Golden-Con Welcomes Guest Star Host Eliot Glazer!

“The Golden Girls” Superfan, “Broad City” Star Joins Golden-Con Host Lineup

Burt Reynolds, Cesar Romero, Debbie Reynolds, Bob Hope — Very Special Guest Stars managed to shine and stand out on “The Golden Girls.”

Our Very Special Guest Star host Eliot Glazer will bring his Golden Girls Superfan cachet to the first ever Golden-Con: Thank You For Being A Fan convention as a host and moderator for our super stacked live presentation program. 

Photo courtesy Eliot Glazer

He’s been a frequent guest on the “Out On The Lanai” podcast and has his own Golden Girls tattoo. He’s also written about our favorite girls for publications like “Vulture.”

Eliot is best known so far for his work as “Eliot” on Broad City, on which he was also a writer and producer. Currently, he serves as a Co-Executive Producer on season two of iCarly (Paramount Plus) and is attached to star opposite Arrow‘s Colton Haynes in the AMC Studio original half-hour I Run Hot. He has also written for The Boys Presents: Diabolical (Amazon), New Girl (Fox), Younger (Paramount), and Teachers (TV Land), and can be seen acting opposite Seth Rogen in the film An American Pickle on HBO Max. He hosts the live shows Musique Iconique and Naked Karaoke, as well as the podcast You’re Making It Worse on Starburns Industries.

Find out more:

www.eliotglazer.com

 

We’re Bending Over Backwards for Monte Markham!

Golden-Con organizers are bending over backwards to welcome TV legend Monte Markham to the first ever Golden-Con: Thank You For Being A Fan convention.

Monte Markham, who twice guest-starred on “The Golden Girls” as Blanche’s brother, Clayton Hollingsworth, joins Golden-Con to share his memories of working on set with our favorite girls and meet and greet fans for photo ops and autographs.

Monte Markham, who played Blanche Devereaux’sTV brother, joins actress Rue McClanahan’s real life sister and niece, Dr. Melinda McClanahan and Amelia Kinkade, for a special, first ever reunion of their real life and fictional families.

Markham has a staggering IMDB credit list that includes a stint as Perry Mason and roles on “Mission: Impossible,” “The Six Million Dollar Man,” “Dallas,” “Baywatch,” and “Melrose Place.”

Betty White Golden “Moments” Q&A with Ray Richmond

Betty White Golden “Moments” Q&A with Ray Richmond

Ray Richmond brings Betty White expertise to Golden-Con’s “Be Like Betty” panel

TV journalist and author Ray Richmond’s nearly 40 year career as a TV journalist makes him a pretty good fit to research and expound upon the life of TV trailblazing legend Betty White, whose history with TV reaches all the way back to 1939 and some of the very first TV transmissions. 

Surely nobody was as comfortable in nearly every facet of TV production as the late, great Betty White, posits Richmond, who talked with Thank You For Being A Fan about his new book, “Betty White: 100 Remarkable Moments In An Extraordinary Life” and White’s legitimately squeaky clean reputation. 

Richmond will join the Golden Guest lineup at the first ever Golden-Con: Thank You For Being A Fan convention April 22-24, 2022 in Chicago. He’ll share more about his research and discoveries about Betty White and join the “Be Like Betty” memorial panel.

Biographer assures there’s no “dirt” to be found about Betty White

Betty White: 100 Remarkable Moments In An Extraordinary Life

TYFBAF: Did anything you learned during your research surprise you?

Ray Richmond: I was surprised at how much of a pioneer she was in so many ways. I never knew that she was really there at the very beginning of television and the role she played at the beginning of being a producer of her own shows. And she was ahead of her time on so many issues that showed up on the screens. She was a constant, longtime supporter of LGBTQ equality. And her actions as a star and producer reflected her views on racial equality and gender equality. 

It’s really only in the last handful of years Betty White’s advocacy for social change has come to light.

RR: She never led with that. She never talked about diversifying TV in the fifties by being a woman producer and hiring women to produce and direct. She never talked about standing up for Arthur Duncan, an African American dancer who she featured on “The Betty White Show.” Stations threatened to drop her show because she had a talented black man dancing. And Betty White didn’t blink. She said we’re keeping him. Drop the show if you have to.

From “Betty White: 100 Remarkable Moments In An Extraordinary Life”

Give us your expert opinion on “The Golden Girls,” please.

RR: It’s great comedy and great laughs. When you have such amazing chemistry and talent among the cast, you just have something that becomes a show for the ages. That show has had an afterlife with different generations like no other show apart from, say, “I Love Lucy.” “The Golden Girls” and “I Love Lucy” are in the same ballpark in terms of being able to draw in everyone. And the shine on “The Golden Girls” never seems to fade. That’s incredible considering “The Golden Girls” was a show that wasn’t supposed to happen. It was all wrong in terms of demographics. Advertisers target people, consumers, who are 18-34 and 18-49 almost exclusively. And that’s clearly not what’s represented on “The Golden Girls.”

We hear it over and over again. But it always rings true. Betty White loved working in TV.

RR: Betty White prided herself on being able to thrive in everything she put her mind to, everything she dived into. When she worked on the daytime soap opera “The Bold and the Beautiful,”  she gave it her all. Even the cameo appearances and guest star appearances she did like “Ugly Betty” and “My Name Is Earl’, she put her all into it. That’s the real mark of a true professional. 

Daytime? Soap opera? Our Betty White?

John McCook, who’s the star of “The Bold and the Beautiful”  talks in my book about how tough it is being an outsider coming into daytime TV like Betty did. She had 40 pages of script to memorize on the first day. Forget just being older and doing it. Soap operas are not something you do as an aside as a lark. It takes every ounce of your strength and ability to pull off well. And she did. She showed up on that show for years. And she was believable. 

Tell us about the woman behind Betty White

RR: Betty White was as close to a saint as you’ll ever find in a professional entertainer. And those aren’t words you frequently find used together — saint and entertainer. She had to be someone without vanity. She obviously had a healthy ego. But she was someone who could laugh at herself. She was an American treasure, a worldwide treasure. 

Author Ray Richmond brings his “Betty White: 100 Remarkable Moments In An Extraordinary Life” to Golden-Con

So the sweet, hilarious person we saw on TV seems pretty authentic to who Betty White actually was…

RR: There would have been stories that would have come out if she was any different than the person we saw. I wanted to get a clearer picture of who she was, so when I began my research, I looked for the good and the bad. There was nothing. I couldn’t find a damn thing. And I searched high and low to find it. Listen, you are never going to get rich trying to find dirt to shovel on Betty White for a coffee table book. 

Ray Richmond is a globally syndicated critic and entertainment media columnist. His brother, Len Richmond, was an author, TV writer, and LGBTQ inclusion advocate who published “The Gay Liberation Book” and “The New Gay Liberation Book.” 

Find out more about Ray Richmond at www.rayrichco.com

The Library is Open!

Meet our “Encyclopedia Goldennica” panel

“Golden Girls Forever” author Jim Colucci is coming to Golden-Con!

Picture it: Trivia night, 2022. Three authors and scholars assemble to form an unstoppable team of know-it-alls with knowledge so deep about our favorite show, it’s almost like they were there when it was happening. 

Now, meet our Golden-Con super experts, our “Encyclopedia Goldennica” panel.

Photo by Erica Berger

Jim Colucci

Jim Colucci adds New York Times bestselling author and “The Golden Girls”  expert panache to our live host crew. He’ll lend his significant knowledge to “Encyclopedia Goldennica,” our panel for Golden Girls nerds.

“Golden Girls Forever: An Unauthorized Look Behind the Lanai” by Jim Colucci

Jim is a Los Angeles-based freelance entertainment writer whose work has appeared in such publications as TV Guide and CBS’ Watch! magazine, where he served as a Deputy Editor. 

 He has appeared on such shows as CNN’s History of the Sitcom, and for a decade delivered a weekly on-air entertainment report on “The Frank DeCaro Show” on Sirius XM radio.  

His books include the November 2021 release All in the Family: The Show That Changed Television, co-authored with Norman Lear, as well as Will & Grace: Fabulously Uncensored, The Q Guide to The Golden Girls and the New York Times best-seller Golden Girls Forever.

www.jimcolucci.com

Matt Browning

Matt Browning is a versatile author whose latest book is “The Definitive Golden Girls Cultural Reference Guide.” He’s a hardcore “Empty Nest” fan who runs the @EmptyNestTV Twitter page. 

“The Definitive Golden Girls Cultural Reference Guide” by Matt Browning

In addition to “Encyclopedia Goldennica, Matt will  host our special panel “Dinah Manoff’s Real True Hollywood Stories.”

Author Matt Browning

www.mattbrowningbooks.com

Taylor Miller

Taylor Miller

Dr. Taylor Cole Miller is Assistant Professor of Media Studies at the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse and former Academic Director of the Peabody Awards Media Center at the University of Georgia. 

Not to be outdone by the rest of the panel, he’s currently at work on his own book about “The Golden Girls.”

He’s joining Golden-Con’s host crew and rounding out “Encyclopedia Goldennica.”

Catch him on TikTok @tvdoc and @cindyloupeeples.

Taylor Miller

Melinda McClanahan to Speak at Golden-Con!

Actress’ real life sister and niece to bring “Rue’s Wish” to Golden-Con fan convention!

Photo caption:  Melinda McClanahan

Dr. Melinda McClanahan says she and her sister, Rue McClanahan, had a loving, unshakable bond as they grew up in rural Oklahoma. 

Photo caption: (L-R) Melinda McClanahan, (mother) Marie McClanahan and Eddi Rue McClanahan.  Photo courtesy Melinda McClanahan

“She wanted a little sister. She begged and begged our mother for a little sister,” Melinda McClanahan explains of her older sister, known as a child as Eddi Rue. 

Eddi Rue’s wish for a little sister was granted as Melinda was born when Eddi Rue was five and a half. 

McClanahan will join the first ever Golden-Con: Thank You For Being A Fan convention in April to share photographs, mementos, and memories of her life and adventures alongside Eddi Rue. Because she is the little sister Eddi Rue had longed for, Melinda McClanahan is calling her presentation at the fan festival “Rue’s Wish.”

Melinda McClanahan is semi-retired from career pursuits. As a young mother of four children, she achieved a PhD in Radiation Biology, an MBA, and another Master’s degree. Rue McClanahan opened a dance studio as a teenager in Ardmore, Oklahoma before heading off to the University of Tulsa to pursue German language and theatre arts studies. She graduated with honors. 

Amelia Kinkade, Rue McClanahan’s niece and Melinda McClanahan’s daughter, says her mother and aunt never wrestled with the limitations life in Ardmore, Oklahoma, where the McClanahan sisters grew up, might have placed on young women in the 1950s. 

Photo caption: Amelia Kinkade and aunt, Rue McClanahan.  Photo courtesy Amelia Kinkade

 

“Both my aunt and my mother broke the paradigm,” Kinkade says proudly. 

“They had a devil-may-care spirit. If they couldn’t guarantee something was going to be successful, they would go ahead with a why not try it anyway attitude,” Kinkade says. 

 

Kinkade is a six-time author and lecturer on animal advocacy and communication. She took off to Hollywood as a young woman to work as a dancer. Her aunt, who was working in sitcoms and TV movies ahead of breaking out as Blanche in “The Golden Girls,” gave Kinkade a life-changing push.”

“That was a little bit of nepotism,” Kinkade laughs. 

“I arrived in Hollywood and Rue said ‘Amelia, you’re an actress,’” Kinkade recalls, initiating her aunt’s distinctive, smooth voice. 

“I said, ‘I don’t think that’s for me. I’m a dancer.’ And Rue said, ‘Amelia, you’re going to be an actress.”

 

For more information:

Amelia Kinkade

www.ameliakinkade.com

 

Golden-Con: Thank You For Being A Fan

April 22-24, 2022 

Chicago, IL

www.thankyouforbeingafan.com

 

Meet Chicago’s On-Stage Blanche!

Hardcore fan brings Blanche to the stage in “The Lost Episodes”

Grant Drager has been a part of Chicago’s on stage Golden Girls parody since 2017.
Photo courtesy Grant Drager

Sex-positive adventurous southern belle isn’t exactly what most people might think of when they first meet Grant Drager, handsome and straitlaced by outward appearance. 

Nonetheless, the Chicago actor has managed to bring all those descriptors and more to the stage playing Blanche in Hell In A Handbag Productions’ “The Lost Episodes” parodies of “The Golden Girls.”

“I feel like there’s a  little bit of each of the characters in all of us,” he tells Thank You For Being A Fan about the huge appeal of “The Golden Girls” and “The Lost Episodes.” 

The opportunity to play even a parody version of Blanche, he says, is liberating.

“But I do  think  there’s something so freeing about Blanche;  her confidence and who she is so unapologetically.”

Hell In A Handbag Productions will show us “The Lost Episodes” a hilarious parody of “The Golden Girls” at the first ever Golden-Con: Thank You For Being A Fan convention April 22-24, 2022. (L-R) Ed Jones, David Cerda, Grant Drager. Ryan Oates is in the middle.
Photo by Rick Aguilar Studios

Hell In A Handbag Productions first began sending up “The Golden Girls” back in 2017. Drager was cast then as Rebecca, Blanche’s daughter. 

As “The Lost Episodes” kept filling houses, Drager booked Blanche and has stuck with the role ever since. He feels like he grows more in tune with the essence of the character with each new episode.

“It’s such an interesting opportunity because I feel like every time I get to portray her, I find new moments and I experience new things,” he says. 

There’s no denying Blanche’s strongly expressed desire for male attention on “The Golden Girls.” The character on TV and on stage is deeper than just being horny by Drager’s experience. 

“Her being sexual has never been a compromise of her morals. When she was with her husband, she was faithful and true.  And now this is who she is and she owns her sexuality,” which Drager says no version of Blanche should be ashamed of.

 “I think it’s her confidence and love of who she is that I admire so much. I love getting locked into that. So I think I identify with her in that ability to self love. It’s therapeutic in that way,” he says.  

Put some clothes on Blanche!

A tangible way Drager meets with the character is through Blanche’s clothes and costumes. 

 “I’ve developed these wonderful hip pads that help me lock into who she is and to get that swivel in her walk,” he says. 

Drager is a stakeholder in Outskirts Vintage, a clothing and accessories retailer in Chicago’s Ravenswood neighborhood. He’s always got an eye out for Blanche’s fashions. 

“It’s very often that actually something I’m wearing on stage is something that I pull that’s a vintage 80s piece. I’ll see it and think ‘that’s so Blanche’ and I’ve gotta have it, “ he says. 

Trivia Gold!

Dorothy’s character stood out on “The Golden Girls” as the most book smart of the four ladies.

Drager’s deep knowledge of “The Golden Girls” has him singled out among his castmates as a “Golden” expert. 

“The cast behind the scenes knows that I am the person if there’s a ‘Golden Girls’ question — when it comes to timeline, character, who was in an episode or not an episode, would this make sense for the character — that I’m a really great reference.”

Drager owns it. 

“I am that ‘Golden Girls’  nut. I am that fan who’s watched through the seasons multiple times.”

Just how deep does that knowledge of “The Golden Girls” go?

