The American TV icon and comic actress has passed away, according to numerous reports.
The trailblazing actress is believed to have died of natural causes at the age of 99, according to a source.
According to TMZ emergency responders, including police, showed up at her home on Friday morning for a standard check as White has rarely left her home since the beginning of the pandemic. Law enforcement sources says the beloved actress passed away at 9.30am PT New Year’s Eve.
“Even though Betty was about to be 100, I thought she would live forever,” White’s agent and close friend Jeff Witjas told People magazine in a statement.
White won everyone’s hearts with her rare combination of optimism and sass. As LGBTQ people, our hearts were hers arguably when she appeared as Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls. “Gays love old ladies,” she once said. Just being a part of that ensemble gives a thespian lifetime queer cred! But there are myriad other reasons White is possibly the longest-serving LGBTQ ally in the history of allyship.
- In 2010 she told Parade magazine: “I don’t care who anybody sleeps with. 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. 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.”
- In 2011 she told Frontiers magazine she tried to guess why she was a favorite with the gays: “Throughout my career, I’ve always portrayed characters that were humorous, but also weren’t afraid to speak their minds, especially when it came to racy or controversial topics… I think this struck a chord with the LGBT community. We both also share a very strong love for animals. When you combine the two, it’s a very strong match.”
- In 2013 she took part in a promotional video for Spirit Day, GLAAD’s anti-bullying initiative that asks people to wear purple to show support for LGBT youth.
- In 2014 she defended the gay community to Larry King when she said she didn’t understand why people had a problem with gay people.
- Her step-daughter, Sarah Ludden, with whom she is reportedly close, is a lesbian.
- Always upbeat and modest, when asked what she thought of being a gay icon, White told The Huffington Post in June 2012:
“Oh! I didn’t know I was a gay icon. I get a lot of mail — but I don’t get many bad letters — but I got a woman the other day that was so upset with me because they said, ‘How do you feel about the gay marriage thing?’ and my answer to that is, ‘I really don’t care with whom you sleep, I just care what kind of a decent human being you are.’ I figure all the rest of it is your business and not mine. And not hers, incidentally.”