We know full well how Bea Arthur felt about her Golden Girls co-star Betty White, partly thanks to all those years when Rue McClanahan ran around saying that Bea called Betty a C-word.
In Rue’s book, there was also the darling little anecdote about how Bea was pissed when Betty was the first of that cast’s ensemble to get nominated for the Best Actress Emmy.
But I guess Betty’s been too busy working — and living and triumphing — to give her side of the story.
At last night’s TimesTalk, the 89-year-old supernova — promoting her new book, If You Ask Me — took a breath and 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!”
Well, nowadays, Betty is so bursting-at-the-seams with success and happiness it would have driven poor Bea batty.
Oh, well, Bea’s at peace now — and so are Rue and Estelle Getty.
But hey, what about Estelle?
Well, said Betty, her big quirk was that she hated doing any scripts involving death.
“Death frightened her very much,” confided Betty.
“It was almost a phobia!”
I bet Bea frightened her too!
(Kidding. I worshipped all four of these ladies, phobias and all. Damn, they were good.)
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 5, 2011