“A really great example is we were talking about Stan’s wives. David [Cerda, Dorothy and playwright for “The Lost Episodes] asked a question about something.  I realized later I just kinda laid in. I said well you’ve got Dorothy. Then you’ve got Chrissy who he divorced after he was in Hawaii. Then we have Catherine, his third wife. And Dorothy was sitting at the bar with her and talking. And I just went on and on and on and I said then she wasn’t referenced much again,” he recalls of a time when his castmates weren’t as committed to his deep knowledge of the show as he is.  “And David says ‘I didn’t care that much about it.’”

See for yourself

Drager and the entire cast of Hell In A Handbag’s “The Lost Episodes” will be performing nightly April 22-24, 2022 at the first ever Golden-Con: Thank You For Being A Fan convention. 

Drager is also bringing some Miami energy to a Ravenswood Golden Girls drag brunch February 26, 2022 at Artifact Events. 

Find out more:

Hell In A Handbag Productions

www.handbagproductions.org

 

Outskirts Vintage

www.outskirtschicago.com

 

Golden Girls Drag Brunch

Saturday, February 26, 2022 

Artifact Events

4325 N Ravenswood Ave

Chicago, IL 60613

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/golden-girls-drag-brunch-tickets-249441675767

 

Flashback with Lyn Greene at Golden-Con

Fan favorite young Dorothy actress will share her Miami memories acting opposite Estelle Getty and Bea Arthur

Lyn “Lynnie” Greene made an impression on fans of “The Golden Girls” with her nuanced performance as young Dorothy Zbornak in flashback scenes.
Photo courtesy Lyn Greene

She’s a fan favorite guest star on “The Golden Girls” and the second most famous person to play the character of Dorothy Zbornak. 

Golden-Con organizers are thrilled to welcome Lyn “Lynnie” Greene to the first ever Golden-Con: Thank You For Being A Fan convention. She joins us to reminisce about her days on set for our Golden Guest panels and interact with fans with photo ops and autographs.

Four classic episodes of “The Golden Girls” flashed back to Sophia and Dorothy’s Brooklyn home. Lynnie Greene’s nuanced performance as a young Dorothy Zbornak trying to reason with Sophia, Sal, her grandmother, and Stan stand out as some of the most memorable scenes from the entire series. 

Lyn “Lynnie” Greene is coming to the first ever Golden-Con: Thank You For Being A Fan convention to reminisce about her times on set at “The Golden Girls” and tell us what it was like to play Dorothy in front of Bea Arthur. 

Lyn Greene made four guest appearances on “The Golden Girls.” Today she is a writer and producer of shows like “Nip/Tuck” and “Masters of Sex.”
Photo courtesy Lyn Greene

Flashback to the beginning

Greene started her career as an actress, originating roles in Sondheim’s “Assassins” and Kander and Ebb’s “Flora The Red Menace” for which she received a Drama Desk Nomination. 

After co-starring in the CBS sitcom On Our Own and playing young Dorothy Zbornak in “The Golden Girls,” she transitioned into television writing where for too many years she was the only woman in the writers room.

 After working her way up from staff writer to supervising producer on several half-hour comedies, she moved into hour television, where she wrote and executive produced such shows as “Nip/Tuck;” “Boss;” “The Interestings;” and “Masters of Sex.”

She has been a teacher and a foster parent and is happily married to her wife, Meg Fisher.

Reserve your photo op with Lyn Greene here.

Tickets for the first ever Golden-Con: Thank You For Being A Fan convention are on sale now.

Our host hotel is the fabulous Sheraton Grand Chicago Riverwalk. Book now!

Dinah Manoff Moves in to Golden-Con!

“Empty Nest” star has a “Real True Hollywood Story” to tell

Tony winner and two-time guest star on “The Golden Girls,” Dinah Manoff, joins the first ever Golden-Con; Thank You For Being A Fan convention.

Golden-Con organizers are proud to welcome special Golden Guest Dinah Manoff to the first ever Golden-Con: Thank You For Being A Fan Convention April 22-24, 2022 at Navy Pier in Chicago. 

The multi-talented Dinah Manoff is confident in her ability to deliver goods to her eager fans. So when those fans gather at the first ever Golden-Con: Thank You For Being A Fan convention, she knows exactly what they want from her. 

