‘The Golden Girls’: Betty White Once Took Fans Behind the Scenes with Costumes From Rue McClanahan’s Estate

by Jennifer Shea

“The Golden Girls” was a special show about female friendships. And star Betty White drove that point home in a video from 2011.

In the video, courtesy of Next Magazine, White went through some “The Golden Girls” costumes and other mementos from late co-star Rue McClanahan’s estate and talked to a friend of McClanahan’s, Michael LaRue, about her old friend. McClanahan died of a stroke in 2010 at age 76, People magazine reported.

On “The Golden Girls,” McClanahan played Blanche Devereaux, a promiscuous Southerner who couldn’t get enough of men. White said McClanahan, who had six husbands over the course of her life, was not so far off from her character.

Betty White Said McClanahan Got the Best Costumes on ‘The Golden Girls’

LaRue pointed out some costumes hanging on the wall and asked White about a comment McClanahan once made, to the effect that she and White played Judy Evans’ favorite characters on “The Golden Girls.”

“Judy Evans was our wardrobe mistress,” White explained. “And she did a wonderful job trying to keep our four characters separated and stuff.” White gestured at the fabrics hanging up behind her. “And Rue, she always was in the lovely flowing ones. Rose [Nylund, White’s character] was usually in a sweater that had farm animals on it or something like that… Judy did such a good job to keep all our characters appropriate. That’s not easy when you’re dealing with four women.”

As part of McClanahan’s contract, she got to keep all of her costumes. That came to 220 pieces total, La Rue said.

“Good Heavens,” White exclaimed at that news. “What did she do with them?”

Apparently, McClanahan had kept all 220 outfits in storage ever since “The Golden Girls” ended.

McClanahan Had Artistic Leanings (As Did George Clooney)

White’s tour of the things McClanahan left behind also included some of McClanahan’s doodles, which were quite elaborate.

“She was so artistic, she would doodle,” White said. “I mean really, really artistic work. And detailed. I kept telling her, ‘You’ve got to do something with those.’”

McClanahan would doodle on her show scripts. She saved every script from “The Golden Girls,” including the one from an episode in which George Clooney made an appearance. The future star doodled on McClanahan’s script – a self-portrait – and she saved that, too.

White held the script up for the camera. “He didn’t flatter himself,” she observed of Clooney.

McClanahan, who reportedly loved men as much as her character did, also put together a book, “The Men of Blanche’s Boudoir.”

“I’m surprised she said ‘Blanche’s,’” White said with a chuckle. “It should’ve been ‘Rue’s.’”

LaRue brought up a conversation White had with McClanahan shortly before McClanahan underwent surgery, in which McClanahan raved about Ryan Reynolds, White’s co-star in “The Proposal,” who “she just thought was the hottest guy.”

“She thought any guy was the hottest guy,” White said, before she burst out laughing fondly.

See the behind-the-scenes costume tour here: