‘Golden Girls’: Bea Arthur Passionately Explained How Show Forever Shifted Perception of Elderly Women

by Joe Rutland

Bea Arthur played a role in helping the public shift perceptions of elderly women thanks to being a part of “The Golden Girls” cast.

Arthur talked about it during an interview for Pop Goes The Culture TV.

“When I read that first script, I wasn’t even aware that we were older women,” Arthur said. “I just thought, ‘What a funny, funny, literate piece of writing.’

“And, of course, very shortly after that it became obvious that everyone thought, ‘Oh, isn’t this odd and wonderful,'” she said. “‘Here are a group of elderly women, very well-groomed, great earrings, active sex lives.’ You know, prior to that, when we thought of elderly people you could almost smell them, and here were these viable, fabulous women. Oh, I adored them.”

Arthur played Dorothy on “The Golden Girls” alongside Betty White, Rue McClanahan, and Estelle Getty. Arthur died on April 25, 2009, at 86 years old. Only White, who played Rose, remains alive from the NBC sitcom cast. McClanahan played Blanche and Getty played Sophia.

‘Golden Girls’ Star Had Reputation For Being Rather Tight With Money

While Arthur welcomed her success on “The Golden Girls” and previously on CBS’s “Maude,” she could be tight with her money.

In fact, one “Golden Girls” insider reportedly says Arthur had that reputation. This anonymous person also says Arthur spent money on her costars, according to an article from OK Magazine.

“But she would spring for tickets for all four of them to attend a play together,” this anonymous show insider said. Matthew Saks, who is Bea Arthur’s son, said his mother mostly “just liked to go home and read the paper” after work.

This article also mentions that White would throw dinner parties at her home and hire a personal chef. So White and Arthur took different paths when it came to money.

Arthur Gets A Chance To Do ‘Maude’ Spinoff But She Turns It Down

As is mentioned earlier, Arthur finds success playing Maude Findlay on Norman Lear’s “Maude.”

“Maude” was a show that talked about issues important to women in the 1970s.

In a November 2002 interview with the “Globe and Mail,” Arthur talked about why she quit “Maude.”

“The last episode of ‘Maude’ had me winning some political position — I can’t remember what — and Norman and the network wanted to continue and base me in Washington with a whole new cast except for the husband,” Arthur said. “I didn’t know what we could prove by doing that. She had run her course. It was time to leave.”

Well, she did leave but Arthur spent time doing theater work before “The Golden Girls.”