Celebrity reactions poured in after beloved Hollywood star Betty White died on Friday at age 99, weeks away from her 100th birthday.
Comedians old and young remembered the Golden Girls star, having worked alongside her or been inspired by her pioneering comedy.
Comedian Steve Martin remembers a time in 1974 when he bumped into White before doing an opening set at a club in Los Angeles, only to find out she was there to see him, not the main act, Linda Ronstadt.
“I was elated,” he said on Twitter.
I loved Betty White, so I went up to them: “I’m so honored to meet you both.” And then I said, “Isn’t Linda great?” She said, “We came to see you.” I said, “Why?” “Because we heard you were funny.” I was elated.
— Steve Martin (@SteveMartinToGo) December 31, 2021
Comedian Seth Myers recalled that White was the only Saturday Night Live host he ever saw receive a standing ovation at the show’s afterparty.
“A party at which she ordered a vodka and a hotdog and stayed till the bitter end,” he tweeted.
RIP Betty White, the only SNL host I ever saw get a standing ovation at the after party. A party at which she ordered a vodka and a hotdog and stayed til the bitter end.
— Seth Meyers (@sethmeyers) December 31, 2021
White hosted SNL on May 8, 2010, with musical guest Jay-Z. At 88, she was the oldest actress to ever host the show at the time and won an Emmy for her appearance that was demanded by fans.
Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds paid tribute to White in a tweet.
“The world looks different now,” he said. “She was great at defying expectation. She managed to grow very old and somehow, not old enough.”
The world looks different now. 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. pic.twitter.com/uevwerjobS
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) December 31, 2021
Reynolds had been exchanging jokes with White only a day earlier. The two co-starred in the 2009 comedy The Proposal and, over a decade later, White told People magazine that Reynolds still “can’t get over his thing for me.”
“I’m absolutely sick of the media exploiting past relationships just to drive clicks,” Reynolds tweeted, joking in response.
I’m absolutely sick of the media exploiting past relationships just to drive clicks. https://t.co/xV8v2vVvXB
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) December 30, 2021
White’s death even garnered a reaction from U.S. President Joe Biden, who told reporters, “It’s a shame.”
“She was a lovely lady … 99 years old. As my mother would say, ‘God love her.”’
A small but growing memorial at Hollywood’s Walk of Fame has begun to form at White’s star, eye witnesses tweeted.
— Kate Lý Johnston (@simplykately) January 1, 2022
Over her nine decades in show businesses, White had come into contact with many of Hollywood’s greats, including comedy legend Mel Brooks.
Brooks lamented the world’s loss in a tweet.
“Too bad we couldn’t get another ten years of her always warm, gracious, and witty personality,” he said. “She was one of a kind!”
Sad news. No more Betty White. Too bad we couldn’t get another ten years of her always warm, gracious, and witty personality. She was one of a kind!
— Mel Brooks (@MelBrooks) December 31, 2021
White influenced many in the entertainment business, especially women.
Comedian Kathy Griffin remembered how supportive White was when she met her.
“She treated me like we were in the same club or something,” she tweeted. “She actually treated me like an equal in the comedy gurrrl world … there will only be one Betty White.”
7) …and no matter how long this world continues to spin, there will be only one Betty White.
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) December 31, 2021
Writer Nancy Meyers, known for romantic comedies such as the film Something’s Got to Give, said on Instagram that White “changed her life.”
“She was the first person who made me believe I could be a writer,” she wrote. “What an enormous thing to do for another person. I bet there’s hundreds of us who she helped over the years.”
Actress Debra Messing said she grew up watching White and was “delighted by her.”
“She was playful and daring and smart. We all knew this day would come but it doesn’t take away the feeling of loss.”
Betty White. Oh noooooooo. I grew up watching and being delighted by her. She was playful and daring and smart. We all knew this day would come but it doesn’t take away the feeling of loss. A national treasure, indeed. Fly with the Angels. ❤️
— Debra Messing✍🏻 (@DebraMessing) December 31, 2021
Reese Witherspoon is another who was inspired by White, tweeting that she “loved watching her characters that brought so much joy.”
“Thank you, Betty, for making us all laugh!”
So sad to hear about Betty White passing. I loved watching her characters that brought so much joy. Thank you, Betty, for making us all laugh! https://t.co/iOkmHLrW21
— Reese Witherspoon (@ReeseW) December 31, 2021
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