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Betty White Was Proud 'To Be In Such Good Health' before Her 100th Birthday — Unpacking Her Last Interview

Oyin Balogun
May 02, 2022
08:20 P.M.
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The Late iconic American actress Betty White died a few days before her 100th birthday but not without leaving a lasting legacy exemplified by her last interview. Find out what she said. 

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If the word "icon" were to be ascribed to a person, one who fits that label was the incredible and ever-young Betty White. 

The late beloved actress enjoyed a successful television career that spanned over seven decades and was noted for her vast and impressive work in the entertainment industry. She was also a wonderful human being known for kindness and loveliness.

Betty White speaks onstage during the 70th Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles, California on September 17, 2018. | Source: Getty Images

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White lived for many years and was only 17 days to her 100th birthday when she said goodbye. However, she granted one final interview and recorded a farewell video in her last month on earth. 

If anyone had doubts about White's greatness as an actress, her last interview showed she deserved all the accolades that came her way.

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In a 2014 interview with White, the late Larry King described the actress as one of American history's most celebrated and beloved entertainers.  He added:

"With over 70 years in the business and seven Emmy Awards, Betty shows no signs of stopping."

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King went on to reel out the television shows White was still actively involved in then. Finally, the iconic broadcaster noted that White had just turned 92 and asked her how she celebrated her birthday. White replied:

"Well, I'm not a big party girl so I kind of tried to keep it as quiet as I could. So, I went out to dinner with some close friends."

White added that on the actual birthday, she and her Golden Retriever sat home and had a couple of vodkas and had a wonderful time. 

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King asked the actress if her golden retriever also had vodka, and she replied in the affirmative. However, when he asked if the dog drank, White said the dog doesn't drink but always met her at the door when she returned and led her to the ice machine.

King then recalled White's 90th birthday, where a special was held in her honor that she could not attend. However, she was at home watching. 

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White explained that she had a flu and was in the hospital but saw the special afterward. She thanked the organizers and prayed for them. White's last birthdays were incredibly wonderful.

Many looked forward to her 100th birthday, which would have been a wonderful celebration. Actress Sandra Bullock looked ahead to the day by saying she hoped White embraced it the same way she celebrated every day of her life with humor, kindness, and vodka on ice.

During the interview with King, White also spoke about her love for animals. King revealed the actress flew to the Reid Park Zoo in Tucson, Arizona, to meet three baby lion cubs and an elephant. 

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White called the animals her babies and said she went there to meet them. She admitted she had worked with the Los Angeles Zoo for over 50 years.

She revealed that her attraction for animals started from the womb because she found them fascinating. White said the more one learns about animals, the more fascinating they become. 

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When King asked White if there was any animal she was afraid to go near, she answered, implying that she had no fear for animals but human beings. She replied:

"No, none, none. Oh it may be the two-legged one that's the only one that I have a little problem with."

Later in the interview, King invited a dog, Biscuit, to come and meet White. Naturally, she was excited to meet the lovely furry animal, who did not lick or bark. 

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White immediately warmed up to Biscuit and carried him in her hands as she continued the interview. What an amazingly sweet woman she was!

During the interview, White also discussed a typical day in her life. She said she got up in the morning with a golden retriever at about 6.30 AM. Afterward, she would get a shower, go down, and start the day. She also attended to the mail and read the papers. 

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She confessed she would not eat breakfast if not for her wonderful housekeeper, who always put something in front of her. White had no choice but to eat whatever food it was to avoid being rude to the housekeeper. 

When asked how she spaced out time for her busy schedule, White said things always work out well when one loves what they are doing. 

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In an interview with Yahoo's Katie Couric on her 95th birthday, White also opened up about her typical day, saying she got up early and played with her dog, who usually let her know when it was 6.30 AM. She also opened up about her love for crossword puzzles, saying:

"Crossword puzzles. Oh, I'm addicted."

WHITE APPRECIATED HER GOOD HEALTH

Betty White on November 22, 2005 in New York City | Source: Getty Images

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While speaking to King, White shared her thoughts about her health and condition. Then, King asked her how she kept her energy, and she replied

"I don't do anything. I'm just the luckiest old broad in the world I have the good health that I have."

A curious King also asked White if she took vitamins and noted that she had never lost an inch of brainpower. However, White said that was easy for King to say and admitted that she had lost something. 

