This editorial originally appeared in The Miami Herald and was distributed by The Associated Press.
Here’s how sinister the year 2021 was — it took Betty White on its final day, darn it!
The last surviving “Golden Girl” cast member from the Miami-based show died Friday at 99.
White was known for her excellent comedic timing, but she missed one big mark — her 100th birthday in just 17 days. Darn it, again.
During its seven-year run, the Golden Girls’ home was set in Miami at the fictitious address of 6151 Richmond Street. But it flashed at the beginning of every episode, letting the audience know that they were about to be let in the door of a home where a bunch of funny women lived. White as Rose Nylund, Bea Arthur as Dorothy Zbornak, Rue Mcclanahan as Blanche Devereaux and Estelle Getty as Sophia Petrillo were a powerful television quartet — and they were doing it from Miami.
Miami’s hurricane season and locales such as Joe’s Stone Crab were featured in episodes of the show, which still has a tremendous cult following. And deservedly so. Although most of the action took place inside the home, its tropical decor, a Florida room and the women’s floral wardrobes were a tip of the hat to the Magic City.
In one episode, White and Arthur even write and perform a song about Miami:
“Miami, Miami, Miami, you’ve got style
Blue skies, sunshine, white sand by the mile!”
As the show advanced, the Miami setting faded, as the rapport between the four women became the show’s focus, with the veteran comedic actresses jockeying for laughs, which the audience supplied in abundance. Who didn’t like White’s Rose, a woman of hilarious Norwegian descent? Her humor, warmth and ditziness made her lovable.
“Rose wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, but she wasn’t stupid. She was just eternally naive,” White once said. The actress used that combination to steal most of the scenes.
And White was one of television’s best scene stealers. She often grabbed the spotlight on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “Hot in Cleveland,” not to mention when she hosted “Saturday Night Live” at 88. She killed it.
Sad to see Miami’s last Golden Girl pass.