Remembering Betty White, the animal activist

Betty White was once quoted as saying she didn’t work for a living but to give to the animals. 

She has done just that for decades. She loves animals and the Los Angeles Zoo honored the late TV megastar years ago by naming one of the zoo’s primal tenants after one of her show’s TV characters.

Elka is a 10-year-old orangutan. She’s named after White’s character in the sitcom Hot in Cleveland. She loved seeing Elka at the Los Angeles Zoo as well as all of the other animals.

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Tom Jacobson, who heads up the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association loved White’s sense of humor, but even more, her commitment to the zoo, its animals and her love for her late husband Allen Ludden.

Says Jacobson, "When Betty came to the zoo one of the things she always did was come to this spot [where there is a memorial plaque to Ludden] and say a few quiet words to her late husband. Dust off the plaque a little bit." 

The plaza was named for her gameshow-host husband. Some at the zoo told us how much they loved her and how generous they viewed her.

Some said they knew her for more than just a witty actress, but a woman with a big heart who died just short of her 100th birthday; who was amazing and though she didn’t make it to 100, she accomplished so much.

Jacobson says zoo officials and White had been working for a special day honoring her 100th birthday on January 17 and, although she is gone, there will still be a Betty White Day at the Los Angeles Zoo.

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