“The fact is I have many things to share about that time. And I’m going to share it all from the stage,” she promises. 

She joins Golden-Con to be a part of our Golden Guest Gab Fest panels and also to talk about her life and career resumé which includes credits as an actor, a director, a screenwriter, a teacher, and now, a novelist. 

Her “Real True Hollywood Story”

“It’s not my story. But it’s based on the experiences I’ve had and the people I know,” she says of “The Real True Hollywood Story of Jackie Gold,” her debut novel. 

She’ll be reading from it at Golden-Con, where it will be available for sale. 

Dinah Manoff’s experiences include being the daughter of Oscar winning filmmaker Lee Grant and screenwriter Arnold Manoff. 

Jackie Gold, the main character in Manoff’s novel, has a life altering experience with a paparazzi swarm. Manoff recalls lots of experiences with tabloid celebrity rags — at their readership peak in the 1980s and 1990s — that range from silly to traumatic. 

“We went through a period on ‘Empty Nest’ when Richard [Mulligan] was involved with someone who was tabloid worthy. They had to set up security on set,” she remembers. 

She also recalls hearing about tabloid stories that said she dyed her hair to match the coat on Dreyfuss, the Weston family dog on “Empty Nest.” 

But it was a tabloid run-in at home a few years after “Empty Nest” finished it’s seven season run that made the biggest impression her, she says. 

“One day right after my first child was born one of those guys showed up at my front door to try to ask me some very personal questions.”

She didn’t like that one bit. 

“ I was overcome with just…rage. I chased him away. And I immediately called my lawyer.” 

Shortly after that, Manoff watched as Princess Diana’s paparazzi involved car crash death played out on the news for weeks.

“That’s the germ of where I started writing ‘Jackie.”

A paparazzi run-in forever altered actress Jackie Gold’s life in Dinah Manoff’s debut novel, “The Real True Hollywood Story of Jackie Gold.”

“Soap,” “Grease,” and Sophia

Manoff got an early start as an actress playing teen roles on TV while she was still in her teenage years. Within a few years, she was putting on a pink jacket as Pink Lady Marty Maraschino in “Grease.” 

Becoming a part of “The Golden Girls” family seemed to be part of Manoff’s career destiny. She cleaned up with a recurring role on “Soap” under Witt/Thomas/Harris productions. A decade later, as the same producers were developing a spinoff for their mega-hit, “The Golden Girls,” Manoff knew when she auditioned for “Empty Nest” that good things were in store. 

“It was one of the reasons I wanted to take the job. Susan Harris was the creator and I knew I was walking into a successful endeavor.”

Before the end of the run on “Empty Nest,” Manoff gained a golden co-star. 

Estelle Getty joined the cast of “Empty Nest” right after “The Golden Palace” closed. She stayed there for two years. 

Manoff remembers that time vividly and fondly. And she promises to tell it all from the Golden-Con stage. 

“She was my friend. We spent a lot of time together in her or my dressing room. I loved her.” 

It’s Marsha! Golden-Con welcomes Marsha Posner Williams

Award winning producer teams with professor to teach “lessons from the ‘Golden Girls.’”

Two time Emmy winning TV producer Marsha Posner Williams will join Golden-Con to share her memories from her years on “The Golden Girls” set and to help us learn aging lessons from the Girls

“Honestly, I’m just a girl from Arizona who wanted to work in television and look what happened,” Marsha Posner-Williams says about her fascinating career.

Look what happened indeed.

From the very first episode all the way to the end of season three, Marsha co-produced a whopping 76 episodes of “The Golden Girls.” Her name is stamped onto the credits of some major fan favorite episodes including “Grab That Dough” and “Dorothy’s New Friend,” which introduced fans to despicable Barbara Thorndyke.

She’s joining the first ever Golden-Con: Thank You For Being A Fan convention to relive Golden memories from her time working on “The Golden Girls,” “Soap,” “Benson,” “Night Court,” “Amen” and other groundbreaking shows.

