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"The Golden Girls" turns 30: 10 things you didn't know

Clockwise from left, "The Golden Girls" cast members Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan, Betty White and Estelle Getty pose for a photo. McClanahan died on June 3, 2010 after suffering a stroke. She was 76. Arthur died in 2009 after battling cancer, and Getty died in 2008. "Golden Girls" Star Rue McClanahan Dies at 76 AP Photo

It's been 30 years since "The Golden Girls" first aired on Sept. 14, 1985. The show seemed like a gamble, banking on a group of female retirees to win over young viewers, but the bet paid off.

"The Golden Girls" are still beloved by people of all ages -- Betty White, who played lovable ditz Rose Nylund, said she still gets fan mail from viewers in their 20s.

Unfortunately, White is the lone survivor of the cast; RIP Bea Arthur, who played sensible Dorothy Zbornak, Estelle Getty, who portrayed Dorothy's mother Sophia Petrillo, and Rue McClanahan, who played the sultry Blanche Devereaux.

The show lives on, though, and even if you consider yourself a diehard fan, you may not know everything that went on behind the scenes. Here are 10 things you need to know about the show.

1. Even Royals loved "The Golden Girls"

Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in a 1993 photo. AP Photo

The Queen Mother loved "The Golden Girls" so much she invited the cast to do a live performance for the Royal Variety Performance at the London Palladium in 1988.

Bea Arthur told the Orlando Sentinel at the time that the ladies would keep it classy for Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, saying, "We'll do about seven minutes from the show, but we'll have to censor a few things for the queen."

Betty White said last year during her Reddit "Ask Me Anything" session that she even had the chance to chat with the Queen.

She wrote on the site: "It was very exciting. The Queen was lovely. We were told not to address her unless we were addressed. She was up in a box and she came down on stage after with Princess Anne. She said lovely, pretty girls. I said and not bad body, and she said, 'oh, no, not bad bodies!'" (White wrote in her book "Here We Go Again: My Life in Television" that the Queen was referring to the Rockettes, who also performed.)

2. Too much cheesecake

Betty White played Rose Nylund on "Golden Girls." TV Land

"Oh, do you know how many problems we have solved over cheesecake at this kitchen table?" Dorothy Zbornak once asked on "The Golden Girls."

No TV characters loved their cheesecake as much as the Girls. The characters indulged in more than 100 cheesecakes over the series' 7-year run.

We're guessing Bea Arthur, who played Dorothy on the show, wasn't too happy -- the actress reportedly hated cheesecake.

3. Bea Arthur was not friendly

Bea Arthur poses for a photo in 1988. Family spokesman Dan Watt says the 86-year-old actress, who was born Bernice Frankel in New York City in 1922, died at home early Saturday, April 25, 2009. He says Arthur had cancer, but declined to give further details. AP Photo

Speaking of things Bea Arthur hated, she apparently was not very fond of her cast mates.

Both Betty White and Rue McClanahan have gone on the record to say that while they respected each other, Arthur was not friendly to them.

"Bea and I didn't have a lot of relationship going on," McClanahan said in the interview below. "Bea is a very, very eccentric woman. She wouldn't go to lunch [with me] unless Betty [White] would go with her."

In 2011 at a TimesTalk, White admitted that she and Arthur did not get along. She said, "Bea had a reserve. She was not that fond of me. She found me a pain in the neck sometimes. It was my positive attitude -- and that made Bea mad sometimes. Sometimes if I was happy, she'd be furious!"

But McClanahan put it in plainer words and said that Arthur once called White a c**t.

During a 2009 tribute to Arthur, who died of cancer on April 25 of that year, McClanahan drew big laughs when she recalled that after she and her husband saw Arthur's one-woman show in 2002, Arthur said to McClanahan's husband Morrow Wilson, "I love Rue! Betty [White] is a c**t!" reported Out.

We're clutching our pearls!

4. Estelle Getty had stage fright

Actress Estelle Getty displays the Emmy she won at the 40th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards in Pasadena, Calif., Aug. 28, 1998. Getty won best supporting actress in a comedy series for her role of Sophia in "The Golden Girls." In 2000, she stopped making public appearances after revealing that she had Parkinson's Disease and osteoporosis. It was later revealed she a progressive brain disease known as Lewy Body Dementia. AP Photo/Lennox McLendon

Bea Arthur wasn't the only difficult cast member of "Golden Girls" -- Estelle Getty was often anxious before tapings because she had stage fright.

McClanahan said in the below interview that Getty had such severe stage fright that she constantly forgot her lines.

