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Betty White is one step closer to a major milestone, and with insurrections, viruses and an economy that's tanked, at least we can all unite in this celebration.

Betty turned 99 today, and she waxed philosophical ... "I can stay up as late as I want without asking permission."

Well, maybe no philosophical, but Betty's awesome!!!

Her plans for today ... feeding a couple ducks that hang at her L.A. home.

As for what's on the menu -- a hot dog and french fries, courtesy of her agent, Jeff Witjas.

ICYMI -- as in the last 80 years -- Betty's show biz career began in 1939

Most actors and actresses are lucky if they get one gigantic hit during their careers, but after Betty got her first she did not rest. Her role as Sue Ann Nivens on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" was epic, and the show was one of the biggest hits in TV history.

And, as you know, she followed that up with "The Golden Girls" ... she played the character Rose for 8 years and 204 episodes.

Betty's fame has endured to this day. One of the great show biz stories is the groundswell that led to her hosting "SNL" back in 2010.

As for where it all began ... Oak Park, Illinois in 1922. She wanted to be a forest ranger but women at the time weren't allowed.

Betty was married to Allen Ludden, the OG "Password" host, from 1963 to his death in 1981.

Happy birthday, Betty!!!

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