Betty White’s agent and close friend Jeff Witjas said he often reminded the late Hollywood icon that she was deeply loved.
In an exclusive interview with People published on Monday (2 January) Witjas said the actor was grateful for the kindness she received from her fans, but he was “unsure” she realised the extent of their adoration.
The Golden Girls actor died “peacefully in her sleep” on New Year’s eve. White would have turned 100 on 17 January this year.
On the subject of White’s incredible fan following and her global presence, Witjas told the publication: “Even when she wasn’t working, I said, ‘Betty, millions of people out there are still asking for you. You’re getting your fan letters, I’m getting offers for you.’”
The star of tv shows like The Mandy Tyler Moore Show and Hot in Cleveland, White’s last film roles were in 2019 when she voiced the characters of Bitey White in Toy Story and Sarah Vanderwhoozie in Trouble.
Witjas continued: “I would always reinforce it with her because I always felt she should know that. I never wanted her to think while she was sitting at home, that the world has passed her by. It never did.”
White’s death was first confirmed by Witjas.
On Friday, he said: “Even though Betty was about to be 100, I thought she would live forever.”
Following news of White’s death, industry friends and fans celebrated the comedy icon’s legacy with heartfelt tributes on social media.
Ryan Reynolds, who co-starred with White in 2009 film The Proposal, tweeted: “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.”
A day before White’s death, Reynolds responded to a joke she made about him.
In a recent interview, White had teased Reynolds about his long-standing crush on her.
On 30 December, Reynolds had joke-responded to the comment on Twitter, writing: “I’m absolutely sick of the media exploiting past relationships just to drive clicks.”
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A special documentary titled Betty White: 100 Years Young — A Birthday Celebration was scheduled for release on White’s birthday in two weeks.
The film’s makers have reportedly said the documentary will be released on 17 January as planned.