LOS ANGELES — Betty White, the beloved actress and comedian whose career spanned decades in radio, film and television, has died at the age of 99.
"Even though Betty was about to be 100, I thought she would live forever," her agent and friend Jeff Witjas told People in a statement Friday, Dec. 31.
The beloved Hollywood icon was born Jan. 17, 1922, in Oak Park, Ill. Her career in television began at an early age, just three months after graduating high school, when she and a former classmate sang songs on a Los Angeles TV channel.
In 1949, White co-hosted "Hollywood on Television" on KLAC-TV in Los Angeles. The show was very simple: White and her co-host would ad-lib on camera for 5 1/2 hours a day, six days a week.
Eventually, White hosted the show solo for a short time. It’s believed that made her television's first solo female talk show host.
White went on to have her own series, "Life with Elizabeth" from 1953-1955. She also appeared in the short-lived series "Date with the Angels" in the late 1950s. From there, she racked up a number of guest appearances on various shows and TV movies.
Two of her most famous roles were on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" in the 1970s and "The Golden Girls" between 1985 and 1992. She continued acting into her late 90s.
White, who was weeks away from turning 100, recently told People that being "born a cockeyed optimist" was the key to her upbeat nature. "I got it from my mom, and that never changed," she told the magazine.
"I always find the positive."
TEGNA's Travis Pittman contributed to this report.
Scroll below to see photos of White through the years: