Friday, September 25, 2009

Golden Girls' Bea Arthur Hated Betty White

If you thought the little old ladies on The Golden Girls were all getting along, you thought wrong. In fact, according to the Globe magazine Bea Arthur, who played "Dorothy", hated Betty White ("Rose") and she let her know it.

The very successful show that aired in the late '80s to early '90s featured four women -- Bea, Betty, Rue McClanahan ("Blanche") and Estelle Getty ("Sophia").

A friend of Bea, who died last April from cancer, told the Globe all about the drama.

"Bea told me her bitter feud with Betty started when the were just in their first season," the friend tells the Globe. "She said she didn't like Betty from the start and told me she tried to stay out of White's way when they weren't rehearsing or on camera.

"According to Bea, Betty thought she was the star of the show and acted like it. She said Betty even tried to tell her how to deliver her lines. That's something Bea would never stand for.

"One day, early on in the series, Bea said she just couldn't hold back any more and she let rip at Betty, turning the air blue with her tirade.

"The series became such a huge hit, but the show's execs had a major headache because of the Bea and Betty feud."

"By the end of the run, it often became unbearable t be around them," says Bea's pal. "they simply hated each other."

The friend adds that there was never a reunion show because of the deep-seated hate, and when asked about the possibility of such a show, Bea allegedly would say, "Because Betty White is a (expletive)."


Update: Here's Bea Arthur's final interview which aired last April on The Insider.

(Thanks Phillip for the tip.)

Source: Globe magazine, Oct. 5, print edition.
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lodak said...

Say it ain't so! Don't make me choose!

Kitta's Mom said...

In my opinion Betty White was the star of the show, Could you imagine the show being as successful without Betty White. Besides look at their past achievements. Bea Arthur has Maude what else besides the Golden Girls. Betty White has 6 emmys how many did Arthur have. Betty White rocks!!!! I don't like to speak ill of the dead and I did like her but if the comment about Betty White was true she should have been a professional and kept her mouth shut.

lodak said...

Bea Arthur was the star, since, the show was written with her and the Maude character in mind. Rightfully so, when she left the show died...The Golden Palace was a joke.

Betty White was to be Blanche, but, campaigned for Rose which angered Rue McClanahan. That alone told me she was a bit of a diva on set. Rue, being a professional, made Blanche her own, but, I think she would have made a wonderful Rose.

In any event, they all have their Emmy and are all fabulously adored worldwide.

Anonymous said...

Well in all honesty, they all held their own positions within the show. But, if it were not for Sophia (Estelle Getty) ,I don't think the show would have had the success it had.

Kate said...

Lodak what is your source for this information?? None of what you wrote seems true.

From what I've read and seen in interviews, The Golden Girls was NOT written for Bea. The character of Dorothy was written as a "Bea Arthur type". They wanted Betty for Blanche (because of her Sue Ann Nivens role on Mary Tyler Moore) and Rue for Rose (much like Aunt Fran on Mama's Family and Vivian on Maude. However I've read that the two read to be considered to play the other's role because they were interested in trying something different. The producers loved them and the rest is history.

Anonymous said...

According to the commentaries and interviews on the Golden Girls DVD sets, Betty did not campaign for Rose and anger Rue at all. Rue wanted to play Blanche from the start, and was disappointed that they first had White in mind. When they decided to make the switch, both Rue and Betty were happy.

Anonymous said...

I have met three of the ladies of the GOLDEN GIRLS.

Rue was delightful. A true lady and warm and friendly.

Bea was overjoyed at the the response and a joy to meet.

Betty was a BITCH.

Anonymous said...

I loved ALL of the Golden Girls. It seems to me that the "Girls" complemented each other and the reason that the show was so popular was because I think we can all find a bit of ourselves in each of the characters.

I wasn't aware that there was a "feud" between Betty and Bea; they both hid it so well that you just couldn't detect it in the series - proof that both ladies were true professionals.

Anonymous said...

When Rue was doing her book tour, she spoke about this and did not give the "feud" any weight at all. She also said that Bea waited for Betty to go to lunch with her everyday that they worked on the set, and that she would not go until Betty could go with her. There may have been some tension there but seriously, would you wait for anyone you hated to go to lunch with you? I sure wouldn't.

Anonymous said...

I must admit I think all four of the golden girls were hysterically funny. but, bea arthur made the show, betty white was amamzingly funny but who could forget any of bea arthur sacrastic hilarious repsonses. bea arthur made the show...

horizonrusted said...

In interviews, the girls would brag about working on a set without tension, where everyone got along. I stumbled across this rumour just tonight, and find it hard to believe. The old cliches of the set being a home and the cast and crew feeling like family have not been unfamiliar phrases uttered by all the Golden Girls. As for anonymous claiming that Betty was a bitch, catch me at the wrong time and you might have the same thing to say about me. In other words, one bad encounter does not a bitch make. Aside from everything else, I have enjoyed this show (as well as a lot of their work besides the Golden Girls) and hate to think that they didn't have as much fun making it as I have had watching it.

anna.banana1 said...

