the golden girls The Greatest Golden Girls Guest Stars, Ranked

Lisa Waugh
1.2k votes 4.9k views 23 items
The Golden Girls ran for seven seasons, earned 68 Emmy nominations, tackled social issues, and created a diehard following that is still hard to beat. Besides the masterful performances of the show's stars Rue McClanahan (Blanche Devereaux), Bea Arther (Dorothy Zbornak), Betty White (Rose Nylund), and Estelle Getty (Sophia Petrillo), the show featured some of the best actors of the '70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s in awesome guest roles. The Golden Girls required stage and screen actors who knew how to handle the wonderfully written material as well as hold their own against four strong, extremely deadpan, and intelligent series regulars.  

The Golden Girls cameos included the likes of Civil Rights activist and stage legend Ruby Dee, the hilarious and charming Leslie Nielsen, and a Sun Studios-version of Elvis played by then unknown actor Quentin Tarantino. George Clooney can also count himself among The Golden Girls guest actors along with America's favorite TV Joker Cesar Romero. The show spanned a vast demographic, grabbing viewer’s loyalty and keeping it, all without the Internet or social media. Thirty years later, The Golden Girls is still quoted in daily life, memes abound, and Betty White reigns supreme.  

The Golden Girls cameos required more of the actor than just showing up and saying one-liners. The guest actors had to be on top of their game as the show took on sex, homelessness, immigration, gay rights, race, and even a trans plot line.  

You’ll easily recognize many of these Golden Girls guest stars but many are now lost to the deep folds of time and the merciless churn of the internet cycle. Still, Golden Girls devotees know who they are. And now, with this Golden Girls guest actors list, you’ll know them too.  

Vote up your favorite Golden Girls cameos and try to guess how many of them Blanche slept with.
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Leslie Nielsen


Leslie Nielsen is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Golden Girls Guest Stars, Ranked
Photo: user uploaded image
Played: Lucas Hollingsworth 
Episode: “One Flew Out of the Cuckoo's Nest”  

Blanche’s uncle would win the grand prize by landing the hardest to get Golden Girl of the bunch: Dorothy. Nielsen and Arthur not only had chemistry, they knew how to lay out some golden comedy. Viewers couldn’t get enough and cheered when the two characters married in the season finale. But that ending, as satisfying as it was, summarily meant the end of the Golden Girls as fans knew them. 

Sources: BoyCulture, WhatCulture

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Alice Ghostley


Alice Ghostley is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Golden Girls Guest Stars, Ranked
Photo: user uploaded image
Played: Mrs. Zbornak  
Episode: “Mother’s Day”  

Ghostley was considered the Amy Poehler of her time. The improv actor was excellent on stage, as well as on the large and small screens. She was the bumbling witch Esmeralda on Bewitched and Bernice Clifton on Designing Women.   

She played Dorothy’s curmudgeonly ex-mother-in-law on Golden Girls. After we see Stan’s mother, we totally get it. Secretly, she likes Dorothy but won’t let on. Ghostley normally plays lovable characters so Mrs. Zbornak was a fun departure for her.  

Source: BoyCulture
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Nancy Walker


Nancy Walker is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Golden Girls Guest Stars, Ranked
Photo: user uploaded image
Played: Angela  
Episodes: “The Sisters” “Long Day’s Journey into Marinara”  

Walker was a comedian’s comedian and gave Estelle Getty a run for her money as her sister Angela; they looked nearly identical on the show. Walker was a go to on many a hit show in the ’70s and ’80s. Her stint on Golden Girls proved she still had it.  

Source: BoyCulture
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Bob Hope


Bob Hope is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Golden Girls Guest Stars, Ranked
Photo: user uploaded image
Played: Himself  
Episode: “You Gotta Have Hope”  

Hope’s appearance on the show demonstrated just how strong the ratings always were. Anyone who was anyone wanted to be on Golden Girls. To get Hope to stroll by was something of a feat, but it happened. The episode’s plot had Rose thinking Hope was her real father. We would later find out that her real father was Brother Martin (Don Ameche). Hope and Ameche appeared together starting in radio and also collaborated on several films.

Source: Bustle

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Dick Van Dyke


Dick Van Dyke is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Golden Girls Guest Stars, Ranked
Photo: user uploaded image
Played: Ken Whittingham  
Episode: “Love Under the Big Top”  

Van Dyke was already a legend by the time he played Dorothy’s love interest who wants to give up his law practice to become a full time professional clown. Alas, the joke was on him as Dorothy did not ride around in his clown car and that was that. Ta da!

Van Dyke learned that playing opposite of Bea Arthur was no joke and required using all of his comedy skills. In fact, Golden Girls helped to establish the dramedy genre.

Source: WhatCulture

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Cesar Romero


Cesar Romero is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Golden Girls Guest Stars, Ranked
Photo: user uploaded image
Played: Tony Delveccio  
Episode: “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun... Before they Die” 
 
Romero was a get for the show because he was a very popular Hollywood golden age actor, most notable for playing the Joker on the Batman TV series. He played Sophia’s love interest in the episode. In real life, Estelle Getty was 16 years younger than Romero. That old age makeup was a master of disguise for the spry Getty.
 
In his early Hollywood years, Romero was often seen on the arm of top starlets such as Joan Crawford and is rumored to have been gay. The conservative actor never talked about his sexuality and remarked that he was a “confirmed bachelor."

Source: BoyCulture

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Burt Reynolds


Burt Reynolds is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Golden Girls Guest Stars, Ranked
Photo: user uploaded image
Played: Himself  
Episode: “Ladies of the Evening” 

1986 Burt Reynolds was lightning hot and his appearance was one of the many hugely popular Golden Girls cameos. This was the same year Heat came out, so ladies were surely feeling that in their respective under carriages. 

Source: BoyCulture

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Debbie Reynolds


Debbie Reynolds is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Golden Girls Guest Stars, Ranked
Photo: user uploaded image
Played: Truby Steele 
Episode: "There Goes the Bride Part 2"  
 
With her three dead husbands and identical Southern belle problems of checking into hotel rooms using a fake name, Reynolds's Trudy was Blanche’s female soulmate. She almost took Dorothy’s slot in the house until the latter came to her sense’s and didn’t marry her ex, Stan.  

Source: WhatCulture 

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