Betty White visits Fuse's "No. 1 Countdown" at fuse Studios on June 11, 2009 in New York City | Source: Getty Images

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King asked her what she had lost, and she replied that she had lost her intelligence or what she used to call her intelligence. However, King asked her if she had memory loss, and she said she hadn't. He then asked her what she had lost, and she replied:

"It's not so much lost - It's dropped."  

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White always celebrated her good health when she was alive. Her last interview before her death was with People. During the interview, she expressed her feelings about turning 100 years old, saying

"I'm so lucky to be in such good health and feel so good at this age. It's amazing."

She admitted that being "born a cockeyed optimist" was the key to her upbeat nature. White added that she got the trait from her mom, and it never changed as she always found the positive. 

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In the chat with Couric on her 95th birthday, White agreed that it was a big birthday and confessed that she could not believe it. She added

"I'm so blessed with good health and faculty. I mean, you know I've got memories and all that…you can't really expect that at 95."  

WHITE'S THOUGHTS ABOUT DEATH

Betty White on March 17, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | Source: Getty Images

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White never feared death and looked forward to experiencing it, a fact made known during her interviews. While chatting with King, she was asked if she feared leaving the world. 

White said she had no such fears and admitted she was looking forward to it. She also said she was so curious about it before adding what her mother taught her, saying

"We know the answers to everything or we can find out the answers, but the one thing we can't find out is what happens that moment."

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The beloved actress further emphasized she was waiting for death by saying, "I just find it fascinating. I'm curious." White also noted that the older she got, the more curious she got about death. When King asked her what if nothing happened after death, she answered

"What if it's nothing? I won't know that. It's a win-win situation." 

Also, in the interview with King, White dropped a memorable quote, saying, "If you don't think of death as an enemy, if you think of death as another adventure coming up - it doesn't hurt as much."

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When asked what role she wanted to be remembered for, White mentioned "Life With Elizabeth" and "Golden Girls." King also said, "I'm Mary Tyler Moore," and the legendary actress described herself as a lucky person to have so many great series. 

While chatting with Couric, White was asked what advice she would give people to live a long, happy, productive, and meaningful life. White said people should keep busy and not focus everything on themselves, which worked out pretty fast. She added

"It's not hard to find things you're interested in but enjoy them and indulge them, and I think that keeps you on your toes.   

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WHITE'S FRIENDS WERE IN AWE OF HER

Betty White attends the The 41st Annual People's Choice Awards at Nokia Theatre LA Live on January 7, 2015 in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images

White was such a brilliant and wonderful personality, so it was unsurprising that many people had good things to say about her. A few weeks before her death, People ran a special interview with her, which turned out to be her last. It featured the legendary actress and her friends, who spoke glowingly about her. 

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Carol Burnett revealed White usually came to her show and made their sketches funnier, among other acts. Burnett added that White was neither a stand-up comedian nor a jokester but had a way of twisting lines to get a laugh. 

The special interview featured White's "The Proposal" castmates, Ryan Reynolds, Sandra Bullock, and Mary Steenburgen. Reynolds admitted to being a White fan for a long time. However, he said he heard the scripts for "Golden Girls" were only 35 pages, which made sense because many of the laughs came from Betty simply staring at her castmates.  

Betty White pictured at the premiere of Universal Pictures Dr. Seuss' The Lorax" at Citywalk'. 2012, California | Source: Getty Images.

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Steenburgen also said White put out so much light into the world but loved to throw her little "F-bombs" around and did it with a beautiful dimpled smile. 

Steenburgen's husband, Ted Danson, who worked with White to support ocean conservation, said he took lessons from her on how to live. Danson said:

"It's not like she's just a bubbly, joyful person. She wakes up every day and chooses to be that way. I think she leads a very purposeful life."

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White's longtime friend and agent, Jeff Witjas, said she lived a life of happiness and always thought of others first. He added that she stayed positive no matter the situation. 

If words were enough to keep one alive, White would still be on earth. However, she died on December 31, 2021, aged 99. Witjas confirmed White's death, saying:

"Even though Betty was about to be 100, I thought she would live forever. I will miss her terribly and so will the animal world she loved so much."

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Witjas added that he did not think White ever feared dying because she always wanted to be with her most beloved husband, Allen Ludden, and believed she would be with him again. According to Witjas, White died peacefully in her sleep at her home. 

White's words on her 95th birthday came to mind. She said everyone had been so wonderfully kind to her through the years and added, "I love you."

Following White's passing, a video was posted on her Instagram page showing she thanked everyone for their love and support over the years. She would always be remembered as a great star and shining light to the world and generations to come. 

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