Are all the Golden Girls stars dead now after Betty White’s passing?

Bruno Cooke January 6, 2022
Are all the Golden Girls stars dead now after Betty White’s passing?
Photo by ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

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The Golden Girls starred Beatrice Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty. Betty White died of natural causes just weeks before her 100th birthday – are all the key cast members of Golden Girls now dead?

Are all the Golden Girls dead now after Betty White’s passing?

Yes. Betty White was the last surviving member of The Golden Girls’ main cast.

White died “peacefully in her sleep at her home”, her close friend and agent Jeff Witjas told People on January 3.

She played Rose Nylund, née Lindström, a Norwegian American from the small farming town of St Olaf in Minnesota. 

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Betty White’s death on December 31 came just over two weeks before she would have turned 100. 

Her acting career spanned eight decades – her first role in a short film was in 1945, and she acted in two films, Trouble and Toy Story 4, in 2019. In the latter, she voiced Bitey White, a toy tiger.

What about fellow Golden Girls Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty?

Estelle Getty was the first of the Golden Girls to pass away. She was 84 when, in July 2008, she died as a result of dementia with Lewy bodies. Her headstone bears the words, “With Love and Laughter”.

Beatrice Arthur, born Bernice Frankel in 1922, began her career on stage in 1947. She married twice, taking and keeping the surname (though differently spelled) of her first husband, Robert Alan Aurthur. 

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Photo by ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

In April 2009, Beatrice Arthur died of lung cancer at her home in Brentwood, Los Angeles. She was 86.

A year later, in June 2010, fellow Golden Girls star Rue McClanahan died after suffering a brain haemorrhage. In the decade before her death, McClanahan was diagnosed with, and treated successfully for, breast cancer. She was 76 when she died.

How old were the Golden Girls during the show?

The Golden Girls aired on NBC from September 1985 to May 1992. 

That means that its cast members aged seven years along with the show’s seven seasons.

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When the show started, Betty White and Beatrice Arthur (both born 1922) were 63 years old. They were both 70 years of age when the show concluded in May 1992.

Estelle was a year younger than Bea and Betty. She was 62 when The Golden Girls first came out, and 69 when it finished. 

Rue, meanwhile, was 11 years younger than Estelle and 12 years younger than Betty and Beatrice. Born 1934, Rue McClanahan was 51 when The Golden Girls first arrived on TV screens, and 58 when it ended in May 1992.

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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or onurbicycle.com.