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The Golden Girls: Part 6, Tributes and Reunions

Golden Girls stage playAs proof of The Golden Girls’ enduring popularity, the show has been parodied and saluted many times over the years. In 1995, Betty White, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty did a parody of their own. They played characters from Clueless in a send-up of the series for the MTV Video Awards.

In 1996, Betty White guest-starred on an episode of The John Larroquette Show entitled “Here We Go Again.” In the episode, White played herself as a Sunset Blvd.-like delusional diva who convinces Larroquette to help write her memoir. Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty appear as themselves and Larroquette is forced to dress in drag (as Bea Arthur’s Dorothy) when all four appear in public as the “original” Golden Girls. Betty White was nominated for an Emmy Award for the episode.

Perhaps the most unique tribute was entitled The Golden Girls: Live! This was an Off-Broadway stage show that ran successfully in 2003. It featured an all-male cast of female impersonators performing scripts from the series (in a similar vein as The Real Live Brady Bunch). The show was so successful that it was scheduled to move to a larger theatre. Unfortunately, the play’s producers failed to secure proper legal permissions to use the characters and scripts and it was shut down.

The Season One DVD release party with Marc CherryIn June of 2003, Lifetime hosted a special 90-minute Golden Girls retrospective that featured many popular episode clips as well as an on-air reunion of Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan and Betty White. Unfortunately, Estelle Getty had retired and was too ill to participate. Arthur acknowledged that the reunion was not as touching as it should have been because of Getty’s absence. Arthur also paid tribute to Herb Edelman, who had played Dorothy’s ex-husband Stan, and who had recently died. Arthur noted that he was a wonderful and funny man, quite unlike his character. The special also featured interviews with creator/writer Susan Harris and executive producers Paul Junger Witt and Tony Thomas.

In Spring 2004, Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan and Betty White gathered on a Lifetime special entitled TV’s Greatest Sidekicks. They discussed their famous show and the importance of Sophia to the series. The show also featured castmembers from The Mary Tyler Moore Show and 227 and was hosted by Laverne & Shirley’s Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams.

Shortly after the special aired, the three Golden Girls reunited with former series writer Marc Cherry at a premiere party for the Season One DVD set. Many of the DVD sets feature commentaries by Arthur, White and McClanahan.

A Golden Girls reunionOn March 10th of this year, The Museum of Television and Radio hosted a tribute to the show in Los Angeles. Betty White and Rue McClanahan were in attendance (Bea Arthur had the flu), as were some of the show’s creative team including Susan Harris, Paul Junger Witt, Terry Hughes, James Vallely, Mitchell Hurwitz (Arrested Development) and Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry. Cherry told Entertainment Tonight, “I would love to have all my gals come to Wisteria Lane.” Footage from this evening is included on The Golden Girls Season Six DVD set.

On May 6th, a special dedication ceremony was held on the original Sunset Gower Studio Sound Stage in Los Angeles. A plaque was unveiled commemorating the filming location of The Golden Girls. A special luncheon was attended by Sunset Gower CEO Robert Papazian, Betty White, Tony Thomas, Paul Junger Witt, David Leisure (Empty Nest) and others.

Betty White with Paul Junger Witt and Tony ThomasOn May 14th, the Robot Chicken series featured a stop-motion animation short of the girls. “Golden Girls and the City” featured the four characters having dinner in a restaurant and recounting their sexual conquests – ala Sex in the City.

It’s often asked if there’s a possibility of a reunion show, with the ladies playing their popular characters once again. That looks highly unlikely especially considering Estelle Getty’s diminished health. As well, Bea Arthur remains opposed to the idea. She feels that any new attempt would only diminish the wonderful work that they did on the series. Betty White once said, “Oh, they’ve asked us so many times and I think it would be wonderful, Rue thinks it would be wonderful, but Bea just doesn’t want to do it. And she’s probably right. You know, quit while you’re ahead.”

So, what are the ladies doing today? Are they all retired? Hardly! Stay tuned! TV Series Finale home page

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7
Podcast, part one | Podcast, part two

 

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Pat Garrahy April 14, 2011 at 5:35 pm

Can you please direct me to the proper person/s?? I live in a retirement community that would like to do some of the Golden Girl scripts as part of our community theatre presentation. We are non profit. However, do ask for donations to cover scenery, costumes, etc. We would like to learn how to get permission to legally use the scripts??
We want to do the right thing!! I would very much appreciate your help….thanks for your reply,
Pat

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admin April 14, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Pat Garrahy ยป Disney owns the rights to the series I believe. You can try contacting them but I suspect that you won’t have much luck. On the other hand, they probably wouldn’t care if you did your self-contained presentations. If you do a search for scripts online, you can find a few resources. You can also find some on ebay. Good luck!

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Veronica September 26, 2009 at 10:17 pm

I love the Golden Girls, I am 24 and have been watching this show all my life! My mother and father would watch it at night and when we think they went to sleep my sister and i would go into their room and lay in the floor in front of their bed to watch it and I have been watching it every since! My best friends ring tone for when I call is the show’s theme song. I still watch it on whatever so I can catch it on. Great and funny show!

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Ashley Sommer May 13, 2007 at 1:08 pm

i love this show ive watch it for ten years my entire life because im ten and i love this show all my heart

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carmen morales wall April 11, 2007 at 2:40 pm

HI I LOVE THE GOLDEN GIRLS SHOW.I CANT STOP WASHING IT.IM YOUR NUMBER ONE FAN I HAVE PICTURES OF YOU GIRLS IN MY COMPUTER I REALLY LOVE ROSE SHE MAKES MY DAY.HOPE I HEAR FROM YOU SOON LOVE CARMEN….

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