On New Year's Eve, 2021, the world lost a bright and irreplaceable star — Betty White passed away. Today marks what would have been the famous actresses' 100th birthday. White is best remembered for her iconic roles in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Golden Girls, and Hot in Cleveland.
While White certainly leaves us with her decorated and storied acting career, she also leaves behind another legacy: her devoted love for—and championing of—animals everywhere. For her birthday (and beyond), White's fans are supporting and continuing this legacy by uniting behind the #BettyWhiteChallenge. Across the internet, her followers are asking others to donate whatever they can spare to animal rescues, shelters, and other nonprofits.
White's love of animals stems from her childhood experiences and her parents' own animal adoration. During the Great Depression, she and her parents cared for pets whose owners could no longer house them. These experiences fostered a growing love for and curiosity about animals, which blossomed into her support of animal-related nonprofits throughout her career.
She donated, volunteered, and fundraised for myriad organizations, and recorded public service announcements. She even had a television series in the 1970s called "The Pet Set," in which she foregrounded the stories of wonderful pets before introducing their celebrity owners.
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For her 70-year service to animals everywhere, White was awarded the National Humanitarian Medal by the American Humane organization, as well as the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal by the Smithsonian.