‘Golden Girls’: Show Was Almost Put on Hiatus in Season 1 After Deaths of Two Stars’ Mothers

by Jennifer Shea

“Golden Girls” was a TV classic, following four women through the latter halves of their lives. But the show’s stars also experienced the ups and downs that come with that stage in life, and they leaned on each other through difficult times.

In fact, one such time struck during the show’s first season. Both Bea Arthur’s and Betty White’s mothers passed away at around the same time. The two stars bonded over their shared tragedy.

“My father had died a number of years before I did ‘Maude,’ so [my mom] was living independently,” Arthur later told Closer Weekly. Arthur said her mother “was totally blind and almost totally deaf” by the time she started taping “Golden Girls.”

Both actresses were utterly grief-stricken by the loss of their mothers. So the show’s producers considered putting the show on hiatus while they dealt with the loss.

“We were ready to shut down the show for as long as they needed,” “Golden Girls” director Lex Passaris told Closer Weekly. “But both ladies said, ‘No. We need to work.’”

Betty White Is the Last Surviving ‘Golden Girls’ Lead

Betty White was the oldest of the four lead actresses in “Golden Girls,” per IMDb. So it is perhaps ironic that she went on to outlive all her co-stars.

“I am blessed with good health,” White told People magazine this January. “So turning 99 is no different than turning 98.”

White doesn’t take herself too seriously. The actress credits her sense of humor with helping her to stay positive and in good health over the years. And she recommends that approach to anyone looking to lead a long and happy life like hers.

“Having a sense of humor [helps],” she said. “Just looking at the positive side and not dwelling on the downside. Takes up too much energy being negative. Also having a good agent who keeps me busy all the time.”

White has been in quarantine recently due to the coronavirus pandemic. But she is eagerly awaiting the moment when the pandemic subsides and she can once again visit friends and “[bring] food to my animal friends.” The actress is reportedly an outspoken animal rights supporter whose favorite groups include Actors and Others for Animals, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Wildlife Learning Center.