'Cultural icon': Joe Biden leads tributes to Golden Girls actress Betty White

31 December 2021, 22:02

Joe Biden has paid tribute to Betty White.
Joe Biden has paid tribute to Betty White. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

US President Joe Biden has led a collection of touching tributes to Golden Girls comedy star Betty White.

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The award-winning actress, best known for starring as Rose in the 1980s sitcom, died less than a month before her 100th birthday.

She had appeared in several hit sitcoms including Hot In Cleveland, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Betty White Show and Life With Elizabeth, as part of a career spanning more than 80 years.

In a tweet Mr Biden said: "Betty White brought a smile to the lips of generations of Americans.

"She’s a cultural icon who will be sorely missed.

"Jill and I are thinking of her family and all those who loved her this New Year’s Eve."

He told reporters that she was a "lovely lady", with First Lady Jill Biden adding: "Who didn't love Betty White? We're so sad."

Read more: Legendary actress Betty White dies just weeks before her 100th birthday

Betty White was in The Golden Girls.
Betty White was in The Golden Girls. Picture: Alamy

Hollywood star Ryan Reynolds – who played White’s grandson in 2009 rom-com The Proposal – said: "She was great at defying expectation.

"She managed to grow very old and somehow, not old enough.

"We'll miss you, Betty. Now you know the secret."

Meanwhile, comedian and actress Kathy Griffin recalled fond memories with the 99-year-old, revealing the first time they met was when the actress made an appearance on the sitcom Suddenly Susan in the late 1990s.

She added: "She treated me like we were in the same club or something.

"She actually treated me like an equal in the comedy gurrrl world.

"She was as sharp and funny as she was soft and wise and no matter how long this world continues to spin, there will be only one Betty White."

The star worked alongside Ryan Reynolds in The Proposal.
The star worked alongside Ryan Reynolds in The Proposal. Picture: Entertainment Pictures/Alamy

Legally Blonde star Reese Witherspoon praised White for "making us all laugh", adding: "I loved watching her characters that brought so much joy."

Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres said the actress had led an "exceptional life" and that she was "grateful for every second" she got to spend with her.

Singer Nancy Sinatra revealed that she could not stop crying after the news of White's death.

She added: "Godspeed, Betty White, you will be remembered and treasured forever."