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Village Of Oak Park Celebrating Native Betty White On Jan. 15

OAK PARK, Ill. (CBS/AP) -- The late Betty White's hometown of Oak Park is celebrating what would have been the icon's 100th birthday.

White died on New Year's Eve. She would have turned 100 on Jan. 17.

The celebration in Oak Park will be on Jan. 15, so as not to overshadow Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 17.

At 10 a.m., the big event for White will be held at the Classic Cinemas Lake Theatre in downtown Oak Park. The marquee will be showing pictures of White, and there will be cutouts of her image with which participants can take pictures.

Oak Park Village President Vicki Scaman will give a proclamation for Betty White Day and a representative from the Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest will give a speech on what Oak Park looked like 100 years ago.

Turano Bakery will provide a birthday cake. The Village of Oak Park also encouraged local businesses to provide a Betty White special that day.

The Village of Oak Park noted that White was born at West Suburban Hospital in 1922, and lived with her parents in an apartment on Pleasant Street and a house on North Taylor Avenue. White's family moved to Los Angeles when she was a toddler, but, the village said, "she lived her life according to principles that Oak Park came to honor."

"White believed in equality and stood by that her whole career. She defied pressure in 1954 to fire dancer Arthur Duncan from her daytime talk show for his Black skin," Stacey Sheridan wrote for the village. "Her advocacy for the welfare of animals spanned decades. She also bucked social constructs. She supported the rights of LGBTQ individuals to marry and became a beloved figure within the gay community."

White played clueless Rose Nylund on the hit show "The Golden Girls" from 1985 until 1992. She was praised for her role as the lustful Sue Ann Nivens on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."

White also played outspoken caretaker on "Hot In Cleveland." She also drew laughs in the 2009 comedy "The Proposal" and the horror spoof "Lake Placid."

By popular demand, she hosted "Saturday Night Live" in 2011. White once said her character Sue Ann Nivens in "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" could be "icky-sweet" but was "really a piranha type." That role brought her two Emmys.

The Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest said White specifically wrote them a letter saying she wants people to know she is from Oak Park – not Chicago.

(© Copyright 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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