Veteran US actress Betty White dies aged 99

    The award-winning actress, best known for starring as Rose in 1980s sitcom The Golden Girls, died less than a month before her 100th birthday.

    White was born in Illinois on January 17 1922 and had a television career spanning more than 80 years.

    She appeared in hit US sitcoms including Hot In Cleveland, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Betty White Show and Life With Elizabeth.

    The screen veteran was named the female entertainer with the longest television career by Guinness World Records having started out in 1939.

    She has also written several books and has won five Primetime Emmy Awards out of 21 nominations, and a handful of other top accolades.

    In a recent interview with People magazine, White said she felt “lucky” to be approaching her landmark 100th birthday.

    She said she had been “born a cockeyed optimist” was able to “always find the positive.”

    Over the years White garnered friendships with many well-known celebrities including US entertainer Liberace, actress Lucille Ball and Of Mice and Men novelist John Steinbeck.

    Tributes were paid to White on Friday evening.

    President Joe Biden paid tribute White as he spoke to reporters after enjoying a New Year’s Eve lunch with first lady Jill in Wilmington, Delaware.

    “That’s a shame. She was a lovely lady. … 99 years old. As my mother would say, ‘God love her.’”

    American actress Reese Witherspoon has praised the late Betty White for “making us all laugh”.

    Biden also tweeted about White’s death, describing her as a “cultural icon.”

    “Betty White brought a smile to the lips of generations of Americans,” he tweeted.

    “She’s a cultural icon who will be sorely missed.

    “Jill and I are thinking of her family and all those who loved her this New Year’s Eve.”

    The Legally Blonde star reshared an announcement by Vanity Fair magazine on Twitter and wrote: “So sad to hear about Betty White passing.

    “I loved watching her characters that brought so much joy.

    “Thank you, Betty, for making us all laugh!”

    American actress Lisa Ann Walter tweeted: “#Betty White had made me laugh for 50 years.

    “She was a master class in the art of line delivery – especially the caustic cut served with dimples.

    “More than that – she is an inspiration for funny women working well past our Hollywood expiration date. #RIPBettyWhite”

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