The Golden Girls was a show that defied odds, a sitcom about 4 senior citizen women sharing a house. It wasn’t a premise that was a sure-fire hit. But with 4 legendary stars, great writing, and relatable storylines, it became one of the biggest hits of the 80s. It introduced a whole new audience to Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan, Betty White, and Estelle Getty. They also brought new popularity to the term “lanai”.
Like most sitcoms, the show was shot on a soundstage at Ren Mar Studios (Now Red Studios Hollywood). The house used for establishing shots, however, was real… at first!
The Original Brentwood House
When the show debuted in 1985, a house in Brentwood, California was used for the establishing shots. This house can be found at 245 North Saltair Avenue. The house still exists and is on a quiet residential street. This house was also briefly featured on the show’s sequel, The Golden Palace.
Walt Disney World Version
In later seasons, a recreation of the house was constructed at MGM Studios Theme Park at Walt Disney World in Florida. This house was located on the residential street, and could be seen on the original backlot tour.
The tour guides said the house started being used for establishing shots in season 3. However this is hard to believe as Season 3 started in 1987 and MGM Studios didn’t open until 1989. In fact, there are discussions on various forums that argue that the Disney version of the house was never featured on the show at all. While that is still debated, there is no doubt there was a replica built and included on the tours. If you’d like to see some photos of the house at Walt Disney World, check out this article on MickeyBlog.com.
Here is a photo of the Disney World version of the Golden Girls house. Thanks to Gerald Uhlan for providing the photo, which he took in 1997. As you can see, there were spotlights put into the lawn to illuminate the house during the evening.
Unfortunately the entire residential street was bulldozed in 2002 to make room for some new attractions. Despite that, you can still visit the house in Brentwood if you want to see the original Golden Girls house.
2020 House Sale
In July 2020, the owners put the house up for sale. HGTV seemed keen on buying it to remodel the inside like they did with The Brady Bunch house. In August 2020, it sold for $4 million, which was a million over the asking price.
Like many houses used for establishing shots, the set didn’t resemble the interior of the house or the layout at all. One silver lining about houses going up for sale is we can often get a look inside. Check out this link for some photos of the interior.
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