Betty White died at the age of 99 on Friday, Dec. 31, mere weeks before she would’ve turned 100.

Ahead of the milestone birthday on Jan. 17, she spoke to People magazine in an interview, published Dec. 28, about her storied life, sharing the biggest piece of advice to anyone wanting to live as long as she has: “I try to avoid anything green. I think it’s working.”

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Of course, the Golden Girls star was only kidding, but her ability to joke about the topic is a part of her approach to life. Betty told the magazine that “having a sense of humour” has helped her in her 99 years on this earth, saying that she’s found happiness by “looking at the positive side and not dwelling on the downside.”

As she put it, “I always find the positive,” later adding, “[it] takes up too much energy being negative.”


Other than that, Betty said that she’d advise people, “Don’t take yourself too seriously. You can lie to others—not that I would—but you cannot lie to yourself.”

Her sunny disposition served her well in the years before her death. Betty told the outlet that she was “blessed,” adding, “I’m so lucky to be in such good health and feel so good at this age.”

No one loves fun more than White. Born in 1922, in Oak Park, Illinois, she first dreamt of becoming a forest ranger, but women weren’t allowed to be rangers at the time. (The U.S. Forest Service made her an honorary forest ranger at age 88.)

The Forest Service’s loss was Hollywood’s gain. White went on to find work in radio and television, launching a career that has spanned over eight decades and counting. She has won multiple Emmys and starred in some of TV’s most memorable roles — including her turns as the Happy Homemaker Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and sweet Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls — and her countless charming talk show and game show appearances.

Along the way, she became an example of how to live well and live long — and a national treasure to boot.

“I am blessed with good health,” she notes simply, “so turning 99 is no different than turning 98.”

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Betty’s The Proposal co-star Ryan Reynolds is one of the many actors who have spoken out in the wake of her death. He wrote in a tribute, “The world looks different now. She was great at defying expectations. She managed to grow very old and somehow, not old enough. We’ll miss you, Betty. Now you know the secret.”

The day before Betty died in her Beverly Hills home, she and Ryan enjoyed a funny exchange. In her interview with People, she joked that “Ryan can’t get over his thing for me,” to which the Deadpool star joked, “I’m absolutely sick of the media exploiting past relationships just to drive clicks.”

Betty White

Betty’s one true love was really her late husband Allen Ludden, who died from stomach cancer in 1981. Her assistant, Kiersten Mikelas, shared with People that Betty kept a picture of Allen by her bed and “blows him a kiss every morning.”

Mikulas added, “At night when she opens the shutters, she blows a kiss to him up in the sky. He is on her mind constantly.” 

In her agent Jess Witjas‘ statement confirming her death, he said in part, “I don’t think Betty ever feared passing because she always wanted to be with her most beloved husband Allen Ludden. She believed she would be with him again.”

Goodbye Betty, You will forever be missed.

Published on HOLR Magazine.

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