Beatrice Arthur Dies

Beatrice "Bea" Arthur (May 13, 1922 – April 25, 2009) was an American actress, comedian and singer whose career spanned seven decades.

Arthur achieved fame as the title character Maude Findlay on the 1970s sitcoms All in the Family and Maude, and as Dorothy Zbornak on the 1980s sitcom The Golden Girls, winning Emmy Awards for both roles. A stage actress both before and after her television success, she won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her performance as Vera Charles in the original cast of Mame (1966).

All in the Family was the launching pad of several television series, beginning with Maude on September 12, 1972. Maude Findlay, played by Beatrice Arthur, was Edith's cousin; she had first appeared on All in the Family in December 1971 in order to help take care of the Bunkers when they all were sick. Maude disliked Archie intensely, mainly because she thought Edith could have married better, but also because Archie was a conservative while Maude was very liberal in her politics. Maude was featured in another All in the Family episode in which Archie and Edith visited Maude's home in Westchester County to attend the wedding of Maude's daughter Carol — it aired near the end of the second season in the spring of 1972. The episode was essentially designed to set up the premise for the spin-off series Maude. In the episode, Bill Macy played Maude's husband, Walter; it was a role he would reprise for the weekly series that fall. Marcia Rodd, the actress who played Carol in the episode, was replaced by Adrienne Barbeau in Maude. The show lasted for six seasons, ending in 1978.

The Golden Girls starred Beatrice Arthur as Dorothy Zbornak; Betty White as Rose Nylund; Rue McClanahan as Blanche Devereaux; and Estelle Getty as Sophia Petrillo, Dorothy's mother.