"She'd panic," said McClanahan in the below interview. "She would start getting under a dark cloud the day before tape day ... You could see a big difference in her that day. She'd be walking around like Pigpen under a black cloud. By tape day, she was unreachable. She was just as uptight as a human being could get. When your brain is frozen like that, you can't remember lines."

Part of the reason for Getty's stage fright was that the actress was inexperienced compared to her cast mates -- this was her first big TV role.

"Sophia" was actually younger than "Dorothy"

Actress Estelle Getty poses in West Hollywood, Calif. Jan. 29, 1986. Carl Gettleman, one of her two sons, says the co-star of the TV show "The Golden Girls" died early Tuesday, July 22, 2008, at home in Los Angeles. Gettleman says she suffered from advanced dementia. AP Photo/Steve Dykes

In spite of her stage fright, Estelle Getty did an amazing job portraying the sassy Sophia Petrillo, mother of Dorothy Zbornak. Sophia was especially known for her one-line zingers, and they all made us forget that Getty was actually younger than the actress who played her daughter, Bea Arthur.

Don't feel too sorry for Getty, though -- she looked much younger in real life and spent the most amount of time in the makeup chair on "The Golden Girls" set so she could look as old as her fictional counterpart.

Betty White was supposed to play Blanche

Betty White speaks onstage during the 2015 TV Land Awards at Saban Theatre on April 11, 2015 in Beverly Hills. Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

Betty White has become America's favorite grandma in recent years, and fans know her as sweet and cheerful, thanks to her onscreen character Rose Nylund.

But White was originally supposed to play Blanche Devereaux on "The Golden Girls."

At a talk at the Paley Center in 2006, White said she auditioned to play Blanche. She had wrapped up playing "neighborhood nyphomaniac" Sue Anne Nivens in the "Mary Tyler Moore Show."

White said that director Jay Sandrich decided to scrap White as Blanche.

"'If Betty plays another man-hungry [woman], they're going to think it's Sue Ann revisited, so let's make her Rose," said White. "And then they went out and got a real nymphomanic to play [Blanche]."

Rue McClanahan, who was sitting a few seats away, looked completely unperturbed.

White said McClanahan was the best Blanche in the end.

"This one took Blanche out of orbit where I never would have had the guts to go," she said of McClanahan.

Rue McClanahan gave Blanche a Southern accent

Rue McClanahan as Blanche Devereaux on "The Golden Girls." AP

Believe it or not, Blanche was not always meant to have a Southern accent.

McClanahan said the director for the pilot, Jay Sandrich, stopped her when she put on a Southern accent, even though the character was supposed to be "more Southern than Blanche DuBois," according to the script.

"Jay Sandrich said, 'No, no, no. I don't want to hear a Southern accent,'" said McClanahan. She said that he told her to use her normal Oklahoma accent even though Blanche was supposed to be from Georgia.

When the show got picked up with a different director, she was encouraged to pick up the Southern accent again.

The Girls were supposed to have a gay BFF

Charles Levin played cook Coco for only the pilot episode of "The Golden Girls." NBC

The pilot episode of "The Golden Girls" featured a gay cook who worked for the Girls, named Coco Davis.

Apparently, Sophia was such an unexpected hit with test audiences that producers said "You go, Coco" to actor Charles Levin -- there was only room for one character who had lots of one-liner insults to dole out.

We're glad they chose Sophia.

Quentin Tarantino was on "Golden Girls"

Quentin Tarantino attends Comic-Con International 2014 at the San Diego Convention Center on July 27, 2014 in San Diego. Jerod Harris/Getty Images

"The Golden Girls" had plenty of interesting guest actors -- George Clooney, Burt Reynolds, Dick Van Dyke -- but perhaps the most eyebrow-raising one was Quentin Tarantino.

A pre-fame Tarantino played an Elvis impersonator on the episode when Sophia got married to Max Weinstock.

Skip to 4:30. Can you spot Tarantino in the back row?

There were two spinoffs to "Golden GIrls"

From left, Estelle Getty, Rue McClanahan, Bea Arthur and Betty White from "The Golden Girls." AP

Have you already forgotten "The Golden Palace" and "Empty Nest"?

After Bea Arthur left "The Golden Girls," Estelle Getty, Rue McClanahan and Betty White reprised their characters on "The Golden Palace," which only lasted one season. "The Golden Palace" followed the Girls as they ran a Miami hotel.

After "The Golden Palace" wrapped, Getty took her character to the series "Empty Nest" as Sophia moved into the Shady Pines retirement home. "Empty Nest" began as a spinoff based on the Girls' neighbors in 1988. Getty stayed on for the last two seasons.

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