‘Golden Girls’: Bea Arthur Was ‘Tight’ With Money, But Would Sometimes Treat Cast to Nights Out

by Joe Rutland
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Bea Arthur of “The Golden Girls” was not known as someone who would spend her money lavishly upon others. Yet she wasn’t a total tightwad.

According to an article from OK Magazine, Arthur’s costar Betty White would sometimes throw dinner parties at her home. White, though, would get a personal chef to do the cooking.

Arthur had a reputation, according to a “Golden Girls” insider, for “being tight with a buck.”

“But she would spring for tickets for all four of them to attend a play together,” the anonymous show insider said. Matthew Saks, Arthur’s son, said most nights his mother “just liked to go home and read the paper.”

White, Arthur, Rue McClanahan, and Estelle Getty made up “The Golden Girls” cast. The show was very popular during its seven-season run. Arthur left after the seventh season, desiring to move along to other projects in her life.

Bea Arthur Loved ‘The Golden Girls’ From Reading The First Script

Arthur, though, actually fell in love with “The Golden Girls” concept after simply reading the first script that she received.

During an interview in 1991, Arthur said, “Well, when I was sent the first script for the pilot, I just read it and said, ‘Oh my God, this is literate, it’s adult, it’s funny.’

“Normally, you get script after script that’s usually ho-hum or something that you don’t care for and I just thought, ‘This is wonderful,'” she said.

Obviously, “The Golden Girls” was not Arthur’s first hit TV series. She played Maude Findlay in “Maude,” a spinoff from “All in the Family,” in the 1970s. That role allowed her to establish a footprint in another medium as she had already worked a long time in the theater world.

The Norman Lear-created series allowed Arthur to turn an appearance on “All in the Family” into a full-time role. Lear, by the way, also oversaw “Maude” in his numerous TV shows.

Working In Hospice Care Would Have Been Career Option For Arthur

If acting had not worked out for Arthur, then what field would have interested “The Golden Girls” star? It turns out that she had a desire to be involved in hospice care. She even thought about owning a hospice.

Arthur, who died in 2009, always was an activist for issues she cared about. She was an activist for animal rights and gay rights. Arthur also wanted to help people suffering from AIDS. She talked about the hospice idea in an interview with “A&U, America’s AIDS Magazine.”

Arthur recalls a friend named Tom Rasmussen, who was dying of AIDS. He was the costume designer for “Amanda’s,” one of Arthur’s TV shows. Rasmussen was the first person she knew who contracted the disease.

“I was there every day watching the progression of the disease,” Arthur said. “I am very aware of how horrendous it is; ending with dementia, diarrhea, and the whole thing. He died there. I really saw it up close.”

Outsider.com