‘The Golden Girls’: Rue McClanahan Pretended to Eat Cheesecake Onscreen

When it comes to popular classic TV shows, The Golden Girls is at the top of the list. The 1980s sitcom about four older women living in Miami became the main staple of Saturday night television. Every week, viewers tuned in to see the latest antics from their favorite gals. In just about every episode, the ladies would gather in the kitchen to enjoy their favorite dessert: cheesecake. But did the actors eat the food during filming?

'The Golden Girls' actor Bea Arthur in a purple sweater and plaid shirt, and Rue McClanahan in a pink outfit, sitting at the kitchen table.
Bea Arthur and Rue McClanahan I ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

‘The Golden Girls’ star Rue McClanahan didn’t eat cheesecake

Cheesecake has become synonymous with The Golden Girls. During the show’s seven-year run, most scenes consist of the ladies eating dessert and discussing their problems. Many fans were always curious about whether the actors ate the food during their sets.

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In Golden Girls Forever: An Unauthorized Look Behind The Lanai, author Jim Colucci dishes what happened during the cheesecake scenes. Rue McClanahan claimed she never ate the dessert. “I would actually put a bite of cheesecake on my fork and move it close to my mouth. Then when the camera cut to someone else, I’d put it on a plate under my chair. By the time they’d cut back to me, I would pretend to be chewing,” McClanahan was quoted as saying.

Betty White disputed Rue McClanahan’s claims

The girls had a lot of late-night talks over cheesecake. According to IMDB.com, throughout the show’s run, over 100 cheesecakes were consumed. While her co-star might not have minded the decadent dessert, Bea Arthur wasn’t a fan. “I hate cheesecake. I didn’t like the cheesecake scenes, either,” Arthur admitted.

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As for Betty White, the star said she loved cheesecake but never ate it on camera. However, she disputed McClanahan’s claims of never eating food onscreen. “If it’s on camera, it’s a license to steal, as far as Rue is concerned. It has no calories. So she’d not only eat the cheesecake, but when Sophia would make spaghetti, she’d eat that, too.”

Rose Nylund got her roommates hooked on cheesecake

The season 1 finale of The Golden Girls explained how their love of cheesecake began. “The Way We Met” showed how Dorothy Zbornak (Arthur) and Rose Nylund (White) became Blanche Devereaux’s (McClanahan) roommates. Their living arrangement gets off to a rocky start during a disastrous trip to the supermarket.

The ladies continue to argue on the way home, and they realize living together isn’t going to work. Rose tells one of her St. Olaf stories, which leaves Dorothy and Blanche in giggles. After bonding over Rose’s story, the three decide to give their living arrangement another shot. They then celebrate with a chocolate cheesecake Rose bought, and Dorothy proclaims, “I think this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”