‘Golden Girls’ Star Addressed Pressure to Do Reunion Before Death: ‘Absolutely Not’

by Suzanne Halliburton

It would’ve been really cool to watch a Golden Girls reunion movie in the years after the series ended in 1992.

Think of it, or as Sophia would say, picture it. We could’ve checked in on whether Dorothy still was married to Blanche’s uncle. Was Sophia living with Dorothy in Georgia or did she remain independent in Miami? Did Blanche ever stop dating, did she find another man like George? And what about Rose. Was she still lulling folks to sleep with those zany St Olaf stories?

Think of the nostalgia. There very well could’ve been a reunion show and/or movie. There certainly was an audience for it. Reruns of the Golden Girls still are watched by millions on a variety of cable networks or streaming services.

But one cast member said no. That was Bea Arthur, who played Dorothy Zbornak, Sophia’s daughter and roommate of Blanche and Dorothy. The actress didn’t think any sort of reunion show would live up to the actual series.

Bea Arthur Believed Golden Girls Reunion Could Never Come Close to Original Series

Arthur talked about the idea of a Golden Girls reunion during a 2002 interview with the Globe and Mail.

“Everyone says, ‘Oh you must do it. People will love it,’ ” Arthur said. “And I say, ‘Absolutely not!’ How could we top some of the good work we did?”

There’s no question Golden Girls was quality television. It was groundbreaking in that it featured an all-female lead cast who all were women of a certain age. The ladies addressed everything middle-aged single women would face — dating, second marriages, aging relatives, the fragility of life. But mostly, the Golden Girls was about spending time with your best friends and how those friends become your real family.

The show ran from 1985-92. All four women won an Emmy. And they did so over three straight years. Betty White was the first to win Outstanding Actress in a Comedy. Then came Rue McClanahan. Bea Arthur won the Emmy the same year Estelle Getty, who played her mother, Sophia, earned best supporting actress honors.

In all, the Golden Girls received 68 Emmy nominations. The characters were multi-dimensional. The writing was spectacular. And the show was honored as outstanding comedy series for two of its seven seasons.

Bea Arthur announced she was leaving the Golden Girls before the start of the seventh season. Her departure ended the show. However, it did continue as a spinoff for a season, 1992-93. McClanahan, White and Getty revive their characters. They decide to buy a hotel in Miami. Actors Don Cheadle and Cheech Marin joined the cast. Bea Arthur also played Dorothy for two episodes to visit the hotel and her best friends.

Obviously, it’s too late to do a reunion now. Betty White, who is 99, is the lone surviving member of the regular cast. But it would’ve been really cool to find out if the Golden Girls remained so in old age. We’re betting they did.