Talk about star-power! Bea Arthur starred in two hit shows (The Golden Girls & Maude) that both ended because she decided to leave. While they play the opposite, in fact Estelle Getty (who plays Sophia) is younger than her on screen daughter, Dorothy (played by Bea Arthur). Maybe it was due to her younger age but Estelle Getty suffered from stage fright every Friday night for the first five months of shooting! Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan, Estelle Getty and Betty White all won Emmy Awards for their work on the show. In the original series concept, the cook, Coco had a much bigger role, but was written out of the show after the first episode because Sophia turned out to be a much stronger character and they didn't need him. The arrival of The Golden Girls knocked the NBC s juggernaut series The Cosby Show out of its #1 position the week the series premiered. The tall and short of it is this: Bea Arthur is 5' 9" and towers over her screen mother, Estelle Getty who measures up at 4' 11". The Golden Girls was such a hit that it spawned two spin-off series. Both "Empty Nest" and "The Golden Palace" had decent runs. Talk about suffering for your art! It would take 45 minutes in make-up to transform the youthful-looking Estelle into the elderly Sophia.