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30 Golden Girls facts even the biggest fan may not know

1. There was a butler in the pilot.

2. “Blanche” had previously worked with both Bea Arthur and Betty White in “Maude” and “Mama’s Family”.

3. Some of the series facts (names of kids, relatives, character histories) were inconsistent due to different writing teams.

4. The layout of the house went through “renovation”.

5. Andrew wrote and recorded the theme song–“Thank You for Being a Friend,” but for the show Cynthia Fee sang.

6. Elaine Stritch had auditioned for the part of Dorothy. “I didn’t get the job,” she said. “I blew a multi-million, zillion dollar, international, syndicated, residual-grabbing, bopparoni, smasharoni, television situation comedy entitled, ‘The Golden Girls’!” She claimed the writer didn’t likeher.

7. The character of Dorothy was described as a “Bea Arthur” type. The actress “thought it was brilliant,” she told the Archive of American Television of reading the first script. “I thought it was one of the funniest, most adult, hilarious, sophisticated, terrific, delicious things I had ever read.”

8. Rue said things happened differently than that and that she’d had to talk Arthur into taking the part. “I said, ‘Why are you turning down the best script that’s ever going to come across your desk as long as you live?’ and she said, ‘Rue, I have no interest in playing Maude and Vivian meets Sue Ann Nevins.’” Eventually, McClanahan explained that she was going to play Blanche and White was going to play Rose, and that piqued Arthur’s interest.

9. The part of Blanche was offered to Betty, and Rue was given the part of Rose. Eventually, they switched.

10. Estelle showed up to the audition looking like “a little old lady”, the New York Times claimed. A decision that won her the role of Sofia.

11. Bea was the oldest golden girl, not Estelle.

12. Estelle was Jewish and had qualms about her character’s place of origin. “She kept saying, ‘Can’t we make these characters Jewish?!’ She would’ve felt so much more comfortable than trying to be Italian,” she recalled. “Although, I mean, it worked.”

13. Dorothy loved cheesecake. Bea Arthur did not.

14. Queen Elizabeth loved the show. The cast actually performed for her.

15. Apparently, Sir Laurence Olivier was another big fan.

16.It took nine hours to shoot an episode.

17. “Golden Girls” tackled many hot button issues–AIDS, gay marriage, and teen pregnancy.

18. Estelle censored what Sofia said. “I have a thing about gratuitous pain,” she said. “Why would you make fun of somebody who’s fat or who’s cross-eyed or who’s bald? And I won’t do gay-bashing jokes.” She also rejected a joke once that had a punchline relating to domestic violence.

19. Betty and Rue played word games in between takes.

20. Rue got to keep all of her clothes thanks to special clause in her contract.

21. “Bea and I didn’t have a lot of relationship going on. Bea is a very, very eccentric woman. She wouldn’t go to lunch unless Betty [White] would go with her,” Rue said in an interview with the Archive of American Television. “She was very dependent on keeping everything as it always had been, and I was anything but that.”

22. Estelle had horrible stage fright in front of live audiences.

23. Bea said that one of her favorite scenes was with Estelle in which they dressed as Sonny and Cher and sang “I Got You Babe.” “Oh God, it was fun,” she told the Archive of American Television.

24. Leslie Nielsen, Caesar Romero, Sonny Bono, Lyle Wagner, and even George Clooney were among the show’s many guest stars.

25. Every character was engaged or married in the show. Dorothy got married and moved in the final episode.

26. 27.2 million people watched the show’s 1992 series finale.

27. “Golden Girls” spawned two spin-offs: “Empty Nest” and “Golden Palace.” The “Empty Nest” pilot was an episode on “Golden Girls” featuring Rita Moreno. “Golden Palace” was the show that came after the “Golden Girls” featuring three of the four stars. (Bea passed.)

28. Rue wrote in her memoir, “My Five Husbands… and the Ones Who Got Away” that she proposed the idea of having a fourth roommate replace Dorothy in “Golden Palace,” but the producers rejected the idea. “‘The Golden Girls’ was already in syndication which is where the producers make the megabucks,” she wrote. “This new show only had to last three seasons to go into syndication. More megabucks. But it was too big a gamble in my opinion, which of course, counted for a flea’s fart.” “Golden Palace” was canceled after one season.

29. All three actresses involved in “Golden Palace” made the same salary.

30. Betty is the only living “Golden Girl.” Estelle died in 2008 at 84 from Lewy body dementia, Bea died of cancer at 86 in 2009, and Rue died at 76 in 2010 from a stroke.


Wendy Witkop

Monday 21st of September 2015

In number 27, Bea wasn't in Golden Palace, but not because she had passed, not at that time (1992-1993). Her character had gotten married and left. She actually appeared in a couple of episodes of Golden Palace as a special guest star.

Erica Cason Dean

Tuesday 29th of September 2015

They meant because she passed on the role as a permanent character, not that she had passed away. I thought the same thing.

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