The Golden Girls casting director, Joel Thurm, opened up about the behind-the-scenes feuds that went on with the actors. Thurm was interviewed on the podcast called The Originals by entertainment reporter Andrew Goldman last April in 2021, and the conversation has since resurfaced since the death of the last living Golden Girl herself, Betty White.
Thurm claims that Bea Arthur used some pretty colorful language to describe White, saying, “Literally Bea Arthur, who I cast in something else later on, just said, ‘Oh, she’s a f–ing c–t,’ using that word.” Yes, about Betty White.
‘Golden Girls’ casting director dishes on the feuds between the actors
Goldman tried to clarify, with Thurm interjecting, saying, “Yeah, she called her the C-word. I mean, I heard that with my own ears.” Apparently, Rue McClanahan also had some similar words to describe White, saying, “And by the way, so did Rue McClanahan. Rue McClanahan said it to me in Joe Allen’s [restaurant].”
Thurm also mentioned Estelle Getty, who died of Lewy Body dementia in 2008. She might’ve had some trouble learning her lines and would write them down on her hand, and White used that to her advantage. “Betty White would make fun of her in front of the live audience,” Thurm remembers. “That may seem like a minor transgression, but it really does get to you … I have no idea how Estelle Getty felt, but I know the other two did not like [White] at all.”
We’ve heard time and time again about our favorite ladies not exactly getting along or liking each other. Even White once said in a 2011 interview that McClanahan liked to talk about Arthur’s dislike for White. “She was not that fond of me,” White said at the time. “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!”
McClanahan actually wrote in her memoir that Arthur was jealous because White won the first Emmy for the Golden Girls—while all four women won their own Emmys, it was White who was first. So, it really seems like there was just a lot of distaste for each other amongst the group, but they all still have a very special place in our hearts.