‘The Golden Girls’ Dorothy Was Almost Played by This Emmy Winner

The Huge Image

  • The Golden Women
    continues to be a well-liked present greater than 30 years since its finale.
  • Elaine Stritch auditioned for the function of Dorothy, however her improvisation did not impress the producers.
  • Bea Arthur initially wasn’t within the function of Dorothy, however modified her thoughts after studying the script and becoming a member of the already forged McClanahan and White.

Very similar to the 4 girls that the present follows, The Golden Girls is a sequence that by no means goes out of favor. Greater than 30 years after its remaining episode aired, the present nonetheless airs every day in syndication and continues to be binge-worthy. Regardless of some plotholes, viewers proceed to tune in for the long-lasting characters, and it is not laborious to see why with the present’s major forged composed of sitcom royalty. From the beloved Betty White as Rose Nyland, to the sensual Rue McClanahan as Blanche Deveraux, to the feisty Estelle Getty as Sophia Petrillo, and eventually, the witty chief of the group, Beatrice Arthur as Dorothy Zbornak, the present had one of many biggest casts of all time. Nonetheless, one of many ladies was almost performed by one other star, one thing almost inconceivable to think about.

The Golden Women

Launch Date
September 14, 1985

Bea Arthur , Betty White , Rue McClanahan , Estelle Getty

Principal Style


Elaine Stritch Auditioned for the Position of Dorothy

Identified for her fast wit and large stage presence, as evident in her one-woman present, Elaine Stritch: Live at Liberty, actress Elaine Stritch was no stranger to comedy. Although largely remembered for her iconic performances on the Broadway stage, Stritch began making tv appearances as early as 1949 on The Rising Paynes and was even the unique Trixie in Jackie Gleason‘s The Honeymooners, through the present’s sketch comedy days. She led the English comedy, Two’s Firm, from 1975 to 1979 and adopted it up with a 1980 English tv adaptation of Maude, known as No person’s Good. Stritch’s model of Arthur’s Maude character, named Invoice Hooper, was not the final time their careers would intersect. When casting started on Golden Women, Stritch was an early contender for Dorothy Zbornak.

Initially, Bea Arthur, coming off her run in one other profitable sitcom, Maude, was not within the half, and the function of Dorothy was virtually given to the Emmy-winner and Broadway legend. As destiny would have it although, an previous good friend and shortly to be a continued costar satisfied Arthur in any other case, and a very brazen improvisation throughout Stritch’s audition left the function of Dorothy vast open for Arthur.

Although the character had been written for Arthur, producers thought Stritch can be nice within the function. She was introduced in to audition for the producers and creator Susan Harris. In her one girl present, Elaine Stritch at Liberty, Stritch admitted to being nervous earlier than the audition, and sensed that Harris wasn’t her greatest fan. She claimed that she tried to win the author over by asking if she might mess around with the dialogue. She was met with the reply “Punctuation solely.” Stritch continued to joke, asking Harris if she might change the road studying “Ying, do not forget the hors d’oeuvres” to “Ying, do not forget the fucking hors d’oeurvres.” As Stritch put it: “I blew it.” In an interview with Variety, Golden Women producers confirmed Stritch’s story in a way, saying: “We had at all times wished Bea Arthur for the half. Stritch got here in for a reading–and did not learn.” Convincing Arthur to tackle the function, nevertheless, wasn’t a simple activity.

Bea Arthur Wasn’t Enthusiastic about ‘The Golden Women’

After the successful Norman Lear sitcom, Maude, wrapped manufacturing, Arthur wasn’t eager on taking the function of Dorothy. Her former Maude co-star Rue McClanahan had already been forged, together with The Mary Tyler Moore Present alum, Betty White. On Maude, McClanahan performed Vivian Harmon, Maude’s dull-minded finest good friend, whereas White performed the promiscuous Sue Ann Nivens on Moore. When McClanahan approached Arthur in regards to the undertaking, the reluctant actress informed her “Rue, I do not need to do Maude and Vivian meet Sue Ann Nivens,” according to E! News. Arthur was unaware that, although McClanahan had initially been tapped to be simple-minded Rose, and White to be the man-hungry Blanche, the actresses had switched components. When McClanahan defined the change to Arthur, she thought it was “good.” Arthur learn the script and recalled, “It is humorous, it is grownup, and I’ll get off my ass once more and go to work.” Whereas the actress did nonetheless have some reservations about getting concerned in one other potential, multi-year sitcom, the standard of the script was sufficient to persuade her.

As soon as Arthur joined the already forged McClanahan and White, producers added Estelle Getty from Harvey Fierstein‘s stage-hit, Torch Music Trilogy to play Arthur’s mom, Sophia Petrillo (regardless of Arthur being one 12 months her senior). From E! Information, McClanahan mentioned that the “chemistry was as plain as a preacher’s daughter. Our set was a contented place.” Arthur would go on to play Dorothy on The Golden Women for seven seasons and visitor starred because the character on Golden Women-universe set sequence, Empty Nest, and in a two-part reunion of the sequel sequence, The Golden Palace.

Stritch continued to have a profitable profession on stage, in movie, and on tv. She gained the primary of 4 Emmys in 1991 for an look on Regulation & Order, in addition to two for the filmed model of Elaine Stritch at Liberty and the final for her beloved function of Colleen Donaghy on 30 Rock. Regardless of Elaine Stritch’s success on stage and on tv, the function of Dorothy Zbornak was not destined for the comedic actress. The whole lot certainly labored out for one of the best, nevertheless. Audiences have been handled to seven years of Bea Arthur’s beloved efficiency on The Golden Girls and Elaine Stritch discovered continued success in initiatives she would possibly’ve miss out on if she had been forged as Dorothy Zbornak.

The Golden Women is obtainable to observe on Hulu within the U.S.

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