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22 Golden Girls Facts You Probably Didn't Know!

Here are some essential facts every Golden Girls fan should know!

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Beano Facts Team
Last Updated:Β  December 16th 2022

The Golden Girls was a classic American sitcom which began in the mid '80s and ran for seven years. It's about four retired women who live in a house in Miami and the show has some of the funniest jokes you'll ever hear! You can stream every episode on Disney + and find out for yourself what the fuss is about. Before you watch them all, here are 22 awesome facts which will turn you into a Golden Girls super fan in next to no time!

1. It would take you almost four days to watch every episode!

The Golden Girls was first broadcast in 1985 and lasted for seven seasons. There were 180 30-minute episodes filmed in total over the seven years. The last episode – a two-parter titled One Flew Out of the Cuckoo's Nest – was shown on May 9, 1992.

2. There were four main characters in the show!

There's Dorothy Zbornak (played by actor Bea Arthur), Sophia Petrillo (Estelle Getty), Rose Nylund (Betty White) and Blanche Devereaux (Rue McClanahan). Which character are you most like?

3. The show is set in Miami

Dorothy, Sophia, Rose and Blanche live together at 6151 Richmond Street in Miami, Florida. The house was owned by Blanche and the others responded to a rental advert.

4. Cheesecake was the fifth main character (sort of)

A slice of cheesecake

In the show, if any of the characters had a problem, they'd have some cheesecake and talk it through. Over 100 cheesecakes were eaten over the course of the seven seasons!

5. The actress who played Dorothy hated cheesecake!

Bea Arthur also wasn't keen on wearing shoes, birds, chewing gum and baseball caps worn backwards.

6. Some of your favourite cartoons have paid tribute to the show!

Teen Titans Go! | DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Animation | Cartoon Network

The people behind Teen Titans Go! loved the show so much, they had the characters make a special appearance in the episode 'Oil Drums' and 'Two Parter'. The Amazing World of Gumball featured the characters in their 2018 episode, 'The Lady'.

7. The Golden Girls appeared at a show for the Royal Family!

BBC

The cast appeared on stage before Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother (who was a huge fan) and Princess Margaret at the Royal Variety Performance on November 21, 1988. The show took place at the London Palladium and many famous people performed, including Rick Astley, Kylie Minogue and the cast of Neighbours, plus magician Paul Daniels.

8. Betty White and Bea Arthur were both 63 when the series began!

Dorothy and Rose in a scene from the Golden Girls
The Golden Girls | Witt/Thomas/Harris Productions, Touchstone Television

Bea Arthur was born on May 13, 1922, while Betty White was born a few months earlier on January 17. All of the cast members had long careers as actors, and appeared in several big TV shows before The Golden Girls started.

9. Estelle Getty was 62!

Sophia in The Golden Girls
The Golden Girls | Witt/Thomas/Harris Productions, Touchstone Television

Getty was born in 1923, which made her actually younger than her onscreen daughter by 1 year, 2 months, and 12 days! Even though she was the oldest of the Golden Girls, she was the second youngest of the four main characters. Rue McClanahan was born in 1934, making her the youngest of the gang.

10. Rue and Betty loved playing word games during filming!

Betty White and Rue McClanahan were both fans of word puzzles and would often spend time in between takes challenging each other to alphabet games, like naming cars beginning with A, B, C and so on. They would have loved Wordle!

11. Rue McClanahan got to keep her outfits!

A grandma putting some make up on

It's said that the Rue McClanahan had it written into her show contract that she was allowed to keep any of the clothes her character wore on set. Over the course of 180 episodes, it's no wonder that she had around 13 wardrobes full of outfits by the time the show ended!

12. There were usually 3 chairs at the kitchen table

A camera operator

The Golden Girls would often gather at the kitchen table to talk about their day, but there'd be three chairs around the iconic glass table, even though four characters lived in the house. This was to make shooting scenes easier;Β one character would usually stand during certain parts of the show or just be somewhere else. If there were four chairs, someone's head might get in the way!

13. The actors took their time rehearsing each episode

To make sure their lines and jokes were delivered perfectly every time, the four actors would spend around nine hours preparing for each show. That's why The Golden Girls became very popular and is still loved almost four decades later!

14. Estelle Getty spent ages in make up before filming!

It apparently took make-up artists 45 minutes or so to turn Estelle Getty into her character Sophia. They used special techniques to give her enough wrinkles to make her look much older than she really was.

15. It was Rue McClanahan's idea to have a southern accent

A scene from The Golden Girls
The Golden Girls | Witt/Thomas/Harris Productions, Touchstone Television

When the show's creators came up with a character called Blanche Devereaux, there was no mention of her having a southern accent. That was actress Rue McClanahan's idea and if you wanted the seasons in order, you'll notice it gets stronger throughout the show.

16. Betty White's story about 'The Great Herring War' caused her co-stars to laugh during the scene

This scene is one of the funniest Golden Girls moments of all. It features Rose talking about the rivalry between the Lindstroms and the Johanssons who lived on the Norwegian coast. Bea Arthur, who played Dorothy, cracks up when she asks a question about what happens at a herring circus but the scene was so good, they kept it in the show rather than doing it all again.

17. The show was popular around the world!

The show was broadcast and loved in around 60 countries. It was also remade in Holland, Greece, Mexico and Russia. The British version was called The Brighton Belles and lasted one series in the mid 90s.

18. The theme song was almost something else entirely

A man and two cats singing at a piano

The show's producers originally wanted to use Friends by Bette Midler, but it was too expensive to use. Cynthia Fee sang the theme song Thank You for Being a Friend, which was originally written and recorded by Andrew Gold in 1978. His version was a hit in its own right!

19. The outdoor shot of house wasn't in Florida!

During the show, you'll often see an outside shot of their house to let the viewers know where the next scene will take place. This is called an establishing shot and is very common in TV and film. While the show was set in Miami, the house you see was actually in the Los Angeles area of Brentwood. The house was sold in 2020 for $4 million! We hope the people who bought it were fans of The Golden Girls because that's the ultimate piece of fan memorabilia!

20. Estelle Getty was careful about the jokes Sophia would make!

Estelle Getty in The Golden Girls
The Golden Girls | Witt/Thomas/Harris Productions, Touchstone Television

The actor didn't like jokes which would make fun of people's appearance, which is a good rule to live by. "Why would you make fun of somebody?" she once said.

21. The show won many awards!

During their seven seasons, The Golden Girls was nominated for an amazing 68 Emmy awards – like the Oscars for TV – and won 11 times in total!

22. Several spin-off shows were made after The Golden Girls ended!

The Golden Palace | Witt/Thomas/Harris Productions, Touchstone Television

The first was called The Golden Palace and featured the main cast, except Bea Arthur. The show, which followed the characters' attempts to renovate a hotel, lasted only one season. Then came Empty Nest and Nurses, but none reached the giddy heights of the original show.