Recent Losses in Hollywood: Reflecting on the lives of two icons


Betty White pictured above. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Gemma Fink, Mentorship Coordinator

In the past month, Hollywood has lost not one, but two longtime staples—Betty White and Bob Saget. For decades, both White and Saget graced screens across the country with their trademark wit and captivating humor. 


On Friday, December 31st, Betty White passed peacefully in her sleep. She was a mere seventeen days away from her 100th birthday—an event that had fans and publications alike gearing up for a big, Betty-White style celebration. As the actress herself declared in a recent Instagram caption, “I’m going BIG for my birthday.”


Prior to her death, White had been preparing for her centennial celebration alongside People Magazine. The publication, as a longtime fan of the actress, had dedicated the cover of their most recent issue to her upcoming milestone with an article entitled, “Betty White Turns 100!”


The issue hit newsstands just two days before her death, and arrived in subscribers’ mailboxes only a few hours after her passing on the 31st—just in time for the icon to pull off one last laugh. 


Though some are skeptical of this coincidental timing, countless fans have expressed that they wouldn’t have expected anything less from the actress, whose devilish sense of humor was a hallmark of her remarkably long career. 


For seven decades, fans watched as White took the screen by storm. Her bubbly charisma won fans over easily, and became a critical feature in many of the television shows that she was part of. Two of the most notable—Golden Girls and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. 


Lake Forest Academy history teacher Sam Wold grew up during the icon’s prime years. While discussing White, he said, I literally don’t know anybody who dislikes Betty White. Every single person who knows of Betty White, loves Betty White.” 


As a pioneer in the television industry, White is remembered for her love and advocacy for animals, incredible sense of humor, kind soul, and unapologetic jubilance. Her legacy will continue to paint Hollywood in glimmering metaphorical gold and unwavering optimism.


Just shy of ten days after White had passed, the comedy community was rocked once again by a heartbreaking loss. 


On January 9th, Bob Saget was found unresponsive in his Orlando hotel room while on a stand-up comedy tour. The comedian was 65. No cause of death was announced. 


Saget was made famous by his role on the popular sitcom, “Full House,” in which he played a widowed father living with his three daughters, brother-in-law, and best friend. Through the show, the actor garnered his status as a father-figure in Hollywood. 


After the long-running sitcom saw its final episode, Saget pivoted his career to comedy, and surprised many of his fans with his dirty sense of humor—quite the departure from his family-friendly roots. During his comedy career, the entertainer was also the host of a widely popular show called “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” 


Both White and Saget stood for more than just the entertainment industry, and it is evident in the reactions of their family and friends, and also—on a larger scale—in stars’ fanbases. As Wold describes it, “They were dealing with situations on those shows that people deal with in real life, so I think that [the losses] really hit home for a lot of people.”