65 Facts About 'The Golden Girls' For The Sitcom Fan In You | Kidadl


65 Facts About 'The Golden Girls' For The Sitcom Fan In You

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'The Golden Girls' premiered in 1985 and the series went on for seven years.

A skit by Doris Roberts and Selma Diamond at NBC upfronts was the inspiration behind 'The Golden Girls'. It was a story revolving around four elderly women.

'The Golden Girls' is a clipping for a situational comedy created by Susan Harris. This comedy genre was aired on NBC in America. This sitcom had many principal characters who shared equal responsibility of entertaining the audience. Produced by Witt/Thomas/Harris Productions, the show cast included Beatrice Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan, and Estelle Getty, who played the four lead roles. Produced in association with Touchstone Television, the show's first episode aired on September 14, 1985, and continued to showcase until its last episode on May 9, 1992. That was a total of 180 episodes, with each episode spanning half an hour and divided into seven seasons.

First Episode Of 'The Golden Girls'

The first episode of 'The Golden Girls' had a cook and the four main characters of the plot. The script had many scenes where these main characters would interact in the kitchen. So, the cook, Sophia, looked like an extra, and thus the cook in the first episode never featured again. But the actor Getty had positive feedback, and she stayed on as one of the main characters.

With a wonderful cast, this comedy series had great acclaim right from the very beginning. The plot revolves around four elderly women; three widows, and one divorcee. The four share a house in Miami. In the final episode, Dorothy (Bea Arthur) moves away from the Miami house after getting married. 

The Cast Of 'The Golden Girls'

The main characters in this series are four elderly women. Beatrice Arthur played the role of Dorothy Zbornak, Betty White played the role of Rose Nylund, Rue McClanahan played the role of Blanche Devereaux, and Estelle Getty played the role of Sophia Petrillo.

Bea Arthur is a stand-up comedian, actor, and singer who has performed all over the world. Her long and illustrious career featured famous performances as Maude Findlay on the 1970s sitcom Maude and Dorothy Zbornak on the hit sitcom 'The Golden Girls'. Bea's work has mostly been in the theater and on television, but she has also directed a few films. She was regularly seen on 'Caesar's Hour' and had her theater debut in 'The Threepenny Opera.' As an actress, she made her Broadway debut in 1964 in the original production of 'Fiddler on the Roof', which is a renowned play about a Jewish family. She was also very famous for her role as neighborhood nymphomaniac, Sue Ann Nivens, on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Lee Grant was to play as Dorothy, but she turned down the offer. Sadly, Bea Arthur died in 2009, at the age of 86.

Did you know McClanahan described Arthur as a very, very eccentric woman?

Dorothy is introduced as a snarky substitute teacher and mother who is thoughtful, compassionate, and fiercely protective of those she deems family. Dorothy's ex-husband Stanley had recently divorced her. Blanche Devereaux's Miami residence is home to her mother, Sophia Petrillo, and roommate Rose Nylund (Rue McClanahan). Dorothy was the quartet's den mother and voice of reason, termed 'the great leveler' by Bea Arthur, even if she acted carelessly or unfavorably on occasion, necessitating the help of her friends and family to bring her back to reality. She was termed the 'great balloon pricker' by Arthur because she openly defied hypocrisy, injustice, cruelty, delusion, short-sighted comments, and behavior she found dull, ill-considered, harsh, or ludicrous.

Did you know, according to Susan Harris, Lee Grant was to play Dorothy?

Betty White was a wonderful American actress and well-acclaimed comedian. White is very well known for her extensive work in this vast entertainment industry and was one of the first few women to assert power onscreen and behind the camera. She was also known to be the first woman to produce a sitcom and had a career spanning over nine decades. In 1930, White was only eight years old when she started her radio career in Los Angeles. White became a regular panelist on American game programs after making the shift to television. White has the Guinness World Record for having worked in television for the longest time of anyone in the profession, with a career spanning nine decades.

Did you know that Betty White was famous for playing promiscuous roles like Sue Ann on 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show'?

Matthew Saks, Bea Arthur's son, recalled that Betty would often chat with the audience, much to his mother's annoyance! This would often make Bea mad.

Rose is shown as a simple-minded yokel who is naive. She also exhibits other aspects of her personality in the sitcom. In a November 1985 episode involving a bowling tournament and a January 1989 episode in which she coaches a children's football team, she displays a vicious competitive streak. She also revealed that she had to switch schools once due to a 'nasty field hockey incident.' She also demonstrates astonishing practical ability, installing all-new bathroom plumbing almost single-handedly on one occasion. White was offered to play Rose in the series.

In the trailblazing American television series 'The Golden Girls', Rue McClanahan rose to international renown as Blanche Devereaux, a nymphomaniacal Southern belle living out her days in Miami with three other ladies. McClanahan put a clause in her contract that allowed her to keep all of her custom-made gowns because they were so lovely. When the show concluded, she was said to have 13 closets full of designer clothes. Sadly, Rue McClanahan died in 2010 at the age of 76.

