Betty White Said She Made This TV Co-Star "Furious"
While she was widely beloved, the TV icon's personality irked her fellow lead.
It's hard to imagine anyone not loving Betty White. The TV icon, who died on Dec. 31 just shy of her 100th birthday, delighted audiences on series including The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Golden Girls, and Hot in Cleveland. She was also a lifelong animal rights activist, who encouraged other stars to use their celebrity for good. With such an impressive resume both on- and off-screen, White was widely respected and cherished by fans and friends alike. That doesn't mean she didn't ever encounter conflict, however—on one of her most iconic shows, White butted heads with another actor on set. Read on to find out why White made her co-star "furious."
Betty White starred on The Golden Girls from 1985 to 1992.
The Golden Girls premiered on Sept. 14, 1985, and ended up running for an impressive seven seasons. The series followed four women in their golden years sharing a house in Miami. White played Rose Nylund, a sweet but sometimes painfully naive widow prone to sharing stories of her upbringing in St. Olaf. By her side were man-crazy Blanche Devereaux (Rue McClanahan), dry Dorothy Zbornak (Bea Arthur), and Dorothy's feisty mother, Sophia Petrillo (Estelle Getty).
The series has been called groundbreaking for its depiction of women in their 50s and older working, dating, and talking candidly about sex and aging. The show also earned accolades for its willingness to engage with the major issues of the time, including gay rights, immigration, and addiction.
White said that her personality made co-star Arthur "furious."
While the stars of The Golden Girls clearly maintained a professional respect and admiration for each other during filming and beyond, rumors of conflict between White and Arthur have persisted. So was there bad blood between the two legends? There may have been—at least on one end.
Per OK! Magazine, White's positivity and kindness rubbed Arthur the wrong way. "Betty is Ms. Sunshine, and it drew the cast and crew to her," a friend of White's revealed. "Bea thought it was an act—she would barely give Betty the time of day."
And White confirmed it. "She found me a pain in the neck sometimes," she said. "It was my positive attitude—and that made Bea mad sometimes. Sometimes if I was happy, she'd be furious."
McClanahan said her co-stars just approached life differently.
It was no secret that White and Arthur didn't always get along. In a 2009 interview with Greg Hernandez, McClanahan explained that she thought her co-stars' different backgrounds might explain the strife, but said Arthur never revealed the true source of the animosity to her. "They approached life very differently," McClanahan recalled. "Bea came from a New York stage point of view. She always had what we call the fourth wall. And Betty came from a television point of view. She would flirt with the audience, and pull her skirt up and say, 'Hi sailor.' But Bea never acknowledged the audience. I always thought that was maybe part of it. But Bea never confided in me why she felt the way she did about Betty."
Nevertheless, it was one-sided: "Betty was a big fan of Bea. Bea's feelings about Betty were not mutual. She really did love Bea," McClanahan shared in the 2009 interview.
In her 2007 memoir My First Five Husbands…And the Ones That Got Away (via E! News), McClanahan wrote, "I love both Bea and Betty and got a huge kick out of each of them. Their relationship with each other wasn't all I wished it could be, but it never interfered with their work."
RELATED: For more celebrity news delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
But the women were ultimately professionals who worked together to make great TV.
However many times White made Arthur "furious," the two ultimately came together and helped create one of the greatest sitcoms of all time. As Arthur told E! News, "It was a brilliant working relationship, everybody. There wasn't a weak link in the whole thing."
And according to one insider who spoke to OK! anonymously, Arthur's frustration may have masked genuine affection for her co-star. "Betty felt like Bea never truly liked her, but the truth is that Bea had warmer feelings for her than she let on," the insider shared. "She just had trouble expressing them."