Betty White

How the LA Zoo Remembered Betty White on Her 100th Birthday

The Los Angeles Zoo is honoring Betty White with the self-guided "Betty's L.A. Zoo Tour," 16 stops where guests can learn about her connection to a particular animal or location through a series of pictures and quotes

NBC Universal, Inc. The LA Zoo honored one of its best friends. Video broadcast Monday Jan. 17, 2022 on the NBC4 News at 11 a.m.

The Los Angeles Zoo remembered one of its best friends Monday when it celebrated Betty White on what would have been her 100th birthday.

The late actress was a Los Angeles Zoo trustee, donor and honorary zookeeper.

"Something feels a little incomplete here today, not just at the zoo, but in Los Angeles, and that's the loss of an angel here in the City of Angels,'' said Mayor Eric Garcetti, who attended the event along with Councilwoman Nithya Raman. "Our dear friend, Betty White ... Even bigger than her talent was her heart — her heart for people, for all living things. It was that heart and humanity that she expressed right here at the Los Angeles Zoo.''

White died Dec. 31 at the age of 99 at her Brentwood home. On Wednesday, the zoo announced the opening of a white rose memorial garden located in the Allen Ludden Plaza, which was named for White's late husband.

Zoo visitors can honor White by leaving a message, memory or drawing on a card, which will be displayed through the end of January on a gold string hung between silk white roses.

The zoo also created the self-guided "Betty's L.A. Zoo Tour,'' honoring White's contributions to the facility. The tour includes signs at 16 stops where guests can learn about her connection to a particular animal or location through a series of pictures and quotes.

The walking tour will be up through Jan. 31, paying homage to White's longtime dedication to animals and the L.A. Zoo. People who are unable to visit the Los Angeles Zoo but want to experience "Betty's L.A. Zoo Tour'' can do so here.

The television star best known for Emmy Award-winning roles on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show'' and "The Golden Girls'' was a supporter of the zoo for more than five decades, said Tom Jacobson, president of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association.