Rose Nylund, Dorothy Zbornak, and Sophia Petrillo share a room with Blanche, who also serves as their landlord. Rose and she are frequently involved in the same activities throughout the series. Rose was both her best friend and a surrogate sister, and she, like Dorothy and Sophia, was annoyed at times by Blanche's continual narrating. The Southern belle, Blanche, worked at an art museum. Blanche was born into an affluent family and grew up on a plantation outside of Atlanta, Georgia, before moving to Miami with her husband, George, where they lived until George's death. Six children were born into their union. Blanche, a widow, was characterized as conceited and lustful for men.

Estelle Gettleman's stage name is Estelle Getty. She was a wonderful American actress and a much-acclaimed comedian. Her performance in the role of Sophia Petrillo on the television series 'The Golden Girls' was well applauded. 'Empty Nest', 'The Golden Palace', as well as 'Blossom' and 'Nurses' saw her reprise the role. 'Mask', a semi-biographical film, and 'Stuart Little' are two notable films in which she appeared. She died in the year 2008.

Did you know that the makeup team had to spend an hour every day to make Estelle look old enough to play Sophia?

Sophia, on the other hand, had no choice but to move in with her divorced daughter, Dorothy, after her retirement home burned down. She is a crazed, loudmouthed woman who always has something to moan about. She is, nevertheless, sympathetic and loves Rose and Blanche as if they were her own children, just like Dorothy. It's not simply because she likes the sound of her Brooklyn-accented voice that she's eager to provide counsel to anyone. She loves them as if they were family, whether they are biological kin or not.

Did you know that in real life, Estelle Getty was a year younger than her on-screen daughter in the series?

'The Golden Girls' Reunion

In the years following the series' conclusion in 1992, a 'The Golden Girls' reunion film would have been fantastic. Consider the sentiment. It's possible that a reunion program or film would have been produced. 

It drew quite a crowd. Millions of people still continue to watch reruns of 'The Golden Girls' on cable networks and streaming platforms. However, Bea Arthur, who played Dorothy, Sophia's daughter, and Blanche and Dorothy's roommate, declined the offer. According to the actress, any reunion show would not be able to compete with the original series.

Princess Diana was a fan of 'The Golden Girls' as well.

Fun Facts About 'The Golden Girls'

'The Golden Girls' was well appreciated and acclaimed throughout its showtime. 'The Golden Girls' had a very big fan base with several awards in its pocket. And it is one of only four occasions in history where all the principal characters received an Emmy Award. The show itself grabbed the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series. The sitcom was in 69th position in the list of 101 Best Written TV Series of All Time by the Writers Guild of America in 2014. Also, Neilson's ratings had the series in its top 10 list during all of its seven seasons. What's more, TV Guide placed it in 54th position among the top 60 best series of all time.

The series also has three Golden Globe Awards for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy. As Terry Tang rightly said, 'The Golden Girls' is 'a sitcom that aged well' in his report with Associated Press and has growing popularity even in the 21st century.

Before working together for 'The Golden Girls,' Betty White and Rue McClanahan had worked together previously. They both acted in 'Mama's Family', 'The Carol Burnett Show', a few years before 'The Golden Girls'. Betty and Rue landed parts on 'The Golden Girls' after two seasons of 'Mama's Family', after the program went on hiatus.

Elaine Stritch played Dorothy in a casting call. According to reports, the actress was passed over for the position. According to her account, it was because she was disliked by one of the show's writers. It is alleged she may have also said a swear word during the audition.

Did you know that Jim Colucci is the author of 'Golden Girls Forever: An Unauthorized Biography'?

Famous visitors to 'The Golden Girls' included George Clooney, Sonny Bono, Burt Reynolds, Quentin Tarantino, and Leslie Nielsen. Also, the Queen-mother greatly enjoyed the show.

After 'The Golden Girls' series was over, a sitcom, 'Golden Palace', with just one season, was telecasted on CBS and is said to be the sequel. Though Bea Arthur was not in the main cast, she had done a guest appearance with the other three leads in the series. Similarly, 'Empty Nest' led to three seasons of 'Nurses'. Susan Harris produced all four sitcoms along with many more to her credit.

Written By
Sridevi Tolety

<p>With a Master's degree in clinical research from Manipal University and a PG Diploma in journalism from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Sridevi has cultivated her passion for writing across various domains. She has authored a wide range of articles, blogs, travelogues, creative content, and short stories that have been published in leading magazines, newspapers, and websites. Sridevi is fluent in four languages and enjoys spending her spare time with loved ones. Her hobbies include reading, traveling, cooking, painting, and listening to music.</p>

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