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The memorable night I met Betty White … and realized Bea Arthur could not stand her

Before we had Facebook and iPhones, whenever I took a photo with a celebrity, I’d have a print made and put it in a photo album.

One of those albums had been misplaced for several years and I had given up on it ever being found.

Then last week, I got a call from my mom: ‘I’m having a garage sale next weekend and anything you haven’t claimed stored in my garage, I’m selling!’

Now, my mom is usually a sweetie but she had been warning me for months and I had put her off.

So Saturday, I arrived at my childhood home in Orange County and started going through 5-6 boxes of belongings I had “temporarily” stored in her garage during a move about five years ago.

In one of the boxes was a large black photo album filled with photos of me with the likes of George Clooney, Jamie Lee Curtis, Sally Field, Tony Bennett, Forrest Whitaker, Monique, Kevin Bacon, Tammy Faye, Dennis Quaid and even Idris Elba!

I quickly started digitizing some of them including a real gem I thought was lost forever: me with Betty White.

I think it was 2004 and I know it was at The Paley Center in Beverly Hills. On that night, there was a Golden Girls reunion that included a panel with Betty, Rue McClanahan and Bea Arthur that was moderated by Melissa Rivers.

I was in the front row and it was very apparent to me, for the first time, that Bea could not stand Betty!

I had no idea and years later, both Betty and Rue confirmed this inĀ  interviews.

After the panel, Bea hugged Rue goodbye and quickly left. Betty called out to her, ‘Bea!”They both disappeared behind the curtain so I’m not sure what, if any, pleasantries were exchanged.

Anyway, I had my moment with Betty in the lobby before the panel began. We had a really good laugh when I told her that my absolute favorite Rose Nyland moment was when a little girl was holding Rose’s beloved teddy bear for ransom. In a moment of expert comedy timing, Rose grabs the teddy bear out of the little girl’s clutches and pushes her out the door while saying, “Sometimes life just isn’t fair kiddo!’

On the Betty-Bea front, the dislike Arthur felt – which White has made clear was not at all mutual – was never apparent in any of the Golden Girls episodes over seven seasons.

These total pros made magic together on-screen year after year and I’m still enjoying the heck out of them in reruns.


(All comments are reviewed before being published, and I review submissions several times per day.)

10 Remarks

  1. Sad to hear that Bea disliked Betty. How can you not like Betty White?

  2. Did you ever find out why Bea Arthur didn’t like Betty White?

  3. Bea never discussed it – not sure even Betty knows why.

  4. @Greg-More of a personality clash than anything else?

  5. I think so.

  6. GG is one of my all-time favourite shows but I remember how sad I was the first time I heard about Bea not liking Betty.

  7. From everything I’ve read about Bea Arthur, she was a very complicated person, and could be rather abrasive, I think Betty is, and has always been, very upbeat, so it was probably just a case of two very different personalities.

  8. @JP-Abrasive is correct. I read the encounter Rufus Wainright had with her and all I can say to that is OUCH.

  9. I’ve always heard there were many behind-the scenes clashes between the two of them on the show. You don’t know the famous story of Bea taking a dump in the middle of Betty’s dressing room?

  10. October 20th, 2015 at 11:11 pm
    Chandler in Las Vegas says:

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