Many of the stars of the Golden Girls had already worked with each other previous to the show.
Rue and Betty both co-starred in the show Mama’s Family, While Bea Arthur and Rue had both previously co-starred together on Maude.
NBC Didn't Want to Cast Bea Arthur
Initially, Susan Harris wrote the role of Dorothy with Arthur in mind, having worked with the amazing actress on several episodes of Maude. However the NBC president at the time, Brandon Tartikoff was against the idea, claiming that Arthur’s “Q” score (a rating system of a performer’s audience appeal) was low— meaning she was recognizable, but not exactly “loveable,” thanks to Maude’s rather liberal beliefs.
Interestingly, the broadway legend, Elaine Stritch, was a contender for the part, but she ruined her chances when she tried improvising her dialogue and then dropped the “F” bomb during her audition.
The Golden Girls Introduced Some Floridian Lingo
The show introduced a new word to its viewers. Most non-Floridian viewers probably weren't familiar with the term lanai. Which, architecturally speaking, is a porch or veranda with a cement floor and an awning, sometimes enclosed by screens. Of course, we can always count on miss Sophia to simplify matters.
Remember this scene? "Dorothy: We are throwing a surprise birthday party for Blanche. I want you to go out to the lanai and mingle with the other guests. Sophia: Check! ...What's a lanai? Dorothy: The porch! Sophia: Excuse me, Krystle Carrington!"
The Classic Theme Song
The producers of the show originally wanted to use Bette Midler’s song, "Friends," as The Golden Girls theme song. However, it was too expensive so they settled with "Thank You For Being A Friend." (Thankfully!)
“Thank You for Being a Friend,” was originally written and recorded by Andrew Gold. For the show, they chose to go with Cynthia Fee who's the person voice you hear.
Getty Wanted to Stay True to Her Heritage
McClanahan once said in an Interview that Getty, a Jewish woman, tried to make her character Sophia's background more similar to hers. “She kept saying, ‘Can’t we make these characters Jewish?!’ She would’ve felt so much more comfortable than trying to be Italian,” she recalled. “Although, I mean, it worked.”
Bea Arthur, Getty's daughter in the show was also Jewish. So that could have been cool if they got to portray an authentic Floridian, Jewish, mother-daughter duo, but the show producers just weren't into it.