Where Is the ‘Golden Girls’ Cast Now?

There really isn’t any other TV show in history with an older cast that’s still as loved today as The Golden Girls. When NBC debuted the show in 1985, there was already a bias against older demographics in the rating system. Nevertheless, how could NBC executives say no to an ensemble sitcom with Betty White, Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan, and Estelle Getty?

Latter wasn’t quite as well known yet when the show began, but she quickly became a favorite while fooling everyone into thinking she was older than she really was.

Nowadays, you see college-age adults still falling in love with The Golden Girls on streaming and in cable reruns. If only the entire cast were still alive to see that. Thankfully, one still is.

What happened to Bea Arthur after ‘The Golden Girls’ ended?

'The Golden Girls'
The Golden Girls | Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank

Not many people remember there was a brief spinoff series to The Golden Girls in 1992 called The Golden Palace that had the women moving to a Miami hotel they invest in. It turned out the hotel is stripped of its staff other than two, leaving the “girls” to figure out to make the hotel profitable.

By this point, the already iconic Arthur decided not to participate in this show because her character (Dorothy) had married and moved away. However, Arthur did appear as Dorothy in a two-part episode during the season.

This show wasn’t nearly as popular and was canceled in 1993. For Arthur, she’d become a TV legend but only decided to make guest appearances on talk/variety shows/sitcoms for the rest of her life. Her real love was for the Broadway stage where she cut her teeth originally in showbiz before finding success with Norman Lear’s Maude in the ’70s. She found more success on Broadway during the 1990s and 2000s.

Her death in 2009 was the end of an era that included Arthur conquering virtually every entertainment medium.

What happened to Rue McClanahan after ‘The Golden Girls’ ended?

There isn’t a doubt McClanahan was one of the great comedic character actresses of her generation. Everyone knew her as a familiar face on dozens of sitcoms in the decades prior to landing her role as Blanche Devereaux.

We all guffawed when the writers of The Golden Girls made Blanche a dirty 60-something woman. Well, the entire cast had elements of that, which made it so hilarious and real.

McClanahan’s movie, TV, and stage credits are as voluminous as Arthur’s, including winning awards in all three categories. Despite her Blanche character becoming legendary, she kept working through the 1990s and 2000s, right up to a year before her death.

She suffered a series of health setbacks in the late 2000s, including breast cancer and then a stroke. Her death in 2010 from a cerebral hemorrhage was sudden and made it a sad occasion being the third Golden Girl to pass in close succession.

What happened to Estelle Getty after ‘The Golden Girls’ ended?

If you wondered who passed first from the original cast, it was indeed Getty in 2008 at age 84. There’s a bit of sad irony to the fact three of the original Golden Girls died a year apart from one another between 2008-2010.

After The Golden Palace ended, Getty is the only actress from the show to continue her role of Sophia Petrillo for a couple more years. Those of you who remember the NBC sitcom Empty Nest may remember when the show used Sophia as a recurring sideline character. She’d moved back to her retirement home we’d heard had burned during The Golden Girls years.

This means the Sophia character was extant on TV for a decade from 1985-1995. Getty stayed active for a while afterward, acting in a few movies and TV projects until retiring in 2000 due to a Lewy body dementia diagnosis.

What happened to Betty White after ‘The Golden Girls’ ended?

No one can disagree on White being the most beloved comedic celebrity of all time. The things she’s done since The Golden Girls days is beyond measure, though we can notably put Hot in Cleveland as a highlight of many while showcasing her comedic abilities into her 90s.

At age 97 this year, White isn’t slowing down, including having a voice cameo in Toy Story 4 playing “Bitey White.” Everyone is rooting for her to make it to 100 so we can celebrate one of the most enduring showbiz careers only becoming more popular the older she became.