SAN ANTONIO – On Dec. 31, Betty White passed away at the age of 99, just weeks before her 100th birthday, and individuals across Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) came together to commemorate her most iconic moments.

Just a few weeks away from celebrating her 100th birthday on Jan. 17, White passed away from an unexpected stroke. In response, OLLU faculty and students shared their favorite Betty White moments.

The Golden Girls (1985-1992)

What is arguably White’s most infamous role, was actually never intended for her to play. Despite playing Rose in “The Golden Girls”, White was originally intended to play the widow Blanche Devereaux. White played the character Sue Ann Nivens on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” directed by Jay Sandrich, who also directed Golden Girls. The director felt that White’s previous role was too similar to Blanche’s, so he cast her as Rose instead.

“My favorite television show with Betty White would have to be Golden Girls,” said Samantha Benne, OLLU women’s soccer player. “I have so many fond memories watching reruns of it with my mom and laughing along.”

White’s role as Rose touched lives across the nation and several OLLU individuals agree that the show would not have been the same if the roles were cast in their original intentions.

“Golden Girls was the first sitcom I was able to watch with my mother. My favorite character was Rose,” said Teresa King, social media coordinator for the Lake Front News. “Her personality touched people of many different generations, and her legacy will continue on.”

White was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series six times and won once. Additionally, she was nominated for and won an American Comedy Award for Funniest Female Performer in a TV Series (Leading Role) Network, Cable, or Syndication. From 1986-1989, White was nominated for a Golden Globe each year for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical. She also won two TV Land awards and two Viewers for Quality Television Awards.

“She was most successful in Golden Girls because of the dynamic between her and her co-stars,” said Alexandra Huron, OLLU assistant athletic trainer. “They were all within the same age range, had about the same amount of experience, and I’m sure that made it easier to work with.”

Huron said that White’s ability to improvise scenes and carry on as a kind-hearted woman off-screen is what makes her an icon.

The Proposal (2009)

In “The Proposal” (2009), White portrays another one of her most arguably popular roles. The movie focuses on a young man who must marry his boss to keep her in the country and in doing so, brings his new “fiancé” home to meet the family. As Grandma Annie, White puts on a hilarious performance throughout the film.

The fiancé portrayed by Sandra Bullock eventually comes across Grandma Annie in the woods performing a ritual of some sort. In this scene, White delivers perhaps one of her most memorable scenes.

“I felt she was most successful in any comedic roles because she was so good at improvising and being witty on the spot,” said Liliana Briseno, OLLU biology and psychology double major. “My favorite film with Betty White is the proposal when she performs a ritual in the forest. It makes me laugh every time.”

After the film’s release, White was nominated for the MTV Movie Award for Best WTF Moment, the Teen Choice Award for Female Scene Stealer, and won the Teen Choice Awards for Dance, along with Sandra Bullock for their iconic dance ritual scene.

Ponyo (2008)

“Ponyo” (2008) features a goldfish princess who longs to be human, and in the process of escaping the ocean, she spills a collection of magical elixirs that endanger the human village.

Contrary to most of White’s roles, she took on an animated role in the film, “Ponyo” (2008). In the film, White portrays Noriko, the cool aunt.

“Betty White was definitely a known actress amongst Hollywood,” said OLLU psychology major, Yazmine Quirino. “But, out of all her successes, I think the one that really stuck with me was her appearance in Ponyo. As small of a role that she had as Noriko, she played a character that really grasped her age as well as her optimism.”

While White was an actress, she also touched the lives of many through her actions, making her the role model that she is today. While White had no children, she often worked for animal causes, including the American Humane Association, Farm Sanctuary, Helen Woodward Animal Center, Morris Animal Foundation, PAWS/LA, and Petco Foundation. She even once turned down a role in the movie “As Good as It Gets” because of a scene in which a dog was thrown into a garbage chute.

“To me, she was such an icon because of her class and such sweet and giving personality,” said Abigail Garcia, OLLU assistant athletic trainer. “She was such a giving person and genuinely cared for those around her. Not many people in her profession have the second aspect to them, that is why she was so loved by many adoring fans. Her radiance of joy, laughter, and love is extremely missed.”

Garcia said she believed White perfected her craft and played a significant role in anything she did.

Between White’s roles, she was an icon to many. Her death shocked the nation, and several supporters gathered around her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to mourn her loss.

In her lifetime White won five Primetime Emmys and one competitive Daytime Emmy, as well as a lifetime achievement Daytime Emmy in 2015 and a Los Angeles regional Emmy in 1952. White won her final Emmy in 2010 as an outstanding guest actress in a comedy series for hosting the Mother’s Day episode of “S.N.L.” According to the 2014 edition of “Guinness World Records”, her television career spanned seven decades, the longest of any female entertainer. Granted that White has passed, the legacy she leaves behind will continue to impact those in this world.


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