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'Golden Girls' Anniversary: Emmy-Winning NBC Sitcom Debuted 27 Years Ago Today

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Sophia Petrillo's one-liners remain as timeless as ever, but it's been exactly 27 years since "The Golden Girls" first debuted.

It was Sept. 14, 1985 when NBC first introduced Bea Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty as the fabulous foursome over 50. Centered on four aging, single women living in suburban Miami who functioned as a family unit, the Emmy Award-winning series remains a fan favorite, particularly among gay men, both in re-runs and on DVD.

The show was also noteworthy for tackling controversial social issues, including drug addiction, HIV/AIDS and even gay marriage.

"It was like we had been working together forever. I still get goose bumps thinking about it," White, the only surviving member of the show's four principal stars, told the Associated Press of her experience rehearsing the pilot episode. "I think we were just trying to tell it like it is. I think older women still have a full life. Maybe the writers don't address it these days, but it doesn't change the fact."

In honor of the anniversary, New York's Big Gay Ice Cream Shop will donate proceeds from the sale of its "Bea Arthur Cone" to the Ali Forney Center, the homeless shelter and advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) teens and young adults in New York, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.

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