Robert Redford, Sandra Bullock and more pay tribute to Betty White

A memorial to late US actress Betty White next to her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES - Tributes have poured in for beloved The Golden Girls actress Betty White, who died on New Year's Eve, just a few weeks shy of her 100th birthday.

After the news broke, actor Robert Redford said in a statement to E! News: "Betty lived life devoted to her craft and her love of animals. She made us all laugh, including me."

Making reference to a long-running joke between them, he added: "I had a crush on her too."

In a People magazine special on her upcoming 100th birthday, published on Dec 28, she had mentioned actor Ryan Reynolds, as well as Redford.

"I've heard Ryan can't get over his thing for me but Robert Redford is The One."

Redford did not reply at the time, but Reynolds jokingly responded on Twitter: "I'm absolutely sick of the media exploiting past relationships just to drive clicks."

Reynolds had been calling White his "ex-girlfriend" since they starred in 2009 romantic comedy The Proposal, while White had said for years she had a thing for Redford.

In his Instagram Stories tribute to her, Reynolds 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."

Actress Sandra Bullock, who was the female lead in The Proposal, raised a glass to White.

"I don't drink vodka... but I will tonight, on ice, with a slice of lemon with a hot dog on the other side and just be okay being sad. I'll have to buy some rose-coloured glasses because Betty was that for all of us," she said in a statement to entertainment portal ET.

In White's 80-year career, she touched many stars with her warmth and her wit, and they flooded social media with their memories and photos of her.

Comedian-host Seth Meyers, who used to be on Saturday Night Live, wrote: "RIP Betty White, the only SNL host I ever saw get a standing ovation at the after party. A party at which she ordered a vodka and a hot dog and stayed till the bitter end."

Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres wrote on Twitter: "What an exceptional life. I'm grateful for every second I got to spend with Betty White."

Star Trek actor George Takei called her "our national treasure" and referenced her iconic roles in his Twitter post: "Our Sue Ann Nivens, our beloved Rose Nylund, has joined the heavens to delight the stars with her inimitable style, humour and charm."

Some of her best-known roles were Nivens on sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1973 to 1977) and Nylund on long-running sitcom The Golden Girls (1985 to 1992).

As a testament to White opening doors for women in the world of television and movies, actresses such as Carol Burnett, Kathy Griffin, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kerry Washington, Debra Messing, Mia Farrow, Kirstie Alley, Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis all penned tributes to the trail-blazer.

Davis wrote: "Man did I think you would live forever. You blew a huge hole in this world that will inspire generations. Rest in glorious peace... you've earned your wings."

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