It’s a beloved classic that racked up 11 Emmys (including one for every main character!) in its 7-year run, but most people don’t know these wacky, behind-the-scenes stories that are totally true.
golden girls facts elaine stritch audition
She Came Close
Brash actress and Broadway legend Elaine Stritch was up for the part of Dorothy, but she lost out after she kept rewriting her own lines--and dropping F-bombs--during her beer-fueled audition.
golden girls facts bea arthur older
Close in Age
Bea Arthur, who's 5' 9, wasn't just taller than her on-show mom, the 4'11 Estelle Getty; she was also OLDER than her by three months.
golden girls estelle face lift
To play her 80-year-old character, 63-year-old Getty wore a white wig and prosthetic wrinkles. (Her elderly look got even harder to pull off during season 2, because she'd had a facelift that summer!)
golden girls keep clothes
Can You Blame Her?
Rue McClanahan apparently had a clause in her contract that allowed her to keep all of Blanche's custom-designed clothing--even the silk lingerie!
golden girls estelle stage fright
Major Stage Fright
Getty would often freeze on camera during tapings. The least experienced actress of the four, she once said she worried fans would “find out” that she wasn’t as good as her co-stars.
golden girls rose and dorothy
While Dorothy frequently made fun of Rose on the show, it may not have been all for the cameras; Betty White once said Bea Arthur had an “intense dislike” for her in real life and once called her a "pain in the neck."
golden girls 3 chairs
Four's a Crowd
Although the four characters were roommates, there were always only three chairs at the kitchen table--and Bea was always given the center chair. (Looks like Rue pulled over a stool in this scene!)
golden girls betty and rue swapped
McClanahan was originally supposed to play Rose, and White was supposed to play Blanche! We're so glad they swapped.
golden girls cheesecake
For some reason, cheesecake was featured in almost 100 episodes of the show, Bea Arthur--who hates cheesecake--once said.
golden girls lanai
You Mean, the Porch?
Though it was a popular term in Florida, The Golden Girls is known for introducing a wider, national audience to the word "lanai," which means an enclosed sun porch.
golden girls rue accent
It was McClanahan's idea to give her character, Blanche, her Southern accent--which definitely isn't as noticeable in the first few episodes.
golden girls queen
Royals: Just Like Us!
Queen Elizabeth was apparently a huge fan of the show, inviting the actresses to perform live at 1988’s Royal Variety Performance in London.