Oak Park honors late actor Betty White with 'centennial celebration'

Betty White
late actress Betty White Photo credit Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

OAK PARK, Ill. (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A couple hundred people showed up in Oak Park, the birthplace of the late actor Betty White, for a “Centennial Celebration” Saturday.

White recently passed away on New Year's Eve.

The marquee in front of the Lake Theater read, "Honoring Our Oak Park Treasure." Oak Park Village President Vicky Scaman read a proclamation.

"The Village of Oak Park will forever remember Betty White born Jan. 17, 1922 in Oak Park, Ill. as a beloved radio and television performer and producer for over 70 years," she read.

"Betty brought people together with her relentless talent, positivity, and strength. Her fans truly felt loved by her everywhere."

Local historian Frank Lipo talked about a letter White wrote to the Historical Society of Oak Park in 1989.

"She closed with 'P.S. I'm always careful to explain I was born in Oak Park-not Chicago," said Lipo getting a laugh from audience members.

Her parents moved to California when she was a toddler, but there were relatives in Oak Park and she would return to visit.

Another former Oak Park resident, Cindy Fee, who performed the icon theme song for White's hit TV sitcom Golden Girls, "Thank you for being a friend" had the crowd joyfully singing along.

"Coming from Oak Park, she displayed the qualities you find in many Oak Parkers-optimism and love for the fellow man and of course extreme love for animals," Fee said.

This event was hosted by the Wednesday Journal. White would have turned 100 on Monday. Her birthday will now be known as "Betty White Day" in the state of Illinois.