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October 21, 2014

'The Golden Girls' 25th Anniversary: 11 Fun Facts

by Jane Murphy, posted Sep 14th 2010 3:50PM
Golden Girls'The Golden Girls' celebrates its 25th anniversary today. The show premiered on Sept. 14, 1985 and during its seven-year run, it won two Emmys and three Golden Globes. Its platinum cast (Beatrice Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty) was also honored, with each lady earning multiple Emmy nominations and at least one win each.

So, in honor of the 'Golden Girls' birthday, we compiled fun facts and clips from the classic NBC sitcom.

Some of the tidbits so startling, you might want to reach for that extra ginkoba (yes, that is George Clooney!).



1. A Golden Age
The mid-'80s and early '90s ushered in an era of programming with senior stars. In addition to 'The Golden Girls', there was 'Matlock', 'The Equalizer, 'Falcon Crest' and 'Murder She Wrote'. In this clip, prime time stalwarts and one-time Broadway co-stars Angela Lansbury and Bea Arthur duet on the Tonys.


2. Spin City
'Empty Nest' was a Golden Girls spin-off. It was originally conceived as a domestic comedy centering on a sparring couple, played by Rita Moreno and Paul Dooley ('Huge', pictured left). Moreno and Dooley never returned for a second 'GG' appearance or to the NBC prime time line up.

'Nest' ended up being a star vehicle for 'Soap's Richard Mulligan.


3. The Switch
Rue was almost Rose, and Betty was almost Blanche? This clip from a 'Golden Girls' gathering at the Paley Center for Media tells all.


4. Inglourious Cameo
Quentin Tarantino's path from video store clerk to cinematic auteur had a stopover in the sunshine state. The tall Elvis impersonator in the back row? That's 'Golden Girls' guest star Tarantino in his acting days.




5. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
Did you know 'The Golden Girls' had as many pining exes and suitors as Carrie Bradshaw and 'Sex and the City' company?

A host of distinguished character actors appeared as significant others: Herb Edelman (Dorothy's ex-husband), Alex Rocco (Dorothy's married boyfriend), George Grizzard (Blanche's ex and his look-alike brother), Jack Gilford (Sophia's husband Max) and Harold Gould (who played Rose's longtime boyfriend. Gould, pictured left, passed away Saturday).

Here's a great clip with Betty White and Grizzard – not from 'The Golden Girls', but a 1962 film, 'Advise and Consent', in which they played warring senators.



6. Family Matters
Dorothy and Sophia only managed first runner up in a local mother-daughter beauty pageant, despite their stunning gold lame gowns. In the same episode, Blanche is tickled when a young man starts following her, but he turns out to be long-lost kin. The mystery man is played by Mark Moses ('Desperate Housewives', 'Mad Men')




7. Golden Guy
'The Golden Palace' was a 'Golden Girls' spin-off? Nope, we don't remember this 1992-1993 show either. Bea Arthur opted out of the CBS re-imagining of 'Golden Girls', wanting to pursue other projects. 'Palace' still featured a fantastic foursome: Betty White, Estelle Getty, Rue McClanahan and ... Don Cheadle?




8. Tune In
'Thank you for Being a Friend,' the show's feel-good theme song, was written by Andrew Gold. A singer-songwriter of some note in the '70s and '80s, he's responsible for one of the Top 40s most depressing hits, a meditation on sibling rivalry called 'Lonely Boy'.



9. Cherry Picking
'Desperate Housewives' creator Marc Cherry was a 'GG' scribe. Could we see 'Housewives 2035', when live-in nurses descend on Wisteria Lane?!


Jenny Lewis10. Bad-News Bear
Rose had a beloved teddy bear, and in one episode called 'Old Friends', it was held hostage by a manipulative neighborhood tween. The episode was singled out by the Lifetime Network during in its tribute to Estelle Getty in 2008.

The evil girl in 'Old Friends' was played by Jenny Lewis, who grew up to be an indie recording artist and the creative force behind the rock-folk group Rilo Kiley.


11. Mama Mia
The episode 'Mother's Day' had two memorable guest stars: Bea Arthur and Estelle Getty. In a flashback to 1957, Arthur played Sophia's mother, and Getty played a younger version of Sophia (Getty was barely in her 60s when she played octogenarian Sophia on 'GG'). The episode can be seen on DVD or on YouTube.


Share some of your favorite 'Golden Girls' moments in the comments.

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Coach BOB

My favorite Golden Girls moment was when Rose told her story of the herring circus. I do believe that Blanche
and Dorthey truly lost it when Dorthey asked Rose if they ever shot a herring out of a cannon.

September 22 2011 at 1:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rick cokely

Wow all this information and not one mention of Joss Whedon's father Tom Wheadon being the head writer for many years. First FOX cancels Firefly now this snub!!

September 15 2010 at 12:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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