The Golden Girls hit sitcom may have ended 25 years ago, but it’ll always be known as a mirror into the lives of what it meant to be a single lady in their golden years.
Bea Arthur was a liberal activist at the time and if NBC had their way, Bea Arthur never would have been cast in that iconic role. While Arthur eventually did get the part, it was originally offered to another actress, Lee Grant. The network was hesitant to cast Arthur in the role because she was a controversial actress at the time.
The ladies may have been the best of friends on the sitcom, but that wasn’t the case once the cameras stopped rolling. It was no secret at the time that Bea Arthur wasn’t fond of her co-stars. While Betty White and Rue McClanahan were friends on and off set, neither were too friendly with Ms. Arthur. Apparently Bea would even go out to lunch away from set.
Rue McClanahan got to keep her entire ardrobe. Everyone knows Blanche was known for being a sassy, southern, and sultry woman with a closet built to reflect those delectable qualities. From form fitting dresses to elaborate accessories and hats. As a way to enhance her time on the show, McClanahan was guaranteed each outfit she wore during the duration of the series.
Estelle Getty who plays the oldest ‘girl’ on the show, Sophia, was actually the youngest women on the set even though she was supposed to be Dorothy’s elderly mom. Estelle was a year younger than Bea which sparked the rumor that she had to spend hours in the makeup chair to make her appear older. Getty had a face lift between seasons making the producers spend even more time and money for the makeup department.
Queen Elizabeth commissioned the girls to do a live performance of it for her at the London Palladium. Estelle may have had stage fright but the live show went off without a hitch and the Queen gave a standing ovation!