She’ll also be teaching us how to reach our senior years with the gusto of our favorite Golden Girls as part of a presentation called “Women and Aging: Lessons from the Golden Girls,” which was developed by Gerontology Professor Maria Claver, who’s bringing the special presentation to Golden-Con.

California State University Long Beach Professor Maria Claver has been helping folks learn “lessons on aging from the Golden Girls” since 2018

Back to the beginning

When Marsha Posner first came to Hollywood, her first two years were a major struggle. She landed a job as a secretary with an independent movie company that made two features consisting of off-color jokes. Marsha’s job was to read and type jokes all day which she did for two years and left the job with a wicked sense of humor.

After that, she got a job in the world of sitcoms and now, with about 400 episodes of network television to her credit, the talents of Marsha Posner Williams have garnered her two primetime Emmy awards and three Golden Globes. Marsha’s most notable series include The Golden Girls, Soap, Benson, Hail to the Chief, Amen and Night Court. These major hit series provided a track record of excellence covering all areas of production.

Williams has also produced information and training videos as well as public service announcements for many different departments within the United States Government.  An anti-terrorism advertising campaign produced by Williams for the State Department resulted in the government’s capturing of major overseas terrorists.

Independent productions have rounded out her career.  Marsha produced three short films which have done well on the festival circuit. She also produced and co-owned 7 fitness videos dealing with yoga and pilates, as well as co-authored the humor book, “How To Get Even With Your Ex!”

Having worked in the entertainment industry for over 20 years, Marsha is often called upon to share her knowledge as a motivational speaker at Colleges and Universities where her vast experience in dealing with issues covering all areas of the television production world are becoming more and more valuable.

Williams has been happily married since 1984 to Wayne Williams, an accomplished Photographer/Cinematographer who is now producing HDSerenescapes films which are now shown in hundreds of hospitals, clinics, offices and private homes around the world. They live in Sherman Oaks, California.

Lessons on Aging from the Golden Girls

Gerontology Professor Maria Claver first created “Women and Aging: Lessons from the Golden Girls” back in in 2018 at California State University, Long Beach. With the participation of guest speakers including professionals in several disciplines and older women themselves, the presentation covers topics such as stereotypes, housing, caregiving, retirement, addiction, loss and grief, a purposeful life and sexuality. Each class session begins with viewing an episode of “The Golden Girls”, followed by a short lecture and lively discussion. The course has been featured in local and national media and has raised awareness of the importance of the strengths and challenges for women as they age.

Friend and Former Assistant Remembers Estelle Getty with Love

Richard Weaver fondly remembers a deep, unbreakable 15 year connection with ‘Golden Girl’ Estelle Getty

Richard Weaver’s life and destiny became intertwined with Estelle Getty’s the 1993 night he met her (and Judith Light!) at a sports award ceremony in Las Vegas

Golden-Con producers are proud to present Richard Weaver as a very special Golden Guest for our “All About Estelle” live panel presentations at Golden-Con: Thank You For Being A Fan April 22-24, 2022. 

“If you loved Estelle Getty, she would love you right back.”

So says Richard Weaver, Getty’s friend of 15 years including two stints as her live-in personal assistant. The diminutive acting imp, who brought the character of Sophia Petrillo to life, would persist showing love to her friends, Weaver says, even through broken bones. 

“Estelle was on the way to see Rue McClanahan perform in a Los Angeles production of “The Vagina Monologues,” begins Weaver as he describes a circa 2001 date night between him and his friend and employer. 

“I hadn’t realized at this point that she had gotten so frail. We went for pizza before the show… We’re walking to the theatre. Estelle lost her footing as we crossed the street and started to fall down. I held onto her hand as she went down hoping to soften the fall…suddenly,  I heard a snap,” he says. 

The snap would turn out to be a fractured arm. 

