Rose of St Olaf
Genre Situation Comedy
Created by Susan Harris
Starring Kristen Bell

Lea Thompson

Bradley Whitford

John Krasinski

Opening Theme Every Rose Has It's Thorn
Location St Olaf, Minnesota
Country Of Origin United States of America
Number Of Episodes 144
Running Time 23 minutes
Original Channel: NBC
Original Air Date September 19th 1995 - May 15th 2001
Produced by Witt Thomas Harris Productions
Directed by Terry Hughes (1995 - 1997)

James Burrows (1997 - 2001)

Rose of St Olaf was an American television situation comedy series created by Susan Harris. A spin-off/prequel to The Golden Girls, it aired on NBC for six seasons and 144 episodes from September 19th 1995 to May 15th 2001. The show focused on a teenage iteration of The Golden Girl's Rose Nylund, originally portrayed by Betty White, who reprises her role in a voice capacity. It also focuses on Rose's adoptive family and the various citizens of St Olaf.

It starred Kristen Bell as the title role in her first acting credit, with Lea Thompson and Bradley Whitford as her parents Alma and Gunter Lindstrom with John Krasinski recurring in the first three seasons and appearing as a regular in the last three as Charlie Nylund, Rose's on-and-off love interest and eventual husband.



  • Kristen Bell as Rose Lindstrom, the series' protagonist is the youngest child of Alma and Gunter Lindstrom, one of St Olaf's most prominent families. Adopted by the Lindstroms after being abandoned by her mother, she adores living on the farm with her family and spending time with her friends. She is 15 at the beginning of the series, and 21 when the series concludes.
  • Lea Thompson as Alma Lindstrom, the matriarch of the Lindstrom household and the mother to Holly, Lily, Sven, Gunter Jr and Rose. She runs a strict household but is a kind and caring mother.
  • Bradley Whitford as Gunter Lindstrom Sr., the patriarch of the Lindstrom household and a farmer. He is a loving and care-free father and is dedicated to making his children happy.
  • John Krasinski as Charlie Nylund (recurring seasons 1 - 3, main seasons 4 - 6), the Lindstrom's neighbour and Rose's crush and eventual husband. He is two years older than Rose and idolised by her and her sisters.
  • Bryce Dallas Howard as Lily Lindstrom, Rose's older sister. She's considered very smart, but stubborn and is often teased by others for wearing glasses.
  • Evangeline Lilly as Holly Lindstrom, Rose's second sister, a popular high school student who often ridicules Rose.
  • Betty White as Adult Rose Nylund (Voice), narrator of the series.


  • Rebecca Ferguson as Anna Nylund, Rose's school friend and Charlie's sister. (98 episodes)
  • Annie Potts as Mrs Gorranson, a teacher at St Olaf Middle School, who later becomes Principal of St Olaf High. (108 episodes)
  • Robin Williams as Lucas Lindstrom, Rose's uncle. (27 episodes)
  • J.K. Simmons as Niles Nylund, Charlie's father. (14 episodes)
  • Meryl Streep as Nellie Nylund, Charlie's mother. (6 episodes)


After The Golden Girls spin-off, The Golden Palace failed to take off on CBS in the 1992/1993 season, creator Susan Harris returned to NBC in the fall of 1993 in hopes of returning to the network in some capacity on a new show. Eight of her pitches were passed on by NBC and Harris instead returned to help with production of Empty Nest and Nurses, also spin-offs. When Nurses ended in 1994, Harris began an early draft of a new spin-off to The Golden Girls, this time set in post-war Minnesota, following the colourful childhood of Betty White's character Rose.

When NBC executives made the decision to end Empty Nest in the 1994/1995 season, Harris decided to pitch the new series along with her husband Paul Junger-Witt and his business partner Tony Thomas, and a pilot was greenlit. Casting begun in April 1995 and Lea Thompson, fresh off starring in the Back to the Future trilogy and a series of other Hollywood productions, was offered the role of Rose's mother Alma. It was also confirmed that Betty White would return in character as Rose narrating the series. Bradley Whitford and Bryce Dallas Howard were next to be cast, as Rose's father and sister respectively. Evangeline Lilly and Kristen Bell were then secured as the final two leading cast members, portraying Rose's sister and Rose herself respectively. Later in the summer, Annie Potts, Rebecca Ferguson and John Krasinski were secured as the pilot's guest cast.

Production on the pilot occurred over a course of a week in early August and NBC's test audience responded positively, leading to a full series order of 24 episodes confirmed in September. Further guest cast for the season was announced, including Robin Williams and Meryl Streep. Season 1 wrapped filming in April 1996, and NBC officially ordered a second season of 24 episodes, announcing the news at the season's wrap party.

In May 2001, after six seasons and 144 episodes, NBC announced that on the basis of a mutual agreement between Susan Harris and NBC, Rose of St Olaf would reach its conclusion.

The entire main cast, along with Betty White and the series' many guest actors appeared in a retrospective documentary on Lifetime in 2005 to mark 10 years since the show's beginning.

In 2011, Kristen Bell, Lea Thompson and John Krasinski appeared on the Today Show to discuss the show's legacy on the anniversary of the show's conclusion.

In 2015, the main cast and Betty White reunited for the show's 20th anniversary in a cover story for Entertainment Weekly.

In 2017, the cast reunited once more to send 95th birthday wishes to Betty White in a segment of the TV special dedicated to White's life and career on NBC.


Season 1

Season 1 of Rose of St Olaf aired for 24 episodes between September 19th 1995 and May 14th 1996.



Season 2

Season 2 of Rose of St Olaf aired for 24 episodes between September 17th 1996 and May 13th 1997.



Season 3

Season 3 of Rose of St Olaf aired for 24 episodes between September 24th 1997 and May 19th 1998.



Season 4

Season 4 of Rose of St Olaf aired for 24 episodes between September 23rd 1998 and May 18th 1999, it was the first season to feature John Krasinski in as a regular cast member.



Season 5

Season 5 of Rose of St Olaf aired for 24 episodes between September 22nd 1999 and May 16th 2000.



Season 6

Season 6 of Rose of St Olaf aired for 24 episodes between September 20th 2000 and May 15th 2001. It was the final season of the series to air.



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