‘Golden Girls’: Betty White Explained Why Rose ‘Marched to a Different Drum’ in Flashback Interview

by Quentin Blount
Photo by Gary Null/NBCU Photo Bank

The Golden Girls star Betty White once explained the thought process behind which her character on the show, Rose, operated.

White, who is now 99-years-old, has lived almost an entire century. And for nearly 80 of those years she has been involved in television in one way, shape, or form. However, she is perhaps best known for her role as Rose Nylund on the NBC sitcom, The Golden Girls. She played rose from 1985 until 1992.

In addition, White is also widely recognized for other roles such as Sue Ann Nivens on the CBS sitcom, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and Elka Ostrovsky on the TV Land sitcom, Hot in Cleveland.

A pioneer of television, as she is so often called, Betty White is by no means a slow-witted person. So it was a bit ironic to see her play the good-natured but often-naive, Rose in The Golden Girls. However, White plays the part perfectly.

And back in a 1987 interview with the TODAY show, Betty White opened up about her famous character.

“Now, Rose isn’t slow-witted; she just marches to a different drum, that’s all,” White explained. “Rose believes anything anybody tells her and she takes each word at its surface meaning; she never looks for the overall meaning. And sometimes she backs into unfortunate situations.”

Betty White Was Originally Supposed to Play Blanche Devereaux

Prior to joining the cast of The Golden Girls in 1985, Betty White was well known for playing the part of a promiscuous character. That’s why producers of the show had originally planned for White to play the role of Blanche Devereaux in The Golden Girls and Rue McClanahan was supposed to play Rose.

However, the director of the show eventually suggested that the two switch roles. And in an interview back in January of 2017 with former NBC TODAY Show host Katie Couric, Betty White said that she jumped at the opportunity to play the role of Rose. She said that she “loved the character” and describer her as “so innocent, not the brightest nickel in the drawer, but funny.”

Although the show probably would have been great either way, we are glad things worked out the way they did. And according to White, the main cast was glad, too. She said that the bond she had with fellow co-stars McClanahan, Bea Arthur, and Estelle Getty were vital to what made the show so successful.

“We are having so much fun, there should be a law against it,” White said back during its original run. “We work well together because everybody’s very professional, but off-camera, we adore each other. And it’s a privilege to go to work.”

For more on Betty White and the rest of The Golden Girls cast, stay tuned right here on Outsider.