'She was a light to the last moments': Betty White's pal Patty Sullivan describes legend’s final days
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Betty White died a year ago on December 31, 2021, from a cerebrovascular accident. She was 99 at the time. Now, one of her closest friends has shared details about the veteran actress's last days.
In a recent interview with Fox News Digital, Patty Sullivan made some revelations about Betty White's final days and also spoke about her upcoming book, ‘Betty White's Pearls of Wisdom: Life Lessons from a Beloved American Treasure’. The longtime pal reportedly said, “I hope Betty would love what I've written about her. She had no knowledge I was doing this, and I hadn't intended for it to be between hard cover, but I hope this will mark the first year of her passing with keeping her legacy alive, her beautiful strength, her beautiful gift to all of life. I hope that's what will happen in these next couple of weeks.”
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As per reports, Patty and her husband Tom met the comedian and her husband, Allen Ludden, in the 1960s. At the time, the celeb couple was performing in Cape Cod while Tom was starting as a musician. Sullivan recalled, “Allen was such a fan of talent, and he just took my husband right under his wing. Suddenly, by a week into their performance, we were all sitting together at their table, and my husband Tom connected with Betty and Allen so immediately, it was like they knew each other all their lives. Allen and Betty got very, very interested in promoting my husband's career, which became quite special very quickly because of their insight and their other passion for new talent.”
Patty admitted she was initially “just so awestruck” by Betty that she couldn’t get herself involved much with her. But after they spent Christmas together in Montana, she opened up. She told the publication, “She wanted me to pick out her clothes and help her dress, which was so fun for me. But then as I saw her with our group of friends and sort of declaring that we needed to stop and recognize the moment we were in, the beauty of where we were, which was extraordinary. And it made us all stop."
“I think that's actually one of the first pearls that I think about every Christmas, because that one was a wild Christmas that brought her close to me for the first time,” she added.
Patty then went on to mention ‘The Golden Girls’ star’s final days. She shared, “She was a light to the last moments of her public life. I knew what she was feeling physically. I knew that she was struggling with her physical ability to get around. And as I say in the book, she never allowed a wheelchair. She never sat in one. She had a walker toward the end, but she always had a handsome young guy to escort her everywhere.”
She continued, “We played a lot of Scrabble together, but in the last stages, the words weren't coming together for her, and I thought, 'No, we're just going to get the three-letter words out there and be respectful of her.’ But that was a deep sadness. I didn't want her extraordinary brain to be less than it was. So there's some very, very tender moments in that transition period.”
Remembering Betty on her first death anniversary, Patty declared, “This was like the third Thanksgiving because of COVID that she wasn't sitting at our table. And so I think … those last chapters are fairly delicate, but it's about someone's end of life.”
“I'm hoping that for those readers who have experienced that also, that they will be touched by the journey I shared with Betty, and the pearls of wisdom, and the deep love and respect for someone who I adore [in] kind of in my own poetic writing, and I hope that will be a universal thing,” she noted.
Before signing off, Patty also mentioned Betty’s love for the planet. She said, “She could see the otters from her window in front of [her] house and to see the loss of population over time, it just really disturbed her. So when she put money and effort and time and concern into saving the sea otter, that was huge. And I got that moment with her – to see on her face, ‘Oh, my gosh, look what I was able to help others achieve’."
“I think that's a bigger picture," Sullivan emphasized. "We always see her promoting, take care of your animals, speak to them, they'll speak to you kind of thing, but to realize the vast amount of work she was doing. That was her first love, by the way. Show business gave her the privilege to support and [fund it].”