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The comedy world has not been the same since Bea Arthur died on April 25, 2009. Best remembered for her roles in the sitcoms “The Golden Girls” and “Maude.”
She also won for her role in “Mame” on Broadway a Tony Award for supporting actress playing opposite Angela Lansbury. Arthur died at age 86 in Los Angeles, California from cancer.
Arthur’s first television role was playing in “All in the Family” Maude Finley, Edith Bunker’s cousin who was liberal and outspoken. Her banter with Carroll O’Connor who played Archie Bunker, a bigot, impressed Norman Lear, the producer of the show that he gave Arthur her own series.
Maude debuted on CBS in September 1972. In 1977, Arthur won the Emmy. The ratings for the show were tremendous in the early years, but after the Emmy win, audiences fell off. In 1978, Arthur told producers she would be leaving the show.
Arthur would return to television in a role; many consider her signature role on “Golden Girls.” In 1985, she played Dorothy Zbornak next to Rue McClanahan, Betty White, and Estelle Getty.
Zbornak was very similar to her “Maude” character. When asked in an interview how she felt about being typecast, she replied:
I am 5-feet-9 with a very deep voice, and I have a certain way I deliver my lines. What am I going to do? I can not wait at home waiting for something different to come in. I think it is a waste of my time and energy worrying about thinking about typecasting.”
“Golden Girls” was a huge success in particular with younger and the LGBT audience and won 10 Emmy Awards including Awards for each of those who starred on the show and two for best comedy.
Arthur said she would be leaving the show in 1992. The others went on to the new series “The Golden Palace.” However, the ratings were not there, and it lasted for one season.
Arthur continued to act in her later years, appearing in shows including “Malcolm in the Middle,” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
Written by Barbara Sobel
Legacy.com: BEA ARTHUR OBITUARY
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