Did a ‘Golden Bachelor’ Contestant Die? No, But a Friend Did

Gerry Turner's contestants.

ABC The best friend of a star on "The Golden Bachelor" has died.

The premiere of “The Golden Bachelor” premiered on September 28, 2023, on ABC, and ended with a tribute to a woman named Roberta Zaktzer. This may have caused some confusion for fans who may not have been paying close attention throughout the episode.

Zaktzer was not one of the women on Gerry Turner’s season. She was a longtime friend of contestant Ellen Goltzer. From the moment that Goltzer stepped out of the limo to meet Turner, she had “Roberta” on her mind.

“Roberta, we made it!” Goltzer said, looking up into the sky before heading over to greet Turner. “Dare I ask who is Roberta?” Turner asked. Goltzer told him that she was referring to her friend of 60 years who had been battling cancer.

“It’s been difficult,” Goltzer said. Later on in the evening, she talked about Zaktzer again while chatting with Turner.

Here’s what you need to know:

Producers Paid Tribute to Roberta Zaktzer at the End of the Show

Viewers learned of Zaktzer’s death when a message popped up on the television after the finale of “The Golden Bachelor.”

“This season is dedicated in loving memory to Roberta Zaktzer,” the message read. There was also a photo of Goltzer and Zaktzer together with the dates 1952 – 2023 written underneath.

Shortly after the episode aired, Goltzer took to Instagram to share a picture of it that was snapped while it was on the TV screen.

“True friendship is forever,” she captioned the post.

Friends of Goltzer as well as “Bachelor” fans took to the comments section of the post to react.

“This was amazing. Love you Ellen and thank you for showing the world how amazing Aunt Roberta was and the strength of your lifelong friendship,” one person wrote.

“This is amazing. How special. I true Roberta fashion… she made it,” someone else added.

“Good Morning @ellengoltzer. Im so so sorry about your lost. Your friend will always watch you and love you,” a third comment read.

Goltzer hasn’t shared any additional details about Zaktzer’s death.

Ellen Goltzer Says Roberta Zaktzer Encouraged Her to Apply for ‘The Golden Bachelor’

While Zaktzer died before “The Golden Bachelor” premiered, Goltzer shared that she was the person who actually encouraged her to apply to be on the show in the first place.

“I want to tell you about my best friend Roberta for 60 years. Good times and bad, happy and sad, it’s a friendship that will last a lifetime. We watched the bachelor together from the very beginning. She convinced me to apply for the Golden Bachelor and here I am because of her,” Goltzer captioned an Instagram post on September 6, 2023.

“She’s going through some difficult times now and I want her to know that true friendship is precious. Thank you Roberta. I’m here because you believed in me and and I believe in you too. Love you bestie,” she continued.

Goltzer did get a rose from Turner on night one along with 15 other women, including Faith Martin, who was given Turner’s First Impression rose.

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