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Bea Arthur – May 13, 1922 – April 25, 2009

bea-arthurA Diva has passed away.

Bea Arthur – probably the best TV & stage comedienne since Lucille Ball – died today at the age of 86 from cancer.

From Wiki:

In 1972, Arthur was cast as the title character in the television series Maude. She played Maude Findlay, an outspoken liberal living in the affluent community of Tuckahoe, Westchester County, New York, with her husband, Walter (Bill Macy) and divorced daughter Carol (Adrienne Barbeau). The show was a spin-off from All in the Family, on which Arthur had appeared a couple of times in the same role, playing Edith Bunker‘s (Jean Stapleton)’s cousin, a feminist, and antithesis to the bigoted, conservative Archie Bunker (Carroll O’Connor), who described Maude as a “New Deal fanatic.” Her role garnered several Emmy and Golden Globe nominations, including her Emmy win in 1977 for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.

Arthur was cast in the hit sitcom The Golden Girls in 1985, in which she played Dorothy Zbornak, a divorced substitute teacher living in a Miami, Florida house owned by Blanche Devereaux (Rue McClanahan). Her other roommates included widow Rose Nylund (Betty White) and Dorothy’s Sicilian mother, Sophia Petrillo (Estelle Getty). Getty was actually a year younger than Arthur in real life, and was heavily made up to look significantly older. Dorothy had a caustic sense of humor and was prone to making witty and sarcastic wisecracks. The series was a huge hit, remaining a top ten ratings fixture for six seasons. Her performance led to several Emmy nominations over the course of the series and an Emmy win in 1988.

Bea Arthur, que descanses en paz.

From Maude, the episode when she decides whether or not to have an abortion, and her daughter, played by Adrienne Barbeau, convinces her that it’s her choice:

AND MY FAVORITE Golden Girls moment – the last episode in the last moment when Dorothy gets married.  Here’s the last part of Golden Girls’ last episode, when Dorothy Zbornak leaves with her new husband.  Everytime I watch this, I laugh through the tears:

59 Responses

  1. (sniff) Thank you for posting this SM.

    • I just can’t get over BEA ARTHUR IS DEAD.

      I LOVE HER.

      That clip from Maude is just too much. her own daughter, her biological child is giving her advice about abortion.

      “It not a dirty word anymore,” says Maude’s daughter.

      And then the hug at the end – too much.

      • (nodding)

        I had no idea she was so sick. The Washington Post had a fairly recent photo on their front page and she was obviously extremely ill (I have to wonder why they published a photo of her looking so not-like-herself)

        • She was funny on stage & TV & movies but was VERY PRIVATE in real life.

          This was such a surprise an a big shock to me that she was THAT SICK.

        • Bea Arthur
          A bea arthur biography type video

          These are some beautiful ones of Bea Arthur throughout her bright and wonderful life.

    • (drying tears) thanks, SM, what a great reminder

  2. May God rest your soul, Bea, and keep you close. You will be missed. My most profound sympathies to your family, friends and loved ones.

  3. Stupid me. I saw the comments about her dying in the thread below and didn’t realize it was the actress who played the role of Dorothy in the Golden Girls. Oh no! RIP Dorothy aka BEA ARTHUR.

    Thanks SM77 for posting that Golden Girls video, otherwise I wouldn’t have known who it was.

  4. Thanks for posting this, SM. Arthur was pretty old–she was born the same year as my dad. He’s 87. She gave the world a lot of joy.

    • I just can’t believe she was that age – she had the gray hair – sure – but never would I ever think she was in her late 80s.

  5. Maude was a wonderful show.

  6. Rosie sings the theme from “Maude” to Bea Arthur

    (”And Then There’s Maude” by Dave Grusin and Andrew Bergman) – Maude Lyrics

    Lady Godiva was a freedom rider
    She didnt’ care if the whole world looked.
    Joan of Arc with the Lord to guide her
    She was a sister who really cooked.

    Isadora was the first bra burner
    And you’re glad she showed up. (Oh yeah)
    And when the country was falling apart
    Betsy Ross got it all sewed up.

    And then there’s Maude.
    And then there’s Maude.
    And then there’s Maude.
    And then there’s Maude.
    And then there’s Maude.
    And then there’s Maude.
    And then there’s

    That old compromisin’, enterprisin’, anything but tranquilizing,
    Right on Maude.


    Maude: Arthur Gets a Partner Part 1/3
    http://tinyurl.com/dmj7th (Theme song at the start)

    Memories…I loved Maude

  7. I loved Maude–she was so strong…R.I.P,

  8. Loved Maude! Watching Bea as Maude was my assertive training! Thank you Bea Arthur!…. and Norman Lear

    • Yup, you hit it on the nail, she gave us the ‘feminist basic training’ to face the world. I don’t think there really is anyone out there today that is that socially oriented, politically focused that could dish it out like Maude. And those eyes could speak volumes and the eyebrow was awesome.

      • I was going to talk about her eye brows! Wow, they
        could perform crowd control! lol! Maude was the first woman on TV allowed to be both pissed off and “OK”. For a generation of women raised to “make nice” , she was a revelation!

        • Maude for me was very, very, very important, because she talked about those topics that we were supposed to not talk about and handled her business as a strong woman. She showed emotions too, which were always a no no for us little wimin folk growing up and that was a life lesson skill.



    You did…you sure did it your way. RIP

  10. OK – updated with new FAB PHOTO.

  11. Maude “The Analyst” Season 4

    Get a hanki at the ready, this shows Bea Arthur’s stage ‘Broadway’ talent and very few actors can carry an episode like she did here. BRAVO, BRAVO, BRAVO! What an actress!

