The Golden Girls Character Betty White Was Originally Going To Play

Remember The Golden Girls? Even if you were too young to watch it the first time around, the magic of on-demand streaming video will allow you to catch up on everything you missed due to the fact that you were too busy with potty training, preparing for kindergarten, or whatever you were up to back when Betty White was a babe of 60-something.

We're just going to assume, for argument's sake, that you're familiar with the basic premise of the show in which Betty plays sweet, spacey Rose Nylund, while Rue McClanahan was man-hungry Blanche Devereaux, Bea Arthur was sarcastic-yet-strong Dorothy Zbornak, and Estelle Getty (who was actually younger than Betty) played the cranky old lady of the bunch, Dorothy's mom Sophia Petrillo. Now imagine, if you will, an alternate universe in which Betty actually played Blanche, while Rue McClanahan took the role of Rose. Mind boggling, right? Well, you were actually this close to living in a world where that actually happened.

Why Betty White wasn't going to be cast as Rose on The Golden Girls

A Rose by any other actress... just wouldn't be the same. Still, when The Golden Girls' producers were originally casting the show, they had in mind Betty as she appeared in her '70s hit, The Mary Tyler Moore Show. In this series, Betty played a character called Sue Ann Nivens, who, while she played the Happy Homemaker on the local news station, was quite man-hungry off-camera. The producers had second thoughts, however, and were afraid that a Blanche played by Betty would be seen as Sue #2, which wasn't quite what they had in mind. Instead, they pulled a switch with Rue McClanahan's character — much to Rue's subsequent relief, as she later admitted to Glamour that she wouldn't have had the slightest idea how to play Rose's character (via The Blast).

Luckily, Betty had no such qualms, and she absolutely nailed her portrayal of Rose to the point where we can't possibly imagine any other actress playing that role. While The Golden Girls is gone and never to return like many TV favorites, at least we still have Betty, and for that we are truly grateful.