Weaver immediately pleaded with her to seek medical attention at nearby Cedars Sinai Hospital. As a devoted friend, Estelle wouldn’t deviate one second from her plan for the night. 

“I’m not letting Rue down and I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” she said. 

She was headed to the Canon Theatre to see her friend and former castmate on “The Golden Girls.”  Supporting someone she loved meant everything to Estelle Getty, Weaver explained.  

“She sat through that entire performance of ‘The Vagina Monologues’  all while her arm was broken. She sat there completely in pain. I could see the swelling as we sat there,”  Weaver recalls. 

Getty and Weaver made a beeline to Rue McClanahan right after the show ended. Getty and McClanahan’s interaction that night was short but very sweet to Weaver’s memory. 

“Darling, I love you. The show was amazing and you were marvelous, but now I’ve got to go. I’ve got to get my arm set in a cast,” Getty explained to a bewildered McClanahan.

No place made Estelle Getty happier than her beautiful, ornate West Hollywood backyard according to her longtime friend and personal assistant Richard Weaver

Picture it: Las Vegas, 1993

Weaver and Getty met at the Victor Awards, a sports award show, through Weaver’s ex partner during a whirlwind Las Vegas weekend circa 1993. 

Beginning that very first night in Vegas, Getty and Weaver began fitting in a lifetime of adventures, one-of-a-kind experiences, and personal and professional highs and lows for the next 15 years. 

“I met her backstage because I was one of the on stage escorts for presenters and winners. My ex partner was a friend of hers from her Broadway theatre days. He did PR for her from time to time…He introduced me to her and we hung out all weekend. We went to seven Las Vegas shows that weekend. We just went show hopping — Penn & Teller, George Carlin, Cirque Du Soleil…it just went on and on,” he says. 

This dazzling weekend would change Weaver’s personal and professional destiny and he would soon begin living out some childhood dreams.

“I’m a lower middle class boy from Fairborn, Ohio and I’m only 23 years old at this point…There I am with one of America’s favorite Golden Girls and she actually became my friend that night,” he remembers.

Within a year, Weaver became Getty’s right hand man and did, as he reports, everything for her with very little exception all to help make her life easier and comfortable. The skills he called upon to happily assist Getty came from Weaver’s many different and diverse fields of experience. 

Richard Weaver keeps his memories of Estelle Getty alive along with other friends and fans by collecting and preserving mementos from Getty’s life and career.

Drag-ed to work

“The fact that I was performing on stage as Dolly and Marilyn at the time…it was part of what she liked about me and part of the reason why she chose me to be her PA,” he laughs. 

Weaver was something of a jill-of-all-trades entertainer in LGBT nightlife venues throughout southern California.  

He performed as Dolly Parton and Marilyn Monroe at The Queen Mary in Studio City, and clubs in Palm Springs. That’s where Getty called him — back in the days before cell phones were in every hand or pocket — to let him know he’d scored the job with her.  

“They [Weaver’s coworkers] thought it was a joke. They picked up the phone. I was in the middle of a set. They came over and interrupted me saying Estelle Getty is on the phone for you? Yeah right.” 

But it really was her. She was ready to make her business relationship with Weaver official. 

“So? When can you move into my house?” she asked him during the call. A week later he was there.

Weaver worked full time and lived full time with Getty for the next three years. He paused for a year and came right back for another year when she called him after his replacement decided to move on.

“You’re the only one who really knows how to take care of me. Will you please come back?” Getty pleaded.

Weaver says he ran right back to Getty’s side without hesitation. Their friendship lasted the rest of Getty’s life. Weaver was even a pallbearer and speaker at Getty’s private funeral and memorial service at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

“I’ll always be there to take care of you,” she would say, and Weaver gave her the same promise in return. “I loved her very much and the one thing I know for sure…she loved me right back!”

Weaver is set to participate and share his special memories about life with TV’s Sophia Petrillo, Estelle Getty, during the first ever Golden-Con: Thank You For Being a Fan convention April 22-24, 2022 in Chicago. Tickets are on sale now.