Characters often lived fabulous lifestyles on The Golden Girls, but which of the main characters were the most wealthy?
The Golden Girls took four women “of a certain age” and showed them living glamorous lives filled with laughter, excitement, and sex appeal. The series reminded viewers that their “golden years” didn’t need to be dull, listless, or dowdy. Dorothy, Blanche, Sophia, and Rose wore vibrant outfits, attended social events and charity functions, and dined out at some of Miami’s best restaurants.
Despite their fabulous lifestyles, however, the girls didn’t shy away from discussions of fiscal responsibility, or the difficulties of ageism in the workplace. After all, there were many reasons they lived together, and one of them was financial security. They entertained everybody from the president to their freeloading children because they shared what they had, and their door was always open, but it hasn’t stopped fans from wondering how much money factored into their lives.
Michael was Dorothy’s freeloading musician son who only seemed to visit his mother when he needed money or a couch to sleep on. He often arrived in Miami broke and without a gig. He eventually married the lead singer of his latest band, but they divorced a few years later.
Michael never seemed to be able to get his act together, leaving chaos in the wake of his selfish actions. When he slept with Rose’s daughter, who was visiting at the same time he was, it nearly ruined Dorothy and Rose’s roommate relationship due to their personal investment in each of their child’s actions.
Blanche’s daughter Rebecca had been a former beauty model who, after entering into an abusive relationship, gained a significant amount of weight. Presumably, she still had some money from her days in the fashion industry, but it’s never specifically stated, and her reliance on her derisive husband strained her relationship with her mother.
She later went on to have a child through artificial insemination on her own, electing to care for it without her husband. It’s possible that after she slimmed down, she went back into a career involving modeling.
Not much was known about how Salvadore Petrillo made his money, especially considering how Sophia’s flashbacks often portrayed her as the brains of the household. Regardless, he was able to help support his family of five during the Great Depression in Brooklyn and left Sophia a modicum of savings.
Whatever Salvadore left to Sophia was enough to help her secure a room at Shady Pines retirement home until it burned down in an incident involving a hot plate, and she eventually moved in with Dorothy, Blanche, and Rose.
Sophia Petrillo worked all her life, from living in Sicily to emigrating to Brooklyn in the 1920s. Despite the Great Depression and having three children to take care of, she worked alongside her husband Salvadore to make sure food was always on the table.
In her later years, despite being dependent on her daughter Dorothy after a minor stroke, she still tried to provide for herself by working in fast-food, starting her own side-hustle making spaghetti sauce, and even going into the sandwich-making business.
Miles was Rose’s boyfriend who was employed as a history professor at the local university. Later on in their relationship, Rose came to know his true identity as a bookkeeper for an imprisoned mob boss who had been forced into witness protection.
Because of his position as a professor, he received a fairly good salary, and because he was a spendthrift retained much of his income. He could afford to live by himself in a respectable house he’d previously shared with his late wife, without roommates (but frequently visited by a doting daughter).
Rose was an orphan adopted by two Norwegian parents and raised in the farming community of St. Olaf, Minnesota. There she met her husband Charlie and lived comfortably until his death which, while providing some inheritance, had mostly been lost due to a series of bad investments by her late husband.
Rose worked as a grief counselor, a waitress, a phone operator, a consumer report assistant to Enrique Mas, and various other jobs to make ends meet. She lived fairly comfortably but because she often didn’t have long-term employment, her wages often fluctuated wildly.
Dorothy was born to working-class parents who instilled in her a stubborn sense of determination and a strong work ethic, which she applied to being an educator. Her husband Stan constantly tried to sell gag gifts and participate in get-rich-quick schemes, leaving Dorothy to support their two children.
She worked as a substitute high school teacher teaching American History and English, and nights instructing adults interested in passing their high school equivalency exams. She received alimony from Stan combined with her teaching salary and seemed to always be financially stable.
Growing up in Atlanta society, Blanche Devereaux was used to the finer things in life. She lived on a sprawling plantation, where Big Daddy gave her everything she wanted. When she relocated to Miami with her husband George, they lived a comfortable life in the four-bedroom house that she would eventually rent out to Sophia, Rose, and Dorothy after George’s death.
Blanche worked at the art museum, attended many society functions, and was part of several charities and social groups. Out of all her roommates, she went on the most outings, shopped at the most stores, wore the most glamorous clothing, and seemed to live extravagantly.
It might surprise some fans that despite Sophia referring to Stan as a “yutz” and Dorothy regularly calling him a “barfbag”, he became the wealthiest main character on the series thanks to inventing the “Zbornie”, the baked potato opener that finally stopped him hanging around the house asking Dorothy for money.
Not only did one of his get-rich-quick schemes finally pay off, it actually flourished, with the Zbornie being picked up by several international markets, starting with Japan.