Susan Lucci Remembers Betty White Welcoming Her to 'Hot in Cleveland' Set: 'She Was Just Delightful'

"Betty White was everything you would hope Betty White would be," Susan Lucci told PEOPLE

Betty White, Susan Lucci
Photo: Getty

Susan Lucci is remembering Betty White for the kind person that she was.

While chatting with PEOPLE about her ongoing collaboration with the American Heart Association and its Go Red for Women initiative, the 75-year-old actress also opened up about previously working with White on the set of the television series Hot in Cleveland.

Recalling how her time guest-starring on the show as a fictionalized version of herself was "just so much fun," Lucci said she met White for the first time during rehearsals for the sitcom.

"When I got there, I opened the door to the sound stage and it was dark except for one set that was lit because they were rehearsing," she told PEOPLE. "I stood there by the door because I didn't want to make any movement to possibly interrupt the rehearsing, I didn't want to be in any of the actor's sightlines, so I was just kind of hanging by the door."

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Susan Lucci
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Noting that she could see director's chairs in the distance of the soundstage, Lucci explained, "All of a sudden Betty White — who I had never met, but admired so much, of course, from Golden Girls and everything else, just like everybody else — called out to me in a stage whisper, 'Susan, Susan! Come sit next to me,' and she patted the director's chair next to her."

"I will never forget that," she said. "I mean, I was the new girl in town. I had no idea what to expect."

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Susan Lucci

"And certainly, to have Betty White welcome me so beautifully, and have me sit next to her — first of all, she called me by name. That Betty White knew my name was amazing to me," Lucci continued. "And she was just delightful as that moment, all the way through."

"Betty White was everything you would hope Betty White would be," the All My Children actress added, noting that White was also "warm, gracious and talented" altogether.

RELATED VIDEO: Betty White Has Been Beloved by Hollywood for Decades

White died late last year on Dec. 31 at age 99. The beloved actress' agent and close friend Jeff Witjas first confirmed to PEOPLE in a statement that White "died peacefully in her sleep at her home" that morning.

The Proposal star died due after suffering a cerebrovascular incident, according to her death certificate, which was obtained by PEOPLE last month. A source previously told PEOPLE, "It was a mild stroke. She died peacefully in her sleep."

"Even though Betty was about to be 100, I thought she would live forever," Witjas said previously. "I will miss her terribly and so will the animal world that she loved so much. I don't think Betty ever feared passing because she always wanted to be with her most beloved husband Allen Ludden. She believed she would be with him again."

White, who was preparing to celebrate her 100th birthday on Jan. 17, opened up to PEOPLE about her feelings about the milestone occasion before her death. "I'm so lucky to be in such good health and feel so good at this age," she said at the time. "It's amazing."

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