RIP Bea Arthur
Bea Arthur in 1983
Beatrice “Bea” Arthur, the star of hit TV shows “Maude” and “The Golden Girls” died Saturday. She was 86.
The Associated Press reports that Arthur died peacefully at her Los Angeles home with her family at her side. According to family spokesman Dan Watt, she had cancer.
Arthur first appeared in the comedy series “All in the Family” as Edith Bunker’s loudly outspoken, liberal cousin, Maude Finley. Her entertaining face-offs with blue-collar bigot Archie Bunker (Carroll O’Connor) led producer Norman Lear to create Arthur’s own series, “Maude.”
She starred in another groundbreaking series, “Golden Girls,” from 1985-92.
The series focused on three retirees – played by Arthur, Betty White and Oklahoma native Rue McClanahan – and the mother of Arthur’s character, Estelle Getty, who lived together in a Miami apartment. The series won 10 Emmys.
Born Bernice Frankel in New York City in 1922, the tall, deep-voiced Arthur got her acting start in the theater. She made headway in the 1955 production of “The Threepenny Opera” and 1964 original company of “Fiddler on the Roof” before winning a Tony Award in 1966 for her supporting role in the musical “Mame.”
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