Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of the death of actress Betty White, who died peacefully in her sleep New Year’s Eve morning back in 2021, just three weeks shy of her 100th birthday.
At the time of her passing, fans flooded the internet with tributes and feted the irrepressible and indefatigable star. White’s career spanned seven decades and her last appearance on film came just eleven days before her death. White’s colorful character portrayals in several of television’s most popular sitcoms, including "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "The Golden Girls," wound up making her a household name.
Why certain stars have staying power beyond the grave is a bit of a mystery. The French call it a "je ne sais quoi" – a certain something.
Sure, there was the novelty of White’s old age in the latter part of her career, but people were more drawn to the old-fashioned characteristics and qualities she possessed. And so, while Betty White may be gone, here are five things about her we could use more of in 2023:
There’s a lot we can’t control in life but resolving to see the best in other people and in our own situation is a daily decision.
White’s life wasn’t a continuous one-stop fun shop. She endured her share of loss and disappointment and yet was able to find bright spots along the way.
"It’s your outlook on life that counts," White once said. "If you take yourself lightly and don’t take yourself too seriously, pretty soon you can find the humor in our everyday lives. And sometimes, it can be a lifesaver."
As Rose Nylund on the "Golden Girls," White played the part of an innocent, albeit naïve and happy woman who contended Bob Hope was her birthfather. In real life, White believed strongly in giving people the benefit of the doubt.
"I don't know how people get so anti-something," she reflected. "Just mind your own business, take care of your own affairs, and don't worry about other people so much."
Growing up, I remember my own mother, who was a disciple of Dale Carnegie, stressing how important it was to be good company. Growing up in Los Angeles, Betty’s own parents must have stressed the same thing.
"I just make it my business to get along with people so I can have fun," she wrote. "It’s that simple."
Along with her husband, Allen Ludden, White was known for her love of animals, and especially for rescuing abandoned and neglected creatures. As a young girl, she rescued dozens of stray dogs.
"You can always tell about somebody by the way they put their hands on an animal," she once said.
5. Betty’s Focus Was on Activity Not Age
Maybe it was because White didn’t really make it in Hollywood until after 50, but the late actress let everyone else talk about her age. She just kept working.
She also didn’t follow any particular diet or exercise regimen. In fact, White said her favorite meal was hot dogs and French fries. Nor did she go to a gym.
Betty once quipped that she had a two-story house and a bad memory, so she got lots of exercise going up and down the stairs retrieving things.
"Don’t try to be young," she once shared. "Just open your mind. Stay interested in stuff. There are so many things I won’t live long enough to find out about, but I’m still curious about them."
Embrace these five Betty White habits over the course of the next 12 months and 2023 may just be your best year yet.