Betty White leaves a monumental legacy on and off the stage, with a humor and humanity that touched lives everywhere and had a huge impact on the life of our city.
Her Hollywood career has blessed us with warm memories that will always live on in our hearts.
– MayorOfLA (@MayorOfLA) December 31, 2021
White was a well-known animal lover and worked closely with several LA animal organizations. She has been involved with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA) since the 1940s.
“Betty and I would joke that she would outlive us all,” Madeline Bernstein, president of spcaLA, said in a statement on Friday. “She was inspired to lend her fame to give animals a voice and brought a lot of attention to the cause of animal welfare. Our lifelong friend will be missed.”
Bernstein met White in the 90s when she took office as president of the spcaLA. White has participated in several spcaLA telethons to raise funds to expand different programs and services. She even helped raise funds to build the spcaLA PD Pitchford Companion Animal Village & Education Center in Long Beach.
Plus, White has done a lot of work for the LA Zoo.
The City of LA will be eternally grateful for its years of service to the LA Zoo on behalf of the animals we care for and the people who love them.
My hearts go out to all who love a woman who has brought immeasurable joy as an artist, lawyer and friend.
– MayorOfLA (@MayorOfLA) December 31, 2021
“Betty White Ludden’s legacy will have a lasting impact on all of us here at the Los Angeles Zoo,” said Denise Verret, CEO and Director of the LA Zoo. “She was a longtime champion and friend of the LA Zoo who stood up for us and helped amplify the work we do to conserve wildlife. She cared deeply for all living creatures – including us. Her loss leaves a big hole in our hearts. The Los Angeles Zoo cannot thank Betty enough for her decades of support, and we share this heartbreak with all of you. There really will never be another person like her. “
White’s work for the zoo spans more than five decades. His involvement began with the opening of the zoo in 1966.
She officially joined the Board of Directors of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association in 1974.
One of his first big projects was to write, produce, and star in a TV special called Backstage at the Zoo.
White recruited his famous friends – like Mary Tyler Moore, Jimmy Stewart, Greg Morris, Amanda Blake and LA Mayor Tom Bradley to appear on the 90 minute special, which aired in July 1974 on KTTV.
It was revolutionary at the time and brought the Los Angeles Zoo into the homes of thousands of Angelenos to shine the spotlight on the zoo’s world-class animal care team and their work behind the scenes to take animal care, “a statement read. issued by the zoo.
White has served on the GLAZA Board of Directors continuously since 1974.
She took a hiatus in 1997 to become a member of the zoo’s Council of Trustees, a role she held for eight years. She became chairman of the board of GLAZA in 2010.
In 2006, Betty was honored by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa as LA’s “Animal Ambassador”.
Seven years later, the Los Angeles chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers made her an honorary zookeeper.
White also wrote a book called “Betty & Friends: My Life at the Zoo” – all proceeds went directly to GLAZA and the zoo.
Not to mention, some of the zoo animals were named with White’s help!
Elka the Orangutan was named after the character of White in the hit television series “Hot in Cleveland”.
Such was her dedication to pets that she turned down a role of plum in the 1997 hit film “As Good As It Gets”. She objected to a scene in which Jack Nicholson drops a small dog into a laundry chute.
In his 2011 book “If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won’t),” White explained the origins of his love for dogs.
During the Depression, his father made radios for sale to earn extra money. But as no one had money to buy the radios, he voluntarily exchanged them for dogs, which, housed in kennels in the backyard, sometimes numbered 15 and made the childhood happy of White even happier.
Are there any creatures she doesn’t like?
“No,” White told the AP in 2011. “Anything that has a leg in every corner.”
What about snakes?
“Ohhh, I love snakes!”
And when asked how she had come to be universally loved by humans throughout her life, not just animals, she summed up with a dimpled smile: Easy. “
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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