook campaign that resulted in White hosting “Saturday Night Live” and earned her another Emmy Award.

A one off appearance in the sitcom “Hot in Cleveland” had White stealing the show and earned her a regular spot on the show.

Her appearance as Sue Ann Nivens on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” was also originally scheduled as a one off appearance; one she turned into a four year role.  She was also the last surviving cast member of the show.

Considered a national treasure, television marked milestones in White’s life with grand specials.  Producers Steve Boettcher and Mike Trinklein created “Betty White: 100 Years Young – A Birthday Celebration” to mark her 100th birthday on January 17, 2022.  The due have said that the one day theatrical showing will go on as planned.  Producers said that they hope the film provides a way for celebration of her life.

White made her television acting debut in 1945 in the short “Time to Kill”.  From there she went on to appear 120 more productions including “Life with Elizabeth”, “Date with the Angels”, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”, “The Betty White Show”, “Mama’s Family”, “The Golden Girls”, “The Golden Palace”, “Maybe This Time”, “Ladies Man”, “Boston Legal”, the daytime drama “The Bold and the Beautiful”, “Pound Puppies”, and “Hot in Cleveland”.

Her guest appearances include “Petticoat Junction”, “Fame”, “St. Elsewhere”, five episodes of “The Love Boat”, “Matlock”, “Empty Nest”, six episodes of “Bob”, five episodes of “The Lionhearts”, “The Wild Thornberry’s”, four episodes of “That ‘70s Show”, “The Practice”, “The Simpsons”, and “Bones”.

She even lent her voice to the film “Toy Story 4” as Bitey White.

As herself, White made over 350 appearances in numerous game shows, specials, documentaries, late night talk shows, award shows, talk and variety shows, and her own show “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers”.

Her accomplishment include an AP Entertainer of the Year, seven Emmy Awards, a Women’s International Center Living Legacy Award, and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Born Betty Marion White on January 17, 1922 in Oak Park, Illinois.  An only child born to a salesman and homemaker, the family moved to California when Betty was very small.  Weekly trips into the Sierra Nevada mountains spawned a lifelong love of animals.  When not acting, she spent many hours as an activist and fundraiser for animal causes.

She caught the acting bug in high school where she appeared in numerous school productions.  Before entering television, White had some small parts in radio and in the local theatre.

Married three times and divorced twice, White is predeceased by husband Allen Ludden.  While the couple had no children of their own, she became a part of step children David, Martha, and Sarah’s lives.

feature photo credit: Betty White 1989 Emmy Awards.jpg