Betty's final interview will air in tribute movie on her 100th birthday
BETTY White's final interview will air in theaters in a tribute movie on her 100th birthday just weeks after her death at the age of 99.
The actress passed away on New Year's Eve after suffering a stroke six days prior.
Betty's life will be remembered in a one-night screening, originally intended to celebrate the legendary star's milestone birthday.
The film was titled "Betty White: 100 Years Young — A Birthday Celebration," but was renamed after her death to "Betty White: A Celebration."
Producer Steve Boettcher revealed to the Hollywood Reporter in an interview that the tribute was Betty's idea.
“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," he said.
The screening became a must-see for fans since Betty's death, expanding to nearly 1,500 theaters across the U.S.
While filmmakers contemplated going ahead with the screening that was meant to celebrate the beloved actress turning 100-years-old, they ultimately decided that airing the film was what Betty would've wanted.
“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?," Steve told the publication.
“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.”
The producer also warned that Betty's final onscreen interview was difficult to watch, reflecting on the experience: “Betty loved getting glammed up, as she called it. The dress, the hair, the look — she just loved that.
"It’s probably about a minute or two long clip of just her looking directly in the camera as the graciously fun, warm Betty. She thanks all her fans over the years and for being out on the 17th to see the film. It’s just got that twinkle that’s Betty.”
He added: “The great thing about it is that she didn’t read it off the teleprompter or have a script. 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.”
Fathom Events’ "Betty White: A Celebration" will show in theaters on Monday, January 17.
Betty's cause of death recently revealed that she suffered a cerebrovascular accident, TMZ reported, citing her death certificate.
This means that Betty had a loss of blood flow to part of her brain, which resulted in brain tissue damage.
The document said that Betty suffered the stroke six days before her death.
It is unclear how the stroke affected the actress and whether she was conscious and alert before she died.
The iconic star passed away at her home on the morning of New Year's Eve. The source added that she didn't have any illnesses and she was not battling any particular ailment. It is believed she died from natural causes.
Her agent and friend Jeff Witjas said in a statement following the news: "Even though Betty was about to be 100, I thought she would live forever.
"I will miss her terribly and so will the animal world that she loved so much. I don't think Betty ever feared passing because she always wanted to be with her most beloved husband Allen Ludden. She believed she would be with him again."
Following the news, fans and celebs rushed to pay tribute to the iconic actress.
Ryan Reynolds shared a touching post about the great, just one day after quipping that he had a "past relationship" with Betty.
He wrote: "The world looks different now. She was great at defying expectations. She managed to grow very old and somehow, not old enough. We’ll miss you, Betty. Now you know the secret."
Don Lemon posted a photograph of him and Betty with the caption: "Noooooooooo. Say it isn’t so," while Piers Morgan dubbed her "the funniest woman I've ever met."
Andy Cohen added: "Tonight we will raise MANY glasses to the WONDERFUL legacy of Betty White!!!"
Born in Oak Park, Illinois, on January 17, 1922, White's career started as a radio personality in Los Angeles in the 1930s.
She transitioned to television, where she became a staple panelist of American game shows, including Password, Match Game, Tattletales, To Tell The Truth, Hollywood Squares and The $25,000 Pyramid.
White was dubbed "the first lady of the game show," becoming the first woman to receive the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host in 1983.
Her career skyrocketed with her role as Rose Nylund in the '80s sitcom The Golden Girls.
In a final tweet before her death, Betty said: "My 100th birthday… I cannot believe it is coming up."
The star opened up about her health in a rare interview and revealed that she remains in tiptop condition because she maintains a positive outlook on life.
"I'm so lucky to be in such good health and feel so good at this age, It's amazing," she told PEOPLE.
The TV favorite admitted that she was "born a cockeyed optimist" which is imperative to her upbeat nature.
She continued: "I got it from my mom, and that never changed. I always find the positive."
As for her diet, Betty joked: "I try to avoid anything green. I think it's working."
Last month, Betty revealed that she had enlisted her famous friends to celebrate her 100th birthday on January 17.
Alongside a throwback photo of the star, Betty revealed on Instagram that she is hosting a special event for her birthday.
The text below the photo read: "Betty White invites you to her 100th Birthday celebration event."
She then revealed the impressive guest list for the party celebrating "America's sweetheart."
The famous faces that will honor Betty 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, and Jennifer Love Hewitt.
Betty captioned the post: "I’m going BIG for my birthday - right to the BIG SCREEN! Get your tickets and join me at the link in my bio."