Quentin Tarantino credits his directing success to his little-known role on The Golden Girls

Vic Parsons January 10, 2020
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Uma Thurman, Quentin Tarantino and Brad Pitt attend The National Board of Review Annual Awards Gala on January 8, 2020 in New York City. (Getty/National Board of Review)

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood director Quentin Tarantino has opened up about how he owes a debt to The Golden Girls for his career.

On ‘The Tonight Show’ with Jimmy Fallon, Tarantino said that he “sorta, kinda” owes a debt to the ’80s TV series.

Recounting how he’d barely ever worked as an actor, Tarantino recalled that “one of the jobs I did get — and not because I did a wonderful audition, but simply because they sent my picture in and they said, ‘He’s got it’ — was for an Elvis impersonator on ‘The Golden Girls.’”

The director and screenwriter then told the story of how playing an Elvis Presley impersonator on the US sitcom helped support him in his directing career.

The multiple-Oscar-winner said it was one of very few roles he’d played in his “very unsuccessful acting career”.

In a 1988 episode that also featured Estelle Getty’s Sophia marrying Jack Gilford’s Max, Tarantino played an Elvis impersonator in a chorus of Elvises. That episode became two episodes, doubling Tarantino’s pay, and because the episodes made it into a “best of The Golden Girls” collection the residual payments continued coming.

Tarantino guessed that the money added up to more than $3,000 over three years.

“It became a two-part ‘Golden Girls,’” Tarantino recalled to Fallon. “So I got paid residuals for both parts. It was so popular. They put it on a ‘Best of The Golden Girls,’ and I got residuals every time that showed.

“So I got paid maybe — I don’t know, $650 for the episode. But by the time the residuals were over three years later, I made like $3,000. And that kept me going during our pre-production time trying to get ‘Reservoir Dogs’ going.”

‘Reservoir Dogs’, his 1992 low-budget film about a heist that went wrong, was the first step towards his 1994 screenwriting Oscar for ‘Pulp Fiction‘ (which he also directed).

So, according to Tarantino, without The Golden Girls we wouldn’t have had ‘Reservoir Dogs’, ‘Pulp Fiction’ the ‘Kill Bill’ franchise.


More: kill bill, the golden girls, the oscars

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