As much as the The Golden Girls was about friendship, family, freaky elderly sex, and the joys of Floridian weather patterns, it was also about getting old and dying. Dorothy, Rose, Blanche, and Sophia didn't just need each other because the men and children in their lives were gone. They formed a surrogate family because, well, they were gonna croak eventually, and that's when you need a friend who gets you the most. Who better to share the last few decades of your life with than someone who knows exactly what you're going through?
But what do the actors think now that they've "crossed over"? Do they have any special insight into life back on Earth? Can they offer advice to their fans? Are they cool with how renewed interest in their show made pastels popular again? To answer these questions, I asked Anya Briggs, a New York-based psychic medium, to tell me how Bea Arthur, Estelle Getty, and Rue McClanahan are holding up on the other side of the etheric plane.
VICE: I love the Golden Girls. What if I wanted to talk to Rue McClanahan and Bea Arthur and Estelle Getty? Can we talk to them?
Anya Briggs: OK, they’re highly amused. Are they all dead? Are all four of them gone? No, Betty White’s still alive. Yeah, I’m only getting the three women. So it’s the tall woman…?
Yeah, Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan, and Estelle Getty.
I would be the grumpy bitch. That’s who I would be. The one with the glasses, always being grumpy. They would rather we talk about past lives and things like that. They’re kind of just like, perching in and listening. They’re like, “We don’t want to talk right now.”
Are they still friends?
They are! Well, there’s love. They have that karmic soul connection. That’s not an accident that they all got cast in that thing. They got on well. At least, now they’re getting on well. I’m getting that there was some bitchiness and rivalry on the set. This is hilarious. This is the best famous person request I’ve ever had. They were sisters in past lifetimes, believe it or not.
I’m getting in Mesopotamia? They were members of a goddess cult. I’m telling you the truth! And the 20th century manifestation of that would be a television show in Hollywood. They were members of a goddess cult that had to do with I want to say Ishtar? Isis? It’s a Mesopotamian goddess. I’m being shown that they’re giving feathers at the alter. They’re handing frawns, like, large feathers that look like palm frawns that look like they came from emus or some north African bird. I don’t know. A winged creature. They’re offering these feathers at the alter as a symbolic gesture. I don’t know what this means. This is hilarious. They’re all wearing these headdresses and everything and they’re really in a goddess cult. It’s very pro-woman, very cool. I like it. There’s some period ritual as well.
No, it’s not gross. It’s just, there’s some blood in a cup thing. It’s kind of worshipped. I know that sounds really satanic or something, but it’s not. It’s menses. Feminine reproduction, the belly, the womb.
That’s interesting because the show itself was so much about female sexuality.
Exactly. That’s what I’m picking up on immediately. There’s one in the pyramids. I’m getting Rue… Wait, Rue McClanahan’s not dead, is she?
Yes, she’s dead. Betty White is the one who’s alive.
Aw. I liked her. Was she the slutty one?
I loved her. She was the saucy one. She actually, I’m seeing her in the pyramids in Egypt. She was a slave girl and very submissive. She was kind of into it. Like, kind of got off on it. It’s kind of funny because she’s this tart on the show. But this was more mentally sexual. It was more about, “Oh yes, I will serve you.” It wasn’t to a pharaoh but it was to a high-ranking rich man in the home. I’m being shown the Pyramids of Giza, I’m being shown Egypt. She very much had a lifetime there. She’s telling me this now. That Rue McClanahan can show me her past life in Egypt is really funny to me. It is pretty crazy.
How do they feel about being gay icons?
They love it. They are so proud to have helped gay people with humor, grit, and chutzpah. They are "built-in drag queens" in spirit, they are saying.
Is it strange for them that people dress like their characters?
Yes. Even in death they still don't understand the popularity of the show as long as it's been since it aired. They are shocked, but delighted. They're saying it's helped tremendously with the way people view geriatrics and aging. Rue McLanahan is wearing a kinky nurse's uniform right now! She's actually hamming it up a bit now. I don't know what that uniform is in reference to, but she's giving her trademark smile and saying "this is the costume I really liked." I guess she wanted to be a nurse at one point? Or a latex nurse? OMG TMI.
Do they know where their wardrobe from the show is kept?
They're saying Burbank. I don't know where specifically. A warehouse? Most of it has been donated or given to charity they are saying. I see warehouses for the TV industry involved with this. "They own it, not us!" they're saying.
My fiancee wants to know if Bea Arthur could be her maid of honor at our wedding.
Bea is smiling and laughing but says she doesn't feel qualified for the honor but wants you to know she "treasures you a lot too, kid" (meaning, your fiancee) and likes her spirit too! Know that she is "there in spirit sending her blessings on this honor-filled day." She is blown away that anyone would ask her. She's reluctantly saying yes, but is laughing at the same time and says "I don't understand, but OK."
Anything else from the Golden Girls?
They’re saying your spirituality is your wellbeing, dearheart. And they love you! They’re stroking your hair and saying, “Oh, what a good looking man!” They’re stroking your hair and they’ve put their hands on your shoulders. Rue is stroking your hair and Bea Arthur has her hand here, and Estelle Getty has her hand here, and they’re just smiling and laughing.
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