Betty White deciding to play one last joke on us all by dying a mere 17 days before what would have been her 100th birthday was perhaps the ultimate send-off from an actress who entertained audiences with her humor for more than 80 years. Although The Golden Girls, a sitcom about four older women who share a house in Florida, completed its run nearly 30 years ago, a whole new generation of young audiences — many of whom weren’t even born during the show’s original airing — love it because the writing is brilliant and continues to stand the test of time. Sadly, the passing of White closes the final chapter on the lives of The Golden Girls cast, with the other three — Estelle Getty, Bea Arthur and Rue McClanahan — having died more than a decade ago. Let’s take a look back at these four lovely ladies’ careers, shall we?
Arthur played Dorothy, a retired substitute teacher who had a sarcastic personality, a quick-temper, and stayed up to date on current events. Arthur started her career in entertainment in 1947, performing in various Off-Broadway theatrical performances, even winning a Tony Award in 1966 for Best Featured Actress in the musical Mame. She made it big on television after being cast as Maude on the sitcom All in the Family, leading to her own spin-off series for which she won several Golden Globes and Emmy Awards. After The Golden Girls ended in 1992, Arthur continued to make guest appearances on TV, including lending her voice on an episode of Futurama and playing Larry David’s mother in Curb Your Enthusiasm. She remained in the public to the very end, passing away from lung cancer in 2009 at the age of 86.