Betty White’s death impacts Westminster community


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(Photo by Vincent Sandoval/WireImage)

Betty White passed away on Dec. 31, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. During her life as an actress and comedy icon, she made her mark with a variety of work within the entertainment industry, was one of the first women to work both behind and in front of the camera, and had a career lasting over eight decades. Many in the Westminster community feel the impact of her death, which came just a couple of weeks before her 100th birthday.

“I was mostly just shocked when I found out [White] had passed away. I had always loved how she was just constantly accepting of people no matter what,” said ninth grader Anne Cox.

White’s start to her accomplished career began at the age of 17. She first booked gigs doing radio work, but eventually she starred in a few shows, including Life with Elizabeth in which White played a married woman whose various predicaments test the patience of her husband. Furthermore, she proceeded to branch out and continue her career by becoming a frequent guest on television game shows, such as To Tell the Truth, What’s My Line? and Password

“I remember her best for her roles on game shows such as Password,” said Upper School Bible teacher George Berry.

White then began appearing on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, a sitcom set in a television newsroom, for which she received three Emmy Award nominations, winning in 1975 and 1976. 

“Watching that show was a weekly event for my family for several years,” said Berry. “All of the actors and actresses, including Betty White, were just so good at what they did. You laughed a lot during those thirty minutes.” 

After the series ended, she maintained her fame by starring in the Betty White Show. At the age of 63, she starred in The Golden Girls. In The Golden Girls, White played an innocent, naive lady who lives with a group of older women. This humorous and memorable show won White seven Emmy nominations, and she won in 1986. In 1996, she won another Emmy for her guest appearance on The John Larroquette Show

“She grew with the times,” said Upper School chorus teacher Chris Walters. “She was always full of energy, and always seemed ‘with it’ and relevant.” 

According to those in the industry who worked alongside her, such public perceptions of White were true to her personality. 

“Most actors on television are playing a role,” said White’s friend and agent Jeff Witjas. “Betty White is what she has shown to her public. … She was really genuine in that way.”

True to that, even at the age of 88, White appeared in a humorous Super Bowl commercial and hosted SNL. At that age, White also acted in the romantic comedies The Proposal and You Again, and in 2019 she voiced the character Betty White, a teething toy, in the animated feature Toy Story 4.

“One of my favorite comfort movies is The Proposal,” said Walters. “It’s a great flick to put on for a weekend afternoon nap, if that makes sense! Betty White played the wacky, crunchy grandmother – and she is fabulous in it.”

“Everybody needs a passion. That’s what keeps life interesting. If you live without passion, you can go through life without leaving any footprints,” said White.