Some television shows stand the test of time, and one of those happens to be the very beloved NBC sitcom The Golden Girls. Spanning seven seasons between 1985 and 1992, The Golden Girls brought together a dynamite cast. Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan, and Betty White all had previous TV sitcom successes in their career. Adding Estelle Getty as a full-time cast member rounded out this “fab four” lineup.
Stan Zimmerman speaks highly of this crew. After all, he put words down on paper for the actresses to memorize. A screenwriter, Zimmerman is sharing stories about his career in his new book, The Girls: From Gilmore to Golden. Besides The Golden Girls, Zimmerman also wrote for Gilmore Girls and The Brady Bunch movies.
From his time around Arthur, McClanahan, Getty, and White, Zimmerman said the actresses were “magic in a bottle.”
‘The Golden Girls’ Writer Zimmerman Liked Cast
Zimmerman, in an interview with People, added, “Those four women were the best of the best and there was just something special about them. I’m so glad the producers saw that’s where the heart of the show was.”
In the original cast lineup, Getty was only to appear as a supporting player as Sophia. Audience reactions to her, though, changed up plans. As she joined the cast regularly, the show wrote out their housekeeper Coco, played by Charles Levin.
“As great as Coco was — and he was very funny, and I love that there was a gay character — it wasn’t really needed, and they were smart to let that go,” Zimmerman says. “I wish they had dealt with it, or had him back for a special episode…maybe he fell in love, went somewhere. Maybe he opened a B&B in Key West. I don’t know. There’s so many possibilities.”
Upon word that Coco would no longer be around, Zimmerman inquired about bringing the character back at some point. The show, though, had other ideas. “I remember bringing that up, but they felt, at the time, ‘Let it go, move forward,’” Zimmerman says. “I don’t think they realized that we’d be talking about the show 30, 40 years later and picking it apart.”
Along with writing partner James Berg, Zimmerman penned episodes like Adult Education, Blanche & the Younger Man, and Rose’s Mother for the show. “I would see waves of it where young people would come up to me and they would know every line of the show,” Zimmerman says.
Show Remains Popular With Millions of People
Now, The Golden Girls lives on in the land of reruns. The show picked up quite an audience during the COVID-19 shutdowns. The New York Times even reported that the show was streamed for 11 million hours.
“It was a way for a lot of younger people to connect with their grandparents,” Zimmerman says. “And it was also a way for those in the LGBTQ community to connect with their older parents or grandparents and have a way to start a discussion about who they really were.”
Arthur was best known for playing Maude Findlay in the Norman Lear sitcom Maude before this show. But she was an advocate and supporter of the LGBTQ community, especially from her Broadway days.
Sadly, all four actresses have how died. White lasted the longest, though, dying at 99 years old on New Year’s Eve 2021. Putting the cast together worked so well on The Golden Girls. Besides reruns, social media has found a way to take scenes and turn them into clips. Whether it’s Rose Nylund, White’s character, talking about St. Olaf or Sophia busting off a line, it reminds fans of the show.
Of course, it also highlights the incredible work scriptwriters like Zimmerman performed in each episode. His book is now available for ordering.
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