It is hard to believe that it has been over 30 years since The Golden Girls came on the air. As you can see from the above pictures I was in an episode of the classic series, it was one of the best experiences I have ever had.
I was in college and I was using the money for classes, as well as my job as travel agent, to make it through CSUN and later UCLA. I found out about the audition for the part of a homeless mother at an acting class I was taking.
I went down, auditioned and got the part. I was so excited, I would work on the show for four whole days, not the one or two day jobs I was used to. And I would get to work with four of the best actors in the business. At least that was what I had hoped, though they were lovely, I never got a chance to talk to either Bea Arthur or Estelle Getty.
But I did have some special moments with the wonderful and very kind Betty White and the funny and affectionate Rue McClanahan! They were both so wonderful. Betty was sitting on a bed across the way from me to do her scene on, and during dress rehearsal we had to stop several time for tech reasons, lighting and such. We had to stay in the area but we were allowed to stretch our legs for five minutes. So during one of those breaks I approached her and told her how much her work meant to me both as an actress and as an animal rights activist. It was Betty and Doris Day that inspired me to start a Jr. Chapter of Actors and Other’s For Animals in my High School. After I told her she gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek and said, “Good Girl!” I could have flown home.
Rue, was so funny and I met her early in the morning, I was always early on a studio show, first of all I got a kick out of being on a lot. I just loved the feel and atmosphere of a studio. I was getting my breakfast off the catering table, they always put a spread out, I had a bagel and they had the most saliva making looking lox there but no cream cheese. I was about to use the butter when Rue came over smiling at me as she made up her plate. Then she put her hands on her hips and at the top of her voice she called out, ” Where the______ is the _______cream cheese?” She put her hand on my arm and she said, “Are you waiting for the cream cheese, honey?” I smiled and nodded, “Yes, Miss McClanahan.” “Call me Rue, Honey.” She said with a wicked grin, then she called out, “We are both being deprived our breakfast, we need cream cheese.” The catering girl came with three different kinds, and apologized, “I am so sorry, a new kid did the spread, here are several kinds.” “Thank you, (she said her name but I don’t remember it) you’re a darling.” We each spread on a different type of cream cheese onto our bagels. She winked at me, “Always ask for what you want, Honey it is the only way to get anywhere in this world.” I smiled and said, “That’s a good lesson.” She winked at me again then took off for her dressing room with her plate and her orange juice. I went to the players room and sat down and ate my breakfast, Slowly the other specialty and day players came in with their breakfasts and they never knew about my cream cheese lesson.
Working on the show was a learing experience, I learned what to do, and what not to do. I learned about how it was to work a studio show from the beginning and how it hard it is to do it over and over, worse than a play because you don’t have as much rehearsal. On show day, we were there till 1am, but you know what? Everyone was in good humor, worked well together and we had one hell of a good time!
Check out the clip of the show I was in; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPsuHuRdcLw