‘The Golden Girls’: Betty White Had to Stand Far Away from Bea Arthur During a Scene for 1 Unusual Reason

Betty White starred in The Golden Girls from 1985 to 1992. She became close to her co-stars and learned a lot about their quirks and habits. White said she had to stand far away from castmate Bea Arthur during one scene for an unusual reason. Here’s what she said happened.

Betty White said each of ‘The Golden Girls’ cast members got nervous before showtime

Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan, Estelle Getty, and Betty White pose for a picture as 'The Golden Girls.'
(l-r) Bea Arthur as Dorothy Petrillo Zbornak, Rue McClanahan as Blanche Devereaux, Estelle Getty as Sophia Petrillo, and Betty White as Rose Nylund | Herb Ball/NBCU Photo Bank

Although Bea Arthur, Estelle Getty, Rue McClanahan, and White were seasoned professionals, they still got nervous before it was time to perform. In her book Betty White in Person, White says someone should have seen them on Fridays before it was time to be introduced to the studio audience.

She said McClanahan, who played Blanche Deveraux, would “swear” that she doesn’t get nervous, just “excited.” However, White said McClanahan usually had a lot of nervous energy before a show. “I guess I’ve never seen her when she’s been pretty excited!” joked White.

White went on to say that Arthur (she played Dorothy) would get very quiet and stand taller. Getty (she played Sophia) would start talking about retiring from the entertainment industry and moving to her sister’s Florida condominium. White said she would become “aggressively cheerful” when she was nervous. She even joked that she was so cheerful she feared her castmates would “deck” her one day.

The reason Betty White had to stand far away from Bea Arthur in one scene

During The Golden Girls Season 2 Episode 19 (titled “Long Days’ Journey into Marinara”), White’s character, Rose, brings home a live chicken that can play the piano (named Count Bessie). However, Arthur had a difficult time with this scene. She says Arthur was anxious because she had a chicken phobia. She didn’t want to be anywhere near Count Bessie.

During rehearsals, they used a toy instead of a live chicken. However, when the live chicken arrived, Arthur left, according to White. “When ‘Count Bessie’ arrived on the set, Bea turned pale as ghost and split!” she White in her book. White said they had to film a few scenes with the chicken, so the producers staged the scenes so that Arthur was as far away from White and the chicken as possible.

White said she and her co-stars were understanding. They tried not to make chicken jokes and they worked with her so she would feel comfortable on the set.

Betty White was afraid of spiders

Arthur wasn’t the only cast member of The Golden Girls who had a phobia. White revealed she was afraid of spiders. She joked that if she were in a roomful of people, a spider would somehow find her. She also hated how spiders had a way of randomly dropping in front of your face. White was afraid of spiders, but she was able to get to a point where she could capture one and free it outside. However, she would have a “shuddering fit” as soon as the task was done.

RELATED: Betty White Was Afraid of These 5 Things

Follow Sheiresa Ngo on Twitter.