To be honest, I don't believe a word of it! It just doesn't seem right! Betty and Bea always seemed to be friends! I don't know, I think they were good friends and this is just something someone made up.

mrsdongyoungbae said...

They ALL made the show. Each of their flaws made the show completely hilarious!

Bea being the one who was "dateless"
Sophia having a stroke
Betty being mentally slow
Rue being an insane siren

All of them had their huge special moments. I think they all made the show & this was from GLOBE magazine. They usually just put out rumors. And what's funny is that they must be really great actors if they really hated one another.

Leonard said...

This is my all time favourite show. It is sad that now 3 of the actors are dead and this trash has to come out. But since it has, I heard stories many years ago that there was a feud between Bea and Rue not Bea and Betty. Notice in almost every episode that Bea had to sit in the middle chair at the kitchen table. She had to be the Star of the show. Betty White is much more adored than Bea Arthur. Yes Bea was funny but this show was written with the 4 ladies in mind- not Bea. She didn't want to do Maude anymore and she didn't want to do the Golden Girls anymore. Simply put Bea Arthur was from New York- She was the BITCH!

Anonymous said...

The truth of the matter is this. There was no feud between Betty and Bea, period. The only tension I knew Of (and I knew them all), was the fact that Bea thought she deserved the first Emmy (which went to Betty) that's it. They adored each other. Betty did tell me that Bea and her were not CLOSE, that's it. Rue was the glue because she worked with Bea on Maude and Betty on Mama's family. Bea did in fact waIt for Betty every single day to go to lunch. Betty later said she was not CLOSE with Bea. Repeat: CLOSE!

Smokey_the cat said...

Look, when you're chilling one day, watch that show, if it wasn't for Estelle Getty that show would've never survived 2 seasons. Betty White would've never carried that show as far as it did, no matter how much she likes to brag about herself. And Bea had a valid point, she should've gotten an Emmy.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

if any one of the 4 were not on the show, it wouldnt have made it!! each character and actress brought soooooo much to the table! iI dont know if they didnt get along, 4 women worki.g closely, all at menopausal age??? my guess is each if them were cranky or nasty at some point...but if these things ARE true?? iI say hats off to INCREDIBLE acting!!! from watching the show, one would never have known any if them HATED another.

Anonymous said...

I find it hard to believe that any professional would call another woman a "cunt". That would be pretty stupid. If it is true than she should never have been allowed to even be in the business.

Anonymous said...

Bea and Betty were both professionals and acted that way. They were not fond of each other, but it was not a hostile work environment. They were respectful of each other. Period.

Anonymous said...

I love the Golden Girls. All 4 of the girls were wonderful together. The writers for that show were beyond great. My personal favorite was Bea. The way she delivered her brilliantly written lines was beyond funny. The feud was well hidden on air. Please, more reruns.

Anonymous said...

Beatrice Arthur delivered 85% of her 'brilliantly written' lines in the tone of an intolerant, angry, totally condescending attitude. She had the same attitude in her only other 'notable achievement' Maude.

She was a bitch.

Anonymous said...


At least they were all professional enough to keep the drama (if any??) under cover.

They made for a classy, winning combination - ALL of them.

Personally, Bea Arthur was my favorite...just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

Just sayin' ........... Bea Arthur couldn't deliver a classy, funny line if her professional career depended on it.

Anonymous said...

Betty White just loves the camera and braging about herself. Look at the Estelle Getty and Bea Arthur E! Tributes on YouTube. It wasn't until AFTER Bea passed away that Betty opened her mouth about Bea not liking her, I can't imagine why. Betty should shut the fuck up and milk her golden years, what's left of it. I love Rue, Bea and Estelle but fuck Betty White and her narcissistic attidue, she is a cunt after all.

PS - IF Betty is sooo great why isn't her Sophia rip-off a hit?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous.... You are a mean person, Betty White has always said she loved show business and acting, why is that a problem? You really should watch some of the Lifetime Original Series, a friend narrates and many interviews are done, Bea Arther said in her Biography that she hated the fact that show business only loved the the beauties who were mainly blond with good bone structure.... To many people in Hollywood have said and still do that all the women on the Golden Girls were fun except one, she just did not achieve the stardom she believed she deserved and it made her mad.Mad at the world! Which is so sad, she was great at what she did.

Anonymous said...

There was a "reunion" on Lifetime while all were still alive, but Estelle Getty was too ill to attend. The show "holds"--good writing/good story lines and good acting! ALL 4 were needed for the show to work--and they did complement each other (characters) as someone listed already! "The Golden Girls" is a classic! I use several lines from the show...and the show also taught me about comic timing!

Anonymous said...

Maybe that is the truth,but in my opinion that is all bullshit. The four girls were wonderful. Each charakter of the show was great and each of the actress played her role fantastic. I love this show and if the feud between Bea and Betty or Bea and Rue really true,than it shows that the girls were absolutly great actress. I'm Vera greatful for man hours of laughing and sometimes crying. Please excuse my English, I'm from Germany and I do not often speak or write in this language

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