Thank you for being a friend: A tribute to Betty White

Jessica Sarrach ‘24, Lyonlife Editor-in-Chief

On Dec. 31, 2021, America said goodbye to one of its most treasured celebrities. Passing right before she reached her 100th birthday, Betty White lived a fulfilling  and eventful life. As a pioneer of early television, she should be remembered in death as she was in life, as an extraordinary woman who accomplished much, and became a beacon of light and hope for many.


White was an amazing actress. She appeared in 124 titles, marking her place as a star in the cinematic industry. Some of her most notable roles include Rose Nylund in Golden Girls, Ann Douglas in The Bold and Beautiful, Sue Ann Nivens in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and Delores Bickerman in Lake Placid. Golden Girls, a show still cherished by many today, will continue to carry on her name.


Many consider White a pioneer in the entertainment industry for the production of her sitcom Life With Elizabeth. She was the first ever woman to produce a sitcom, a huge achievement in the future for female equality in the entertainment industry—which in her prime was heavily lacking. She gave many women hope that they too could also do big things in their field for the future.


 Her exceptional acting performances won White a large repertoire of awards. In her lifetime she was able to achieve three American Comedy awards which included Funniest Female Performer in a TV Series (leading role) for her role in Golden Girls, a Lifetime Achievement Award in Comedy, and Funniest Female Guest Appearance in a TV series for her role in Ally McBeal. She won five Primetime Emmy awards for her roles in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Golden Girls, The John Larroquette Show, and Saturday Night Live. Her achievements continued when she won two Daytime Emmy awards for her hosting of Just Men! and a Lifetime Achievement Award as well and a Regional Emmy award for her role in Life with Elizabeth. She won a People’s Choice Award for being a TV Icon along with 14 other miscellaneous awards from different award shows. Her awards continued with the Lifetime Achievement for the Women Film Critics Circle Awards and her accolades concluded with her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Betty White was a very successful woman and is an inspiration to many. Her death left a huge hole in America’s heart. Talk Show host Ellen Degenress said, “I’m grateful for every second I got to spend with Betty White.” The impact White left spread to people from all different backgrounds and careers. Famous Actor Ryan Reynolds said, “The world looks different now. She was great at defying expectations. She managed to grow very old and somehow, not old enough. We’ll miss you, Betty.”White seemed to leave an impact on everyone she met. Journalist and actor Al Roker said, “Just heartbroken to hear of the passing of American icon and treasure, Betty White just shy of her 100th birthday. Spending time with her was a gift.” Betty White will be remembered, she will be celebrated, and she will be deeply missed.

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