The news of Hollywood legend Betty White passing away hit her friends, family, and fans hard recently. But thankfully a planned tribute to the actress and comedian for her 100th birthday this month will not only still release, but will contain her last-ever interview filmed just days before her death.
The 99-year-old was less than three weeks away from turning 100 when she died on New Year’s Eve. Previous to her passing, the beloved actress seemed to be in good health. In a recent interview, she stated that she felt great. White had also been working on a project that was planned to release on Jan. 17 to celebrate her milestone birthday. However, she suffered a stroke just six days before her death, and eventually passed on Dec. 31.
As mentioned, Betty White’s final interview will air as part of the Betty White: A Celebration tribute film. The movie’s producer Steve Boettcher spoke to The Hollywood Reporter recently and shared details about the special feature.
“Betty shot a tribute to her fans on Dec. 20, which will be in the film,” Boettcher told THR. “It was her idea to do this. She said, ‘I want my fans to know this.’ We’ve been asked to share it. We’ve been asked to put it on social media. The only place we thought was right was putting it in the film and sharing it with her friends, family, and fans who are going to be there.”
The one-night-only film tribute to Betty White has shifted its focus since she passed. Originally intended to be a 100th birthday celebration, the movie will now serve as a tribute in her memory. Additionally, the Monday night screenings have expanded to more than 1,500 movie theaters across the nation.
Betty White’s Team Pushed For Filmmakers to Press on With Project
Following Betty White’s death, the filmmakers took time to discuss options for the Celebration documentary. During their talks, they even considered canceling the project, which Boettcher spoke about in his interview.
“The film was already done and distributed to theaters, and we pulled it back. The first thing we did was sit down and talk with our team and Betty’s team — should we just cancel?” Boettcher shared during the THR interview. “Betty’s team pushed us on, like, ‘No, she would want this. Go forward. Go with this.’ So that was the big decision that had been made that weekend.”
Boettcher went on to share specifics about her final interview. He said the clip in the film lasts a couple of minutes and it’s just her looking directly into the camera. The producer shares that White wanted to thank all her fans for their years of support and for watching the film on her 100th birthday. As Boettcher said, it’s “just got that twinkle that’s Betty.”
“The great thing about it is that she didn’t read it off the teleprompter or have a script,” he added. “She ad-libbed it, and that’s Betty to the very end. She’s spontaneous and has the wherewithal to go with it and do it live. She was so good at that. You can’t watch it for the first time and help but get goosebumps when you hear her. It’s just very, very sweet.”
Betty White: A Celebration will hit theaters across the United States on what would have been her 100th birthday tomorrow, Monday, January 17. Visit Fathom Events’ website to purchase tickets and check local showtimes near you.