2003 Emmy Creative Arts Awards. Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, CA. 13 Sep 2003 Pictured: Betty White.

Betty White & Bea Arthur Were Actually Good Friends, Despite Controversial 'Golden Girls' Scene

Home / News / Betty White & Bea Arthur Were Actually Good Friends, Despite Controversial 'Golden Girls' Scene

By Favour Adegoke on January 26, 2022 at 3:45 PM EST

Betty White starred in the popular TV show "The Golden Girls" besides other amazing actresses such as Bea Arthur, Estelle Getty, and Rue McClanahan. The show was very successful and even bagged several Golden Globe and Primetime Emmy Awards.

As is common amongst long-term co-stars, White and her co-stars became closer as the years ran by, and they filmed more seasons of "The Golden Girls". They learned more about each other, including their habits, quirks, and fears.

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White once mentioned that due to one of Arthur's fears, she had to stand far away from the actress while filming a particular scene of the series. Read on to find out what scene it was and why White had to keep her distance.

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Each Of 'The Golden Girls' Cast Had Pre-showtime Nerves

White, Arthur, Getty, and McClanahan were all seasoned professional actresses by the time they were in Golden Girls. Still, every time they were preparing to perform, they each had nervous habits they just couldn't control.

White wrote about it in her book, "Betty White in Person," and she said that they were all complete messes every Friday just before they were to be introduced to the live studio audience. McClanahan would reportedly swear that she was fine and not nervous at all, just "excited to perform."

However, White said everyone knew she was masking her nerves with excitement. She jokingly wrote, "I guess I've never seen her when she's been pretty excited!" On the other hand, Arthur would become very quiet and stay by herself until it was time to go on stage.

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Getty would get talkative and talk about how she should retire from acting and move to Florida to live with her sister. As for White's nervous habits, she wrote that she would become "aggressively cheerful." She even joked that her cheerfulness annoyed her co-stars so much that she thought they would "deck her one day."

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Why White Had To Stand Far Away From Arthur

In one particular Golden Girls season two episode, Rose (played by White) brought home Count Bessie, a live chicken who can play the piano to show off to her housemates. The problem with this scene was that Arthur found it very difficult to stay in character when they acted out the scene in front of the audience.

According to White, this was due to her acute chicken phobia and desire to be as far away from Count Bessie as possible. Arthur was fine during rehearsals of the episode because they used a toy chicken. However, Arthur couldn't handle it when it was time to use the live chicken.

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White wrote, "When 'Count Bessie' arrived on the set, Bea turned pale as a ghost and split!" The producers eventually had to stage the scene such that Arthur was far away from White, who held the chicken. All the other actresses were also understanding and tried their best to make Arthur comfortable.

White Had A Phobia Of Spiders

Arthur wasn't the only Golden Girl cast member with a phobia. White revealed in her book that she had several phobias, including arachnophobia, a fear of Spiders. She wrote, "I couldn't look at them without that cold chill running all through my body."

White also said that she always tried to be brave and think about how spiders could be beneficial but always turned "to Jell-O" whenever she saw a spider. She joked that in a room full of people, any spider there would somehow appear in front of her.

Despite her fear of spiders, White was able to mostly overcome it through a book she read, titled "Charlotte's Web." Eventually, she captured one in her home and set it free outside. But, once she had set it free, she would think about it and have a shuddering fit.

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White And Arthur Had A Unique Relationship

Because of scenes like the chicken one where White and Arthur stood very far apart, many fans thought that the two were enemies and hated each other.

White herself has admitted that her behavior could sometimes be annoying.

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However, she never publicly expressed any hatred for Arthur and even referred to her fondly several times. It later became clear through interviews with the other cast members that Arthur and White had a special relationship.

McClanahan once spoke about this relationship and said that Arthur regularly refused to do things like lunch if White wasn't ready or present. Despite how annoying she may have found some of White's behavior, Arthur was fond of her in her own way.

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