    • OMG – I just got through it –


      I also saw her Lifetime Bio when she spoke about her not getting the main part for Mame against her very good friend, Goddess Angela Lansbury, and how despite that, they were friends throughout.

      Remarkable woman.

      • She sure was and we were very blessed to have had such a talent on Maude and actually had her come into our homes. A special treat for us women and the little women too.

  12. The Kennedy Center Honors Lucille Ball

    Bea Arthur, Valerie Harper and Pam Dawber come out for a musical tribute to Lucille Ball

    Pretty dang awesome…the signing starts at 2:15


    Bea, we loved you!


      Jeesh! can you give me like – a warning – before clicking>???

      Ok – I LOVE LOVE LOVE Lucille Ball & I remember seeing this as a kid.

      • And ok – I’m crying now over Desi Arnaz’ written tribute before he died when this aired.

      • oops! I cut to part three so people wouldn’t see him (gag) speak. I forgot they still pan to him. lol!

  13. I think I just now realized what an impact Bea Arthur as Maude had on me as a young girl. Although my mother was (is) a strong woman raising three girls as a single mom, we didn’t really have conversations about feminist issues. But I remember watching Maude and thinking Wow – I can be strong and loud and proud of it like her. And that’s pretty much how I’ve been. I can honestly say her show made a difference in my life. I’m glad my mom let me watch it!

    I’ve noticed Golden Girl reruns late at night (which are great) but I’ve always thought I would much rather see Maude reruns. Where are they? Anyway, rest in peace Bea knowing you made a difference and thank you.

    • Yup, that I think made a great impact on all of us during those troubled times and yes it would be good for the younger generations to watch them and become empowered by them too. My parents were kinda shhhhushy about not showing emotions and Maude wasn’t afraid of them…I really appreciated that (probably saved me money on the analyst sofa).

      I also remember her telling people ‘sorry’ and that was a powerful lesson too.

      I just found the Maude Series on iTunes from Sony and I am going to get the set. She sure could get you to laugh, cry and even get darn mad…that was OK too.

  14. […] And then there’s Maude Rest in peace, Bea Arthur.  Check out The Confluence for a great tribute to Bea Arthur. […]

    • Ah, bless you for finding the opening theme song to Maude. 😥 Happy tears… Those lyrics really were a little battle cry for us wimin folk, into going out there and facing the world. Yup, ‘And then there’s Maude’…facing today’s challenges.

  15. I’m also glad you wrote this, sm. I got a tear in my eye reading about her going. I idolized her in my twenties.

    • Amazing what a positive role model can do and how many lives a good role model can touch. Bea Arthur was a great role model, she really was.

  16. Oh man, I loved Bea Arthur!

    I think my favorite Golden Girls Dorothy moment was the episode where she finds out a man she’s interested in is a Catholic priest. There’s an awkward moment after they decide to have dinner as friends. She’s dressed in a seqined blouse and he says, “Well, anyway, you look lovely” and she answers, “I look like the mother of a Solid Gold dancer!

  17. Awwww, damn!

    Watching the YouTube clips brings back good memories of Maude and The Golden Girls.

  18. RIP Bea Arthur. You showed in your choice of parts and in your life what being a woman is all about.

    Let others admire giggly-girl-women obsessed with the size of their boobs. I want to be Dorothy Zbornak when I grow up.

  19. This woman’s job was actress and she played 1 or 2 roles that were popular. I’m sorry for her passing and the sadness and pain her family and friends will experience, just as I am for my neighbor’s mother.

    But when are Americans going to stop worshipping at the feet of these Hollywood folks. Grow up.

    • Don’t be hatin’

    • ” But when are Americans going to stop worshipping at the feet of these Hollywood folks. ” – NH

      That is it, Bea Arthur was not a Hollywood made up doll, she was the real deal, she wasn’t made into a Hollywood product. In her art, she brought the everyday things of life into our sphere, I am sorry that you aren’t able to see the beauty of that and hope that some day you will open up and take a look.

      She took on the the patriarchy in the most clever way, by facing it head on, through wit, dry humor, charm, intellectual arrows and that feisty will that would never give into it. Some times seeing the struggle is what matters and she showed us what many wouldn’t and that is the lesson that matters…to dare to try and try again and again until we crack the glass ceiling…

      • I just participated in the production of a program for women that started out as “breaking the Glass Ceiling” and ended up being “Cracking the Marble Ceiling” mainly because in doing the research it became clear that it is marble, not glass.l
        Bea Arthur knew that and thumbed her nose at those who supported that marble ceiling. She depicted for us what could be – how to step up and how women could support each other in the real world.

    • I don’t worship at her feet or at the feet of any other celebrity. I admired her and her work. And I still want to be Dorothy Zbornak with all her flaws when I grow up.

  20. NH…
    We’re not only mourning the passing of a wonderful performer…we’re morning the passing of an era of TV where women had personalities and were raising everyone’s consciousness. And, we saw women “of a certain age” who could touch everyone’s souls…

  21. I will miss Bea Arthur I love her. Good Times was actually a spin off of Maud, which was my favorite because Bea Arthur was such a strong character.

    Rest in Peace.

  22. I had the privilege of seeing Bea Arthur in Washington DC in 2001 after 9/11. She fantastic and just what that city needed. A little singing, a little stand-up, a little “Shady Pines, Ma”. She connected with everyone there in some way.

    Been watching the Golden Girl for what seems like forever. Even through the worst of times, I could always find a reason to cheer up just a little watching her. I feel like I lost my a member of the family- a funny, smart, understanding, caring, no nonsense relative that you could always count on to make you laugh.

    Rest in peace, Ms. Bea. You will be sorely missed.


  23. I remember Bea Arthur being the leader of the The Golden Girls, one of the funnier characters on that show at least…
    she will be missed

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