Actress Betty White in a pink and rose colored outfit against a pink backdrop in the 1970s

Actress and activist Betty White as Sue Ann Nivens, in a 1974 publicity portrait for the CBS comedy The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

Despite all of the turmoil going on in the world, there's one thing we can all agree on: Betty White was simply the best.

By Jim Colucci

New Year's Eve always marks a shift in time, often bittersweet. But for the television industry in particular, this past December 31 marked the end of an era, with the passing of one of the medium’s pioneers and longest-working stars, Betty White.

White’s fans around the world took to social media, not just to mourn, but to revel in the actress’s incredible 80-year career that lasted right up until her death, 17 days short of her 100th birthday. “The world looks different now,” Ryan Reynolds, White’s co-star in the 2009 film The Proposal, tweeted upon hearing the news. “She managed to grow very old and somehow, not old enough.”

Despite the icon’s advancing age, no one could ever envision a world without her—because actually almost no one alive can remember a time before Betty White. She was perhaps America’s most famous senior citizen, but ironically she predated the Social Security program by more than 13 years. And for the TV industry, White was there from the beginning, present and in focus when
they turned on the first, experimental TV cameras in Los Angeles in 1939.

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