‘Golden Girls’: Here’s How Bea Arthur Reacted After Seeing Pilot Script the First Time

by Joe Rutland

Bea Arthur already had quite a television career before “The Golden Girls.” Something, though, interestingly drew her to the NBC show.

Arthur, who played Maude Findlay in Norman Lear’s “Maude” in the 1970s on CBS, went to audition for the part. Dorothy was described by producers as “a Bea Arthur-type” before she read for the part.

She looked over the first script for the show. Her reaction? “I thought it was brilliant,” Arthur said in an interview with the Archive of American Television. “I thought it was one of the funniest, most adult, hilarious, sophisticated, terrific, delicious things I had ever read.”

Bea Arthur Fit Into ‘Golden Girls’ Cast Really Well

Turns out Arthur fit right into the cast quite well. She was surrounded by Betty White, Rue McClanahan (who also appeared on “Maude”), and Estelle Getty. Its seven-season, 180-episode run on NBC helped keep that network’s success from the mid-1980s through early 1990s on course.

Arthur, White, McClanahan, and Getty all won Emmy Awards for their work on “The Golden Girls.” The show also received two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Comedy Series.

Its theme song, “Thank You For Being A Friend,” originally was a hit song for musician Andrew Gold. Cynthia Fee recorded the song, though, for “The Golden Girls.”

Miami-Based Show Provided Plenty Of Bickering Moments

The show was based in Miami as all four women lived together. This would create some interesting back-and-forth moments between Dorothy (Arthur), Blanche (McClanahan), Rose (White), and Sophia (Getty). But the chemistry with all four actresses, along with some top-star cameos and guest stars, drew in viewers week after week.

“The Golden Girls” has managed to stay relevant in the world of syndicated TV. The cast’s antics still manage to get a laugh or chuckle out of its viewers.

Sadly, White remains the only cast member still alive at 99 years old. Arthur died on April 25, 2009, at 86. McClanahan died on June 3, 2020, at 76. Getty died on July 22, 2008, at 84.

Their combined work, though, will live on in the minds and hearts of viewers for a long time to come.