Betty White film to still play in January; 'We were the lucky ones to have had her for so long'
Though she died mere weeks before hitting her milestone 100th birthday, beloved actress Betty White will still receive the film treatment previously planned for the occasion.
Fathom Events has confirmed that despite the unexpected death of the Emmy Award-winning star on Friday, “Betty White: 100 Years Young – a Birthday Celebration,” will play in almost 900 movie theaters nationwide at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Jan. 17 as planned.
As well, "Saturday Night Live" will resurface its May 8, 2010 episode featuring White as host and Jay-Z as musical guest for the show's Saturday broadcast.
Producers of "Betty White: 100 Years Young," Steve Boettcher and Mike Trinklein, said in a statement, “We will go forward with our plans to show the film 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.”
They added, “During the many years we worked with her, we developed a great love and admiration for Betty as a person, and as an accomplished entertainer. We are thankful for the many decades of delight she brought to everyone. 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.”
White “died peacefully in her sleep” at her California home on Friday morning, her agent and close friend Jeff Witjas confirmed to USA TODAY.
The 100-minute valentine to White includes tributes from a parade of celebrities including 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, Wendy Malick, and Jennifer Love Hewitt.
Footage garnered by the filmmakers, who were granted exclusive access to White, will showcase her work as a lifelong animal advocate as well as share behind-the-scenes footage of the actress – lauded for her roles on “The Golden Girls” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” –on set and entertaining at home.
Additional material will encompass the scope of White’s career, ranging from a lost episode of an early sitcom appearance in the 1950s to her late-in-life resurgence on “Hot in Cleveland” and her good-natured Super Bowl commercial for Snickers candy.
Tickets to the screenings are available at FathomEvents.com or at participating theater box offices (a complete list of theater locations is available on the Fathom Events website).