Betty White Wasn't Afraid Of Death. Here's Why

Television comedy legend and beloved cultural icon Betty White died on December 31, 2021, just weeks before her 100th birthday on January 17, 2022. The actor's agent, Jeff Witjas, told People that White "died peacefully in her sleep" and if the words in her interview more than a decade prior still rang true for White, she was not afraid of what was to come.

White was born on January 17, 1922, in Oak Park, Illinois to Horace and Tess White. The only child was only 2 years old when she moved with her parents to Los Angeles, the perfect place to grow up if you are going to one day pursue a career in show business. And White's career in film and television spanned eight decades, according to Biography. News of her death devastated the world as 2021 drew to a close, as America and White were getting ready to celebrate her milestone birthday. It was White's mother, Tess, who gave her daughter a foundation that allowed her not to fear death, however, as White revealed in 2011.

Betty White learned a 'secret' about death early in life

In 2011, Betty White spoke about life, mortality, and what her mother Tess used to tell her about death while appearing on "CBS This Morning" with Katie Couric. Actor Rue McClahahan had died two years prior in 2010, making White the last of the iconic "Golden Girls," those funny, mature best friends who shared a Florida home and a good cheesecake each Saturday night on NBC from 1985 to 1992. Couric asked White about what it was like to be the final living Golden Girl.

"I'm the only one left, and I'm the oldest. That's what amazed me, 'cause I thought, well, I'll be maybe the first to go," White told Couric, before the journalist asked her if she feared death, which she echoed in an interview with HLN's Joy Behar (via CNN) that same year.

"No, not at all. Not at all," White said. "My mother had the most wonderful outlook on death. She would always say, 'Nobody knows. People think they do, you can believe whatever you want to believe what happens at that last moment, but nobody ever knows until it happens.' But, she said, it's a secret. So, all growing up, whenever we'd lose somebody, she'd always say, 'Now, they know the secret.'"