The world is still reeling from the loss of Betty White just weeks before the beloved icon turned 100 years old.
Fans of the Golden Girls star have been paying tribute to White in any way they can find, from posts to social media to leaving small tokens of their love on her star at the Hollywood walk of fame. Some also hope to pay homage to the late star at her funeral, prompting questions about how, and when, White will be laid to rest.
White’s close friend and longtime agent, Jeff Witjas, told People that arrangements for White’s funeral service are “being handled privately,” as was White’s wish.
“As in life, she never wanted people to make a fuss over her,” he said.
Instead of hoping for a streamable service, Witjas urged those hoping to pay tribute to White to consider donating funds to one of her favorite organizations. Alongside her illustrious career on-screen, White was well known for her love of animals. She often worked as an animal activist, joining the nonprofit partner of the LA Zoo, the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA), on its Board of Trustees in 1974.
Some of her preferred organizations, as listed by People, include The Los Angeles Zoo, Tree People, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Wildlife Learning Center, Actors and Animals for Others, The Aquarium of the Pacific and Guide Dogs For the Blind.
Witjas added that, if none of the above-listed charities strike a chord with hopeful donors, they can also “donate to a local animal charity” of their choice.
Witjas’s recommendation presents an opportunity for fans to pay their respects in a way White would have loved. Details about her funeral service remain scarce, but it will likely not be open to the public. With this in mind, mourners who weren’t among White’s close circle of friends and family can still honor her life in true White fashion.
Several televised tributes are also set to air over the next several weeks, presenting yet another opportunity for fans to say goodbye to the beloved actress. A tribute to her life, Betty White: A Celebration, is additionally set to hit theaters on what would have been White’s 100th birthday, Jan. 17.
White has long held a wonderfully uplifting view of death. Back in 2012, she informed New York Times columnist Frank Bruni that she looked at death in a positive light, thanks in large part to her mother’s “wonderful approach to death.”
“She said, ‘We know we have managed to find out almost anything that exists, but nobody knows … what happens at that moment when it’s over’ … And she said, ‘It’s the one secret that we don’t know,'” White explained. “So whenever we would lose somebody very close and very dear, she would always say, ‘Well, now he knows the secret.’ And it took the curse off of it somehow.”
“I have no fear or dread of death,” she added. “[But] I’m happy as a lark to stay around as long as I can.”