Betty White dies at 99

By Fernando Alfonso III and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 6:58 p.m. ET, December 31, 2021
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4:20 p.m. ET, December 31, 2021

President Biden calls Betty White a "cultural icon who will be sorely missed"

From CNN's Betsy Klein

The President reacted to news that actress Betty White has died at 99, just weeks short of her 100th birthday.

"That’s a shame, she was a lovely lady,” Biden told reporters in Wilmington, Delaware. "Ninety-nine years old, my mother would say 'God love her,' incredible.”

First lady Jill Biden added, “Who didn’t love Betty White. We’re so sad about her death.”

In a tweet later in the day, the President said White "brought a smile to the lips of generations of Americans" and described her as “a cultural icon who will be sorely missed.”

See the President's tweet:

4:02 p.m. ET, December 31, 2021

Los Angeles mayor honors Betty White's impact on city and service to zoo

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Betty White "made an enormous impact on the life of our city," adding that the city will be "forever grateful" for her service to the Los Angeles Zoo.

"The City of L.A. will be forever grateful for her years of service to the L.A. Zoo on behalf of the animals in our care and the people who love them," Garcetti said in a series of tweets

"Her career in Hollywood blessed us with warm memories that will always live in our hearts," the mayor added.

White was an animal lover and spokesperson for animal welfare, serving as a trustee of the Morris Animal Foundation for more than 40 years.

See the mayor's tweet:

3:59 p.m. ET, December 31, 2021

Tributes begin to pour in following Betty White's death

Actors, directors, comedians and other members of the entertainment industry are mourning the death of Betty White on social media.

Here's a look at some tributes being shared so far:

Disney's former chief executive and long-time executive chairman Bob Iger

Actress Bridget Moynahan

Filmmaker Kevin Smith

Actor LeVar Burton

Actor Mario Lopez

Actor George Takei

Comedian Kathy Griffin 

Actor Henry Winkler

Journalist Dan Rather

Comedian Seth Myers

Comedian Andy Cohen

4:09 p.m. ET, December 31, 2021

Fans gather around Betty White's Hollywood star


Gregg Donovan was among a group of fans gathered at Betty White's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to pay respect to the late actress Friday afternoon.

Donovan said he was shocked upon hearing the news of her death and brought flowers to place on her star.

"She was a lovely human being and warm and humble. Gregarious, and it is a sad thing," Donovan, the ceremonial ambassador of Hollywood, told CNN. "It is a sad day in Hollywood and around the world."

3:44 p.m. ET, December 31, 2021

Betty White was honored during the 2018 Emmy Awards for her more than 80 years in show business

From CNN's Chloe Melas

Betty White speaks onstage during the 70th Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 17, 2018, in Los Angeles.
Betty White speaks onstage during the 70th Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 17, 2018, in Los Angeles. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Betty White took the stage at the 2018 Emmy Awards to a standing ovation.

White was honored for her more than 80 years in show business, including several decades in television.

“Somebody said something the other day about first lady of television, and I took it as a big compliment,” White said. “Then came the punchline, ‘And then I heard her talking to her daughter a little later, and she said, ‘first lady, she’s that old. She was the first one way back.’”

White, who starred on hit shows like “The Golden Girls” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” was also poignant.

“Little did I dream then, that I would be here and it’s incredible that I’m still in this business and that you are still putting up with me,” White said. “I am thanking you. It’s incredible that you can stay in a career this long and still have people put up with you. I wish they did that at home.”

She got the crowd laughing again with a joke about “Saturday Night Live” creator Lorne Michaels.

“I want to thank Lorne Michaels, not only this tonight but all the wonderful things he has done with me, no for me,” White quipped. “All I can say is it’s such a blessed business to be in and how lucky can be I be and how much I say thank you to each and every one of you.”

3:24 p.m. ET, December 31, 2021

Ryan Reynolds on Betty White: "She was great at defying expectation"

Actor Ryan Reynolds said the "world looks different" following Betty White's passing at age 99.

The actor said in a tweet that White "was great at defying expectation" and "managed to grow very old and somehow, not old enough."

The two starred in the 2009 movie "The Proposal," and ever since, Reynolds had been publicly calling White his "ex-girlfriend."

The iconic actress responded in an interview with People, saying, "I've heard Ryan can't get over his thing for me, but Robert Redford is The One."

Reynolds responded with a tweet, joking, "I'm absolutely sick of the media exploiting past relationships just to drive clicks."

Reynolds is set to appear in a special movie event next month honoring what would have been White's 100th birthday

See Reynolds' tweet:

CNN's Marianne Garvey contributed reporting to this post. 

3:15 p.m. ET, December 31, 2021

Betty White shared her secrets to happiness ahead of turning 100

From CNN's Chloe Melas

Betty White, a national treasure, was weeks away from celebrating her 100th birthday.

The award-winning actress spoke to People Magazine ahead of the milestone, saying, "I'm so lucky to be in such good health and feel so good at this age. It's amazing," White said.

White revealed a secret to her longevity, joking that she tries "to avoid anything green" in her diet.

"I think it's working," she quipped.

White has starred in series like "The Golden Girls" and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" over the years and says she now lives a quieter life, playing crossword puzzles and card games, according to the magazine. She also loves to watch wildlife documentaries, "Jeopardy!" and golf.

But the key to her happiness, the actress and philanthropist said, is that she works to "always find the positive" in her life.

"I got it from my mom, and that never changed," she said.

3:09 p.m. ET, December 31, 2021

Actor Marlon Wayans says he thought White would "live forever"

Actor Marlon Wayans joined in a chorus of praise for the late Betty White, calling the actress "an inspiration of how to live this damn life."

Wayans shared his thoughts about the late "Golden Girls" star on Facebook Friday afternoon.

Read his post:

3:18 p.m. ET, December 31, 2021

Ellen DeGeneres: "I'm grateful for every second I got to spend with Betty White"

Ellen DeGeneres, left, and Betty White speak onstage at The People's Choice Awards at Nokia Theatre LA Live on January 7, 2015, in Los Angeles.
Ellen DeGeneres, left, and Betty White speak onstage at The People's Choice Awards at Nokia Theatre LA Live on January 7, 2015, in Los Angeles. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Fellow comedian Ellen DeGeneres honored Betty White in a tweet, saying she is "grateful for every second" she got to spend with the former "Golden Girls" actress.

White appeared multiple times on DeGeneres' show.

See her tweet: