Forever Golden: Relive Betty White’s Life and Legacy of Laughter

Betty White knew exactly how she wanted to be remembered.

“Warmly,” she told Parade in 2018. “I hope they remember something funny. I hope they remember a laugh.”

For the TV legend, who passed away Dec. 31 at the age of 99—just weeks shy of her 100th birthday Jan. 17—it was always about the laughter. With a pioneering career that spanned more than 80 years (the longest of any small screen entertainer) she was perhaps the steadiest provider of that particular panacea the industry has ever known. And so, with three iconic roles serving as tentpoles of a stacked resume, all brought to life by a personality more beloved than any of them, White had cemented her legacy long before she left us.

It’s there in the steady syndication of The Golden Girlsshe played to perfection the naïve Rose Nylund—nearly 30 years after the series went off the air. It’s there in the memory of her, at 88, becoming the oldest person to ever host Saturday Night Live thanks to a Facebook campaign backed by nearly 500,000 fans.