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Stage and TV actress Bea Arthur dies at 86

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Photo: Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times (2001)

Veteran actress of stage and TV, Bea Arthur, died today in Los Angeles. Arthur was truly one of a kind. She carried her tall frame proudly and with a deep voice and sharp wit, could deliver some of the best comedy one-liners ever.

  Arthur acted on stage in local theater as well as on Broadway. She won a Tony for her supporting role in the original Broadway production of “Mame” in 1966. I was not lucky enough to see Arthur work her magic on stage, but I did watch her for years on television. And loved every minute of it.

In 1971, Arthur made her first appearance on the sitcom “All In The Family” as Edith Bunker’s sharp tongued cousin, Maude. Arthur would later have great success with her own show, “Maude,” which was really a comedy/drama because it dealt with serious issues as well as comedic situations. It reflected the times and the growing feminist movement. “Maude” ran for six years in prime-time. Arthur won an Emmy for the lead role in 1977.

 In 1985, Arthur returned to television for another classic sitcom, “The Golden Girls” with Estelle Getty, Rue McClanahan, and Betty White. All four won Emmys for their roles on the show. Arthur picked hers up in 1988.

Outside of acting, Arthur was a big supporter of animal rights and AIDS research. Arthur was 86. She reportedly died of cancer.

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2 Responses to Stage and TV actress Bea Arthur dies at 86

  1. Nomad Monday, April 27, 2009 at 9:38 am #

    Thank goodness for Bea Arthur and the Golden Girls, if not for shows like that and the People’s Court, etc. my summer’s as a junior higher would have been even more dismally dull

  2. Fronnie Lewis Monday, April 27, 2009 at 3:02 pm #


    Bea Arthur and “The Golden Girls” were part of a great era of television. Luckily, we can still enjoy episodes of great TV shows like “Maude” and “The Golden Girls” on DVD.

    Thanks for commenting.

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