1. Betty White clashed with Bea Arthur
White told Joy Behar during a 2011 CNN interview that she got along with everyone in The Golden Girls cast. However, she admits that Bea Arthur didn’t like her very much. “Bea was not that fond of me,” said White. “I don’t know what I ever did, but she was not that thrilled with me. But I loved Bea, and I admired her.”
White also spoke about her relationship with Arthur during a Times Talks interview. “Bea had a reserve,” said White (via The Village Voice). “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 angry sometimes. Sometimes if I was happy, she’d be furious!”
2. Betty White said her ‘Golden Girls’ co-stars would probably ‘deck’ her
In her book, White joked that her co-stars would “deck” her for one habit they found annoying. She mentioned that each of The Golden Girls stars had a habit that would come out when they were nervous before a show. According to White, Rue McClanahan would get very excitable. Arthur, on the other hand, would become very quiet. White joked that when Arthur was nervous, she would grab your hand, and you could hear “the bones crack.”
White said Estelle Getty would start talking about retiring and moving to her sister’s house in Florida. White said Getty didn’t mean in the future; she actually meant she was thinking about retiring that day so she could get out of there and avoid having stage fright. In her book If You Ask Me, White said Getty also had a lot of anxiety about dying. She was so fearful of death that The Golden Girls writers couldn’t add death jokes to the script.
White said her behavior when she was nervous before a taping of The Golden Girls got on some of the cast members’ nerves. White said she would often become “aggressively cheerful” before the show.
“Unable to stop myself, all I need is a letter sweater and pompoms,” wrote White in Betty White in Person. “One night, all three of those ladies are going to deck me,” she joked.
3. Betty White described herself as “a cockeyed optimist”
White was known for always being positive. She once told People magazine that being “born a cockeyed optimist” was the reason for her upbeat attitude. “I got it from my mom, and that never changed. I always find the positive.”
White loved going to work each day. She likely stayed upbeat because she enjoyed what she did for a living. During an interview with Entertainment Tonight, White said, “I’m so lucky to be in this business; I never take it for granted.”