Betty White's close friend Vicki Lawrence, who worked with the television legend on The Carol Burnett Show and Mama's Family, revealed what White's last word was before White died on New Year's Eve. White passed away just weeks before she was set to celebrate her 100th birthday. Lawrence, 72, said her memories of White are "nothing but sweet and happy and fun and raunchy and bawdy."
In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Lawrence said she had not spoken to White in some time. She suspected White was ill when she wrote a letter and did not get a response, which was unusual. However, she heard from Carol Burnett that White spent her final moments calling out for her husband, game show host Allen Ludden, who died in 1981.
"I knew she was not well, and this was coming, but it was still sad not to hear from her," Lawrence told THR. "I talked to Carol yesterday, and we agreed it is so f—ing hard to watch the people you love go away. She said she spoke to Betty's assistant, who was with her when she passed, and she said the last word out of her mouth was 'Allen.' That's so lovingly sweet. I hope that is true."
Lawrence and White became friends while working on The Carol Burnett Show together. In the show's seventh season, Lawrence introduced Thelma Harper, an elderly mother character featured in "The Family" sketches. White played one of Thelma's daughters. "The Family" characters later appeared in the 1982 TV movie Eunice and the 1983-1990 series Mama's Family. White starred in the first two seasons of Mama's Family before she moved on to The Golden Girls.
Although Lawrence remembered White as "nothing but sweet and happy and fun and raunchy and bawdy," she said White was always professional and never forgot a line. "She was the consummate professional – Carol used to call it 'playing in the sandbox,'" Lawrence told THR. "She never called it working. And Betty is the best playmate in the world. On game shows, and playing games with her, she was smart and clever. She was on it. She was so good at that stuff. If you were playing against Betty, you better bring your A game because she was there to beat your a—."
White died peacefully at her home on New Year's Eve at 99, her agent, Jeff Witjas, said. "I don't think Betty ever feared passing because she always wanted to be with her most beloved husband Allen Ludden," he said. "She believed she would be with him again." Ludden and White married in 1963 and remained together until his death in 1981. On New Year's Eve, Burnett told PEOPLE White never married again because, as White said, she'd already "had the best."