The golden girls still make fans laugh 30 years after the last episode aired. To commemorate the quartet known as Dorothy (Bea Arthur), Blanche (Rue McClanahan), Rose (Betty White) and Sophia (Estelle Getty), three men who knew them well recently shared some of their fondest memories The Golden Girls Insider Show in Southern California.
Getty’s longtime personal assistant Richard Weaver, Arthur’s personal assistant Dan Watt and Art Harding – a makeup artist who worked on the series for five seasons – were buried The golden girls Tea. Including the fact that Arthur actually called Getty “ma” in real life.
Harding recently told Closer Magazine that sometimes the stars of The golden girls didn’t get it. But no matter what the problems were among the cast, “there were no divas.”
“There were some difficult relationships, but they were always professional on set. They always knew their lines and were always ready to roll,” Harding said.
Watt noted that Arthur, McClanahan, and White ate lunch and rehearsed together most days. “However, Estelle preferred to go to her trailer to study her lines.” He also revealed that despite his boss’s bossy presence in real life, Arthur was quite shy and “hated talking about himself.”
“She had some quirks like she hated people chewing gum,” Harding added.
Although she was shy, Arthur was vocal when she had to be. Watt recalled a time when a director was hired to do an episode that the four actresses felt was a bad fit for the show, and Arthur stood up and said something.
“She had the chutzpah to speak out and share everyone’s opinion. She walked over and said, ‘Shouldn’t a comedy director be funny? I’m going to lunch now,” Watts shared, adding that the director was replaced the next day.
Weaver noted that Arthur could be quite generous with her co-stars. She had a guide dog trained on White’s behalf for Christmas because she was a big animal lover. And when McClanahan struggled after her divorce, Arthur sent her plane tickets and invited her to stay with her.
However, her closest friendship on the show was with Getty. Although she played Arthur’s mother on screen, the two co-stars were actually less than a year old. But that didn’t stop Arthur from calling Getty “ma” in real life.
On Getty’s 75th birthday, Arthur showed up with a large gift bag and tossed it to Weaver. “Bea said, ‘Happy birthday, Ma. Here is a [freaking] brisket.’ It was an inside joke because they’re both Jewish. She literally brought her a brisket!”
Weaver explained that Arthur lost her real mother during the taping golden girls, and she “looked at Estelle as a mom at that point.” He says Getty coddled Arthur and that kindness was repaid by helping her co-star with her stage fright.
Weaver revealed that Getty suffered severely from stage fright and often had trouble remembering her lines.
“There was an insecure part about Estelle because she was up against these powerhouse veterans,” Weaver said. “Bea told me that sometimes she would go into Estelle’s dressing room and help her calm down. That’s when Bea became the mother figure in their relationship.”
The golden girls now streaming on Hulu.
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