16 'Golden Girls' Behind-The-Scenes Facts Fans Might Not Have Known

When it comes to celebrated sitcoms, Golden Girls is right there at the top.

This bonafide classic, which premiered in 1985, has made us laugh, cry, and crave cheesecake over the years.

We want to say "thank you" to each and every one of the girls for being a friend.

We also want to pick our jaws up off the floor after learning these shocking behind-the-scenes facts!

1. Betty White and Bea Arthur didn't get along


"She was not that fond of me," White said in 2011.

"She found me a pain in the neck sometimes. It was my positive attitude — and that made Bea mad sometimes. Sometimes if I was happy, she'd be furious!"

2. Betty White and Rue McClanahan worked together before 'Golden Girls'


A few years before Golden Girls premiered, the ladies acted alongside each other in the sitcom, Mama's Family, which was based on a sketch from The Carol Burnett Show.

3. Estelle Getty was actually younger than Betty White


It seems hard to believe, considering Estelle Getty (who played Sophia Petrillo) looked older than Betty and she played Dorothy's mom. But Estelle was 62 when the show started, while Betty was 63.

4. Rue McClanahan convinced Bea Arthur to take the role on 'Golden Girls'

The two women knew each other from working on the show Maude. Bea was the lead, while Rue played the role of her next-door neighbor.

When the chance to work together again came up, Bea was hesitant.

This caused Rue to step in.

"I called her and said, 'Why are you going to turn down the best script that’s ever going to come across your desk as long as you live?'" Rue told the Archive of American Television.

5. Bea Arthur never wanted to wear shoes on set


In the book, Golden Girls Forever: An Unauthorized Look Behind The Lanai, Bea was described as being a "quirky and complicated woman."

This was certainly true by the fact that she had it written into her contract that she was allowed to not wear shoes as long as she agreed not to sue the producers if she hurt herself.

6. Estelle Getty had horrible stage fright


This seems like an odd thing for an actor to have, but it's true. "She'd panic," Rue said in an interview with the Archive of American Television, adding that she'd freeze and forget her lines.

7. The actors ate more than 100 cheesecakes over the course of the show!

While some people eat ice cream when they're down, the girls ate cheesecake. “Do you know how many problems we have solved over a cheesecake at this kitchen table?” Dorothy once noted.

Surprisingly, the origin of cheesecake on the show is unknown.

Unsplash | Tina Guina

“I forget why it started that way,” the show’s producers/screenwriters, Barry Fanaro and Mort Nathan, told Disney D23 in an interview for the show's 35th anniversary.

8. Betty White and Rue McClanahan switched roles at the last minute

While it's hard to imagine the characters as anything different, this almost happened.

Producers knew Betty could play a man-crazy character thanks to her role as Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Meanwhile, Rue's work on ‘Maude’ and Aunt Fran on ‘Mama’s Family' made producers confident she could nail the role of Rose.

Everything changed when the director of the pilot, Jay Sandrich, asked Rue to prepare lines for Blanche. The rest is history!

9. Bea Arthur also struggled to get along with Rue McClanahan


Although Blanche and Dorthy were always super tight on the show, the same couldn't be said off camera.

"Bea and I didn't have a lot of relationship going on," McClanahan once said. "She wouldn't go to lunch with me unless Betty [White] would go, too."

10. Bea Arthur hated cheesecake


"If you watch it carefully, you see her moving it around on the plate a lot but it’s not that often that she puts it in her mouth. We didn’t know,” Barry Fanaro and Mort Nathan told Disney D23.

11. The theme song was almost different


By now, almost everyone has heard the iconic, "Thank You for Being a Friend,” by singer Cynthia Fee.

But it was almost Bette Midler's voice fans heard, as the producers wanted to use her song, "Friends." They passed since it was too expensive.

12. Rue McClanahan got to keep Blanche's clothes

Lucky gal! If there was one Golden Girl whose closet we would want to raid, it would be the flirty Blanche! Rue made this possible by adding in a clause in her contract.

13. Sophia wasn't originally a main cast member


This makes sense, considering she played the role of Dorothy's mother and not a "Golden Girl." But when she tested well with audiences, the producers made her a series regular.

14. Betty White loved to interact with the show's audience

As if we couldn't love Betty anymore, we go and learn this! Bea Arthur's son, Matthew, told The Hollywood Reporter that Betty would go out and make friends with the audience — much to Bea's annoyance.

15. There were many celebrity guest stars


Mario Lopez, for example, played a student named Mario before he rose to fame on Saved by the Bell. Meanwhile, George Clooney played a police officer in the episode, "To Catch a Neighbor."

16. Being on the show helped Quentin Tarantino make 'Reservoir Dogs'

The famous director played an Elvis impersonator in the 1988 episode, "Sophia's Wedding" in 1988.

Since he got residuals every time the episode was shown, the $3,000 he made helped fund his film.