How Betty White’s Hometown in the Midwest is Honoring Her
Betty White's Midwest hometown is paying tribute to the late actress in a moving way.
On December 31st, the beloved Golden Girl passed away just shy of her 100th birthday. She had garnered a massive following and devotion from her fans over the decades she spent on television.
Tributes from celebrities and fans alike poured in after news broke of the star's death.
White was born in Oak Park, Illinois on January 17th, 1922. She spent most of her life in California working on various television projects, but it's clear that she has always had a love for the Midwest.
One of the pillars of her hit 80's show 'The Golden Girls' were her hilarious and oftentimes meandering tales of a fictional town called St. Olaf, Minnesota. While this town in Minnesota doesn't exist, there is a university!
White actually developed a relationship with St. Olaf College. In 1989, college officials arranged for the St. Olaf Choir to visit the 'Golden Girls' set in Hollywood. Just three years later the Midwest's favorite Golden Girl actually came out to Minnesota to visit the university.
In a letter written to a St. Olaf alum years later, White shared some of her initial nerves about going to visit the college she technically made famous.
I remember my visit to St. Olaf very well. I was a little apprehensive, as I was afraid they would resent the fact that Rose wasn’t the brightest bulb in the chandelier, but they couldn’t have been warmer and more welcoming.
The actress also shared that she had a love for the school's choir program, and how at the time of her letter she still had her, " Uff Da cup and shirt." At the end of her short two-day visit to St. Olaf, White shared just how much she enjoyed her trip and how educational it was to students,
“It will make a whole difference in my Rose characterization, I can assure you. I won’t be as tentative. I will be surer-footed because you really understand where Rose is coming from, and she really is coming from your values.” the actress said.
In a photo from the college, White can even be seen joining in with the school's choir in a rousing rendition of their fight song.
You can see the photo here.
Her real life hometown is putting together a special tribute to honor the late actress. Oak Park, Illinois media officials were planning on putting together a birthday celebration to mark White's 100th birthday, but when news broke of White's death, they quickly decided to move forward with a tribute that will honor the Emmy winner, according to a press release from Growing Community Media.
Betty White's Centennial Celebration will take place on Saturday, January 15th in the neighboring town by Chicago. Celebrations are kicking off at 10AM underneath the Classic Cinemas Lake Theater marquee at 1022 Lake Street, Oak Park, IL.
The outdoor ceremony is expected to be somewhat brief, but will include statements and declarations from local officials, "Be Like Betty" photo ops, 100 slices of cake, and a performance of 'Thank You For Being A Friend' by Cindy Fee who sang the original theme song for 'The Golden Girls.'
Now, here's what White would have been the most excited for. She would not have really loved the attention being on herself, she would rather put the spotlight on a cause she cares about. At around 10:30 AM that Saturday, there will also be a pet adoption event.
What a great way to honor the beloved actress!
“Oak Park is not quite St. Olaf but we are proud to be Betty White’s real hometown,” said event organizer Lourdes Nicholls, “We look forward to celebrating her on January 15th.”
Officials also plan to establish a holiday in the town to honor our beloved Golden Girl.