Part of Betty White’s final interview before her death at age 99 included a video message dedicated to the many fans she collected throughout her decades in show business.
Prior to her death, White was gearing up to celebrate her 100th birthday on Jan. 17. As part of the celebration, she participated in a documentary special titled “Betty White: 100 Years Young — A Birthday Celebration” that would play in theaters across the country. Not only did the feature-length special mark what would become her final interview, but producer Steve Boettcher revealed that she also filmed a video tribute to her fans just ten days before her death that will accompany the special.
“On Dec. 20, she did a short little video for us… it was kind of a tribute to her fans that were going to be with her at the event,” Boettcher told Entertainment Tonight. “It’s kind of a shout-out to her fans that she did 10 days before she passed away.”
Referring to White as an “eternal optimist,” he noted that it was important to her to be reflective on her 100th birthday and thank those who have loved her since she rose to fame years ago. Boettcher believed that she specifically felt indebted to her fans because she was a TV star and not a film actress.
Betty White died at 99, just weeks before her 100th birthday. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
“I think Betty had this feeling, the sense that sometimes movie stars on the big screen are unapproachable, but with Betty, and her career, it happened on the small screen, on the television screen, and she felt she was invited into people’s homes every week. Whether it was the ‘Mary Tyler Moore Show’ or ‘Password’ or ‘Hot in Cleveland’ or ‘Golden Girls,’ she was invited in people’s living rooms,” Boettcher explained. “She felt that as a special privilege kind of, like almost your favorite aunt coming over, your favorite grandmother coming over. So I think Betty really embraced that and cherished that relationship.”
Although the documentary was originally intended to be a birthday celebration for White, organizers quickly announced that they still intend to debut the special on Jan. 17. However, it will obviously be re-tooled a bit to be more of a celebration of her life and career. According to the Fathom Events page for the event, it has already been retitled to “Betty White: A Celebration.”
Betty White filmed her final interview and a tribute to her fans just 10 days before her death. (Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)
“Betty always said she was the ‘luckiest broad on two feet’ to have had a career as long as she did. And honestly, we were the lucky ones to have had her for so long,” a statement from producers Boettcher and Mike Trinklein reads. “We will go forward with our plans to show the film on January 17 in hopes our film will provide a way for all who loved her to celebrate her life—and experience what made her such a national treasure.”
Betty White believed that she was invited to people’s homes on TV every night. (Photo by Bob Riha, Jr./Getty Images)
In addition to White reflecting on her life, career and fans, the Los Angeles Times notes that the documentary will also include appearances from the actress’s friends in Hollywood, such as Ryan Reynolds, Tina Fey, Robert Redford, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Jay Leno, Carol Burnett, Craig Ferguson, Jimmy Kimmel, Valerie Bertinelli, James Corden, Wendie Malick and Jennifer Love Hewitt.