‘Golden Girls’: Bea Arthur Said Her Work with One Costar Was One of the Greatest ‘Comedic Duos’

by Keeli Parkey
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For fans of “The Golden Girls” the show is a classic example of a near-perfect comedy. It had a great cast, great characters, great writing, humorous storylines, and much more.

For actress Bea Arthur, who famously played Dorothy Zbornak on the show, performing with one of her costars stood out to her more than any other. In fact, she felt her work with this actress on the show ranked very high in the history of comedy.

That actress was Estelle Getty. She played Sophia Petrillo, who was Dorothy’s mother, on “The Golden Girls.”

Bea Arthur talked about this pairing during an interview with Pop Goes the Culture TV prior to her death at the age of 86 in 2009.

“The characters of Dorothy and her mother – played by me and Estelle (Getty) – I think was one of the great comedic duos that has ever been done,” Arthur said. “I think it ranks right up there were Laurel and Hardy, everybody else.”

Not to mention the great chemistry Arthur and Getty had between them, other factors made this pair great to watch. These factors involved how the women treated one another, as well as their physical appearances.

Bea Arthur Said Her ‘Golden Girls’ Duo ‘Was Brilliant’

“I mean the absurdity of the love-hate relationship, besides the different in size – you know, little Estelle and tall (me),” “The Golden Girls” star said. “It was just, um, it was brilliant. It was brilliant.”

Arthur said she knew very early on during the show that what that had was very good indeed.

“I loved the way they – from the very first show that we did, it was announced by someone, I forget who it was, that (Estelle’s character) had suffered a stroke,” she assed. “And as a result, really wasn’t capable of monitoring her speech. Meaning she can say any g**d*** thing she wants, you know. What an experience that was.”

One of the most important factors in the success of the show were its writers, according to Arthur.

“The writers were brilliant, so brilliant,” she said. “And, again, it was one of those wonderful relationships where we could all say … I could say, ‘Look, wait a minute. Shouldn’t Betty (White) take this line or so and so? Or would I say this or would I say that?’ And, you know, we’d talk it out. We’d work it out. It was just a joy, a joy.

You can watch Bea Arthur talk about “The Golden Girls,” her career, and much more below. For her comments about working with Estelle Getty, go to the 10:15 or so mark of the video.

Estelle Getty passed away in 2008 at the age of 84. The other two “Golden Girls” were played by Rue McClanahan and Betty White. McClanahan, who played Blanche Devereaux passed away at the age of 76 in 2010. White is the last living “Golden Girl.” She played Rose Nylund and is now 99 years old.

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