If she hadn’t left this world on New Year’s Eve, Betty White had big plans for her big 1-0-0 on January 17.
First, she would’ve had lunch with her heartthrob, Robert Redford, she joked to Parade. And then, not at all surprisingly, she would “spend it with as many animals as I can round up.”
When she turned 99 last year, White told PEOPLE that what kept her going was her sense of humor. “Don’t take yourself too seriously,” she said. “You can lie to others — not that I would — but you cannot lie to yourself.” According to other sources, White enjoyed a diet consisting pretty much of vodka and naked hot dogs (just a weiner and bun, no condiments). Gotta love that Betty!
Unlike her 93rd birthday celebration, when she was entertained by a flash mob, White had to spend her final birthday on Earth in quarantine last year. “Running a mile each morning has been curtailed by COVID,” she told Entertainment Tonight. She also said she would be “feeding the two ducks who come to visit me every day.” (Lucky ducks.)
To honor White’s memory, the #BettyWhiteChallenge is asking everyone to donate $5 or more to an animal rescue or shelter. How she would have loved this idea!
There are well over 100 reasons to love Betty White and her positivity. Due to space limitations, here are just five of them.
5. Through the Morris Foundation, which she’d been involved with for more than 40 years, White sponsored animal health studies that resulted in major breakthroughs in animal pain management; information on genetic mutations that cause bone cancer in dogs; and using ultrasound to manage canine congestive heart failure.
4. To promote her “Off Their Rockers” show on NBC in 2013, White rode a wrecking ball in a parody of the Miley Cyrus video. Can’t wait to see Cyrus try this when she’s 92!
3. After losing her dog Kita to canine cancer, White promoted a fundraising 2011 photo contest to help eradicate this disease. More than $500,000 was raised for the Canine Cancer Campaign, for which she was the spokeswoman.
2. White was the oldest guest host ever of “Saturday Night Live” — and she got the May 2010 gig thanks to a Facebook campaign supported by more than 500,000 fans.
1. White was an animal lover and advocate for nearly 10 decades. Ten decades. “My parents (who took in stray animals) were in the animal business, and I’ve been loving animals and appreciating what they have to teach us my entire life,” she told Steve Dale’s Pet World in 2013. “The consciousness about animals has risen. They’re a part of our families.”
On New Year’s Day, the hashtag #BeLikeBetty went viral on social media. If everyone made this their New Year’s resolution, imagine what a better place this world would be.
Rest in peace, lovely lady.
PHOTO: Betty at the 1988 Emmy Awards. Alan Light/Wikimedia