ABC Photo Archives via Getty Images
Betty White smiles in a 1958 promotional photo. White, a beloved actor whose small screen career spanned well over eight decades, died 17 days before her 100th birthday.
Herb Ball/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank
Betty White holds her dog Bandy at their home in this 1954 snap. White is a well known animal lover, having based much of her free time fundraising for animal causes and declining roles that features animal cruelty.
ABC Photo Archives via Getty Images
Betty White jokes around in a May 5, 1957, promotional photoshoot for ABC’s “Date with the Angels.” Her quirky and saucy personality endeared her to the American public early into her career.
ABC Photo Archives via Getty Images
Actor Betty White visits with the Los Angeles Angels as part of a promotion for ABC’s “Date with the Angels,” July 2, 1957, in which she starred alongside Bill Williams.
NBCU Photo Bank
Betty White smiles with her husband, game show host and actor Allen Ludden, in a 1960 photo. The pair were married from 1963 until Ludden’s death to cancer in 1981.
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Betty White smiles with her husband, game show host and actor Allen Ludden, in their home on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, 1972. The pair were married from 1963 until Ludden’s death to cancer in 1981.
Bob Wands/AP
Betty White and her husband Allen Ludden continue a two-year gin rummy battle in which she’s ahead by a cumulative 6,000 points, Westchester, New York, April 29, 1965. They do it professionally on TV. He’s the master of ceremonies on “Password,” and she makes frequent guest appearances on game shows. The couple plays games to relax at home.
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From left: Edward Asner, Betty White, Mary Tyler Moore and Ted Knight hold their Emmy Awards at the 28th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on May 17, 1976, Los Angeles, California. The four played Lou Grant, Sue Ann Nivens, Mary Richards and Ted Baxter for “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” respectively.
Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank
Actor Betty White on the Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, with then guest-host David Letterman, March 26, 1979.
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Betty White walks towards the grave of her late husband Allen Ludden, in the company of Ludden’s mother. The 63-year-old died of cancer in Los Angeles on Tuesday and was buried in Mineral Point, Wisconsin – the town where he was born.
NBCU Photo Bank
From left: Betty White as Ellen Harper Jackson, Vicki Lawrence as Thelma “Mama” Crowley Harper, and Rue McClanahan as Aunt Fran Crowley for “Mama’s Family,” July 1983.
Herb Ball/NBCU Photo Bank
From left: Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan, Estelle Getty and Betty White pose for a promotional poster for the first season of “Golden Girls,” April 22, 1985. The four would play the iconic quartet Dorothy Petrillo Zbornak, Blanche Devereaux, Sophia Petrillo and Rose Nylund from 1985 until the series’ end in 1992.
Chris Polk/FilmMagic
Betty White, Bea Arthur and Rue McClanahan during the The 6th Annual “TV Land Awards” in Santa Monica, California, June 8, 2008.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Actors Betty White and Mary Tyler Moore present Tina Fey the Outstanding Comedy Series award for “30 Rock” onstage during the 60th Primetime Emmy Awards held at Nokia Theatre on Sept. 21, 2008 in Los Angeles, California.
Lawrence K. Ho/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Betty White seen in a May 31, 2009, photo. She still keeps an active career at 87, with her latest project playing an aging, truth telling, off–the–wall grandmother for “The Proposal.”
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Sandra Bullock and Betty White goof off onstage during the 2010 Teen Choice Awards at Gibson Amphitheatre on Aug. 8, 2010 in Universal City, California.
Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank
Ryan Reynolds and Betty White appear as guests on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Sept. 22, 2010. The two actors, known for their off-beat, saucy personalities on and off the screen, amused themselves by referring to each other as “a past relationship” for the benefits of celebrity entertainment.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Betty White arrives at the premiere of Touchstone Pictures’ “You Again,” Sept. 22, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. She remained a “national treasure” for her roles in “Golden Girls” and her off-beat, quirky personality with fans of all ages.
Paul Morigi/WireImage
Thomas Tidwell, left, and Hank Kashdan of the U.S. Forest Service pose for a photo with Betty White who was named an honorary Forest Ranger at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Nov. 9, 2010 in Washington, D.C.
Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic
Betty White arrives at “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” Los Angeles Premiere at Universal Studios Hollywood on Feb. 19, 2012, in Universal City, California. She plays Grammy Norma on the animated film at the age of 90.
Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Anderson Live
Betty White, next to Lisa Vanderpump and Anderson Cooper, looks on as a man jumps out of a birthday cake at CBS Studios, Jan. 8, 2013 ,in New York City.
Christopher Polk/Getty Images for The People's Choice Awards
Betty White accepts the award for Favorite TV Icon during The 41st Annual People’s Choice Awards at Nokia Theatre LA Live on Jan. 7, 2015, in Los Angeles, California.
Allen Berezovsky/WireImage
Betty White accepts Daytime Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award onstage during the 42nd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards at Warner Bros. Studios on April 26, 2015 in Burbank, California.
Raymond Boyd/Getty Images
Betty White’s star along the Hollywood Stars Walk of Fame in Hollywood, California, seen on Sept. 10, 2017.

"From those in the wild, to those in shelters, guide dogs for the blind -- she loved all animals, large and small. She was never one to stand outside and criticize. She would always work with us to do what she could to help,'' Jacobson said Monday. "She always looked forward, never back, and wanted to have a positive impact on the world, and that's what she did. She was an endearing figure on and off the screen.''

Jacobson added that the zoo was planning a permanent way to honor White's service, but details will be announced at a later date.

Zoo Director Denise Verret on Monday described White as "kind, gentle-natured, funny, and ... such a humble individual.''

"She was a rare gem. I call her an endangered species. She made it her life's purpose to use her humor, her influence to make the world a better place for all creatures. Her body might be absent today, but her spirit will live on at the Los Angeles Zoo forever,'' Verret said.

Monday's event honoring White also included a $3,000 donation to the zoo from Pink's Hot Dogs, which donated proceeds from sales of White's favorite hot dog -- the Naked Dog — since her death at the end of December.

"Betty White used to come to Pink's and get her `Naked Dog.' And she said, 'Look, just tell everybody Betty White gets naked at Pinks!' And she just liked the beef in a bun, just keep it simple,'' Richard Pink of Pink's Hot Dogs said.

"But when she would come there with her actress friends she would just entertain the crowd in our dining room, and nothing was more memorable, because you just mention the name Betty White, and what comes to mind but joy and laughter and fun.''

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