Just over a month after the death of Betty White, one of her former colleagues has revealed more details about how the beloved TV icon ran afoul with some of her most high-profile co-stars.
White’s death on December 31 sent her scores of fans into a deep state of mourning. (We’re still recovering from the sadness ourselves!) Generations of viewers had grown up watching her work on game shows, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and, of course, The Golden Girls.
Now, casting director Joel Thurm, who assembled the cast of The Golden Girls, has gone public about the alleged on-set friction between White and her co-stars.
Speaking to the podcast The Originals, Thurm shared his recollection of a tense exchange between with Bea Arthur about White.
“Literally Bea Arthur, who I cast in something else later on, just said ‘oh, [White is] a f*cking c*nt, using that word,” he said. “She called her the C-word, I heard it with my own ears.”
Thurm went on to claim Arthur wasn’t the only one to apply the label to White.
“By the way, so did Rue McClanahan. [McClanahan] said it to me in Joe Allen’s [restaurant],” he added.
Thurm further elaborated that White’s co-stars made the remark out of frustration with White making fun of fellow Golden Girl Estelle Getty struggling to remember her lines. Doctors would later diagnose Getty with dementia and Parkinson’s Disease.
White spoke many times about the on-set tension between herself and Bea Arthur, though she always insisted she and Rue McClanahan remained close friends until McClanahan’s death in 2010.
Thurm made his appearance on The Originals as part of the promotion for his new memoir Sex Drugs & Pilot Season, in which he shares anecdotes about his career in Hollywood and on Broadway casting such TV shows and films as Grease, Chico and the Man, and more.
We don’t want to end this post on a negative note, so here’s a video of Cher performing “Thank You For Being A Friend” on last month’s Celebrating Betty White special that aired on NBC.