Betty White dies just weeks from 100th birthday

Betty White would have turned 100 on Jan. 17, 2022

(Amanda Edwards/Wireimage)

The country’s most famous and favorite near-centenarian died Friday — just weeks before her 100th birthday.

Probably best known for her role as Rose Nylund in “The Golden Girls,” White has been a staple on TV and in films since 1940.

White joins a long list of celebrities who died in 2021.

The San Antonio Zoo took to social media Friday afternoon thanking White for her legacy and her contributions to zoo and wildlife conservation efforts.

“Zoos and wildlife around the world lost a hero today. Betty White understood and supported the efforts of zoos to educate the world as well as the work accredited zoos do to conserve wildlife across the globe,” said Tim Morrow, president & CEO of the San Antonio Zoo. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and Los Angeles Zoo.”

Watch a video about Betty White’s life:

Click here to read more about Betty White’s legacy.

Here’s a look at some of the highlights of the life of the Emmy-award winning actress and icon:


Birth date: January 17, 1922

Birth place: Oak Park, Illinois

Birth name: Betty Marion White

Father: Horace White, electrical engineer

Mother: Tess White

Marriages: Allen Ludden (June 14, 1963-June 9, 1981, his death); Lane Allen (1947-1949, divorced); Dick Barker (1945, divorced)

Children: Three stepchildren with Allen Ludden: David, Martha and Sarah

Other Facts

Nominated for 21 Primetime Emmy awards and won five.

Nominated for one Grammy Award and won one.

Was offered the role of Blanche Devereaux on "The Golden Girls," but accepted the role of Rose Nyland instead.

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.


1940s - Has roles on several popular radio shows, including "Rin-Tin-Tin," "This is Your FBI" and "The Great Gildersleeve."

1949 - Lands her first role on television on "Hollywood on Television," a live daily show.

1975 - Wins Emmy Award for Outstanding Continuing Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."

1976 - Wins Emmy Award for Outstanding Continuing Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."

1985-1992 - Plays Rose Nyland on "The Golden Girls."

1986 - Wins Emmy for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series for "The Golden Girls."

1995 - Is inducted into the Television Hall of Fame.

1996 - Wins Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for "The John Larroquette Show."

January 23, 2010 - Is presented with the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award.

May 8, 2010 - Hosts "Saturday Night Live."

August 21, 2010 - Wins a Creative Arts Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series, for her guest host spot on "Saturday Night Live."

2010-2015 - Plays Elka Ostrovosky on "Hot in Cleveland."

February 12, 2012 - Wins Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album (Includes Poetry, Audio Books & Story Telling) for "If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won't)."

December 2013 - Earns the Guinness World Record for Longest TV Career for a female entertainer (74 years).

April 26, 2015 - Receives a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 42nd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards.

September 17, 2018 - Is honored at the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards for her more than 80 years in show business.

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About the Authors:

Julie Moreno has worked in local television news for more than 20 years. She came to KSAT as a news producer in 2000. After producing thousands of newscasts, she transitioned to the digital team in 2015. She writes on a wide variety of topics from breaking news to trending stories and manages KSAT’s daily digital content strategy.