‘Betty White: A Celebration’ to play in movie theaters on late Golden Girl’s 100th birthday

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Betty White [Courtesy photo}

A cinematic celebration of Betty White’s trailblazing career is going on despite the Golden Girl’s passing Dec. 31 at age 99.

In honor of what would have been White’s 100th birthday, the documentary “Betty White: A Celebration” will play in hundreds of movie theaters nationwide at 1, 4 and 7 p.m. local time Jan. 17 via Fathom Events.

Originally planned as a celebration of White’s 100th birthday, the one-day-only film event now will offer an opportunity for fans to come together to remember her groundbreaking life and career. White granted exclusive access to filmmakers Steve Boettcher and Mike Trinklein in the making of the special movie event, according to a news release.

Special guests include 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, Jennifer Love Hewitt and many others.

“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,” said Boettcher and Trinklein in a joint statement.

“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. We will go forward with our plans to show the film on Jan. 17 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.”

The special promises to be packed with clips from some of White’s most famous roles, including the innocent Rose on “The Golden Girls,” the worldly Elka on “Hot in Cleveland” and the bawdy Sue Ann on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” It also will spotlight her celebrated hosting  gig on “Saturday Night Live” – one of the highest rated “SNL” episodes ever – and her award-winning Super Bowl Snickers commercial, along with numerous other career highlights. Also included is a lost episode from White’s early sitcom from the 1950s.

“Betty White: A Celebration” includes one particularly poignant exclusive—Betty’s final on-camera appearance, recorded just ten days before her passing. Its special message expresses Betty’s deep appreciation for her fans—and demonstrates that even in her final days, she never lost her sense of fun.

“This celebration of America’s sweetheart is an opportunity to remember Betty White’s amazing life and career,” said Boettcher and Trinklein in their statement. “Drawing from her final interview, this film provides a backstage look at her career, and insights into what was most important to her.”

While White ranks among the most cherished figures in America, her legacy is much deeper than most realize: She was the first woman to produce a national TV show; the first woman to star in a sitcom; the first producer to hire a female director; and the first woman to receive an Emmy nomination. She was even the first woman to ever appear on television, given her performance on an experimental broadcast in the late 1930s.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.FathomEvents.com or at participating theater box offices.

Along with the special theatrical event, White’s fans have found another way to honor the icon’s memory: On social media, the “Betty White Challenge” encourages people to donate $5 to animal rescues or shelters in her name on Jan. 17. The online movement not only marks what would have been White’s 100th birthday but also honors her work as a longtime animal rights activist.

Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane, recently told “Good Morning America” that the organization has already “seen such an uptick in donations” following White’s death.




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