I am not into ‘celebrities’ and following the private lives of actors, musicians, athletes and the like. But yesterday, the death of one celebrity brought me to tears. That celebrity was, of course, Betty White who died on Friday just 18 days short of celebrating her 100th birthday.
Ms. White, in the words of former First Lady Michelle Obama …
“… broke barriers, defied expectations, served her country, and pushed us all to laugh. Barack and I join so many around the world who will miss the joy she brought to the world.”
She had a long career, playing in so many different television shows that I cannot count them all, but throughout her career she has cared about people and issues. Take, for example, her first televised variety show where, in 1954, as the host and producer, she defied racist demands to get rid of a scheduled guest, Arthur Duncan, because he was Black. Duncan, at 21, had been performing in a dance quartet for years and was looking for his big break. Betty White gave it to him, and to the naysayers she simply said, “Live with it.”
A funny story in my own family about Betty White … one day my granddaughter, who was then about 4 or 5 years old, saw Betty White on television and excitedly declared, “Grannie … there’s the Queen of England!!!” Needless to say, this became a family joke that is still laughed about today, and I imagine Betty would have taken some pleasure from the mix-up had she known.
R.I.P. Betty White … you gave so much to us and you will be missed.