This week in 1985, The Golden Girls premiered on NBC to both huge acclaim and major ratings and it continues to be a major ratings success in syndication and streaming formats, thanks to a perfect cast, hilarious writing, and stories that remain relevant even years later. It brought us Shady Pines, “Picture it: Sicily…”, and introduced millions of people to the word “lanai”. The show won 11 Emmy awards and all four actresses won the Emmy for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series.
Sit out on the lanai and read up on some of the best Golden Girls trivia:
- Estelle Getty was a year younger than Bea Arthur, who played her onscreen daughter; Betty White was actually the oldest cast member. It took makeup artists 45 minutes to transform Getty into the much older Sophia.
- Queen Elizabeth II is a huge fan of the show. The stars were invited to London to perform live at the Royal Variety Performance in 1988, where they performed several scenes for the royal family and cutting some lines that may have been to racy for the Queen and Queen Mother.
- Rue McClanahan had a clause in her contract that allowed her to keep all of Blanche’s custom-made clothes. So many shoulder pads!
- Bea Arthur didn’t have pierced ears, so all of Dorothy’s enormous earrings were clip-ons. Arthur frequently complained of her ears hurting at the end of a day filming.
- The table in the kitchen has only three chairs, despite four characters living in the house. Producers didn’t want four chairs around the table because it would mean one of the actresses would have her back to the audience and the camera. They also preferred to have Arthur sitting in the middle chair, based on her height.
For more stories about women of a certain age, we recommend the following titles:
Here’s To Us, by Elin Hilderbrand–after her ex-husband ends his life, Laurel brings all of his children and former flames to Nantucket to say goodbye.
The Hot Flash Club, by Nancy Thayer–four women meet in a spa’s hot tub and bond over their toxic relatives and become committed to helping each other with their dramatic situations.
I Remember Nothing, by Nora Ephron–a witty and smart memoir about adapting to the digital age, getting divorced, and remembering a brilliant career.
Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, by Anna Quindlen–the celebrated Anna Quindlen looks back at her career and ahead to her future.
The Year of Pleasures, by Elizabeth Berg–Beth moves to a small town following the death of her husband and is determined to find pleasure in her daily life.
And can we talk about The Golden Girls without talking cheesecake? We recommend these delectable books:
Nigellissima: Easy Italian-Inspired Recipes, by Nigella Lawson
No Bake Treats: Incredible Unbaked Cheesecakes, Icebox Cakes, Pies, and More, by Julianne Bayer