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Betty White recalled as a trailblazer with a love for life


Ryan Reynolds and Betty White on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” in 2010.

By Vimal Patel


Television stars, comedians, a president and seemingly the entire internet paid tribute late last week to Betty White, the actress whose trailblazing career spanned seven decades and who died Friday at her home in Los Angeles.


President Joe Biden said that White had “brought a smile to the lips of generations of Americans.”


“She’s a cultural icon who will be sorely missed,” he wrote on Twitter. “Jill and I are thinking of her family and all those who loved her this New Year’s Eve.”


Actor Ryan Reynolds, who co-starred with White in “The Proposal,” a 2009 romantic comedy, wrote on Instagram that “the world looks a little different now.”


He said White had excelled at defying expectations.


“She managed to grow very old and somehow, not old enough,” Reynolds wrote. “We’ll miss you, Betty. Now you know the secret.”


Seth Meyers wrote on Twitter: “RIP Betty White, the only SNL host I ever saw get a standing ovation at the after party. A party at which she ordered a vodka and a hotdog and stayed til the bitter end.”


Many paid tribute to White as a performer who had been ahead of her times, championing equity causes before they became popular.


In 1954, White was criticized for having Arthur Duncan, a Black tap dancer, on her variety show, the account for the Martin Luther King Jr. Center wrote.


“Her response: ‘I’m sorry. Live with it,’” the center wrote. “She then gave Duncan even more airtime. The show was canceled soon after. Rest well, Betty.”


Actress Lynda Carter wrote on Twitter: “I met Betty White several times over the years, in many green rooms. She was a vanguard who paved the way for women in TV. Now we say goodbye to her irrepressible presence, and like millions of others, I will miss her. Thank you for all the joy and laughter, Betty.”


Journalist Dan Rather wrote that White had been beloved because she “embraced a life well lived.”


“Her smile,” he wrote. “Her sense of humor. Her basic decency. Our world would be better if more followed her example. It is diminished with her passing.”


Comedian Bob Saget called White “a remarkable talent” who was witty, kind, funny and “full of love,” especially for her husband.


“She always said the love of her life was her husband, Allen Ludden,” who died in 1981, Saget wrote on Facebook. “Well, if things work out by Betty’s design — in the afterlife, they are reunited. I don’t know what happens when we die, but if Betty says you get to be with the love of your life, then I happily defer to Betty on this.”


Paula Poundstone shared a different insight on Twitter: “You know what’s really great? We told Betty White that we loved her while she was still alive.”


Mel Brooks, the actor and filmmaker, wrote on Twitter that it was “too bad we couldn’t get another ten years of her always warm, gracious, and witty personality.”


Actor George Takei described White as a “national treasure,” adding, “A great loss to us all.”


“Our Sue Ann Nivens, our beloved Rose Nylund, has joined the heavens to delight the stars with her inimitable style, humor and charm,” Takei wrote, referring to White’s roles on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “The Golden Girls.”


He added in another tweet, “When midnight strikes tonight, let us all raise a toast to Betty.”

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