Saturday, April 25, 2009

Bea Arthur Dies at 86

Sadly, actress Bea Arthur has died of cancer at age 86.

Modern audiences are probably most familiar with her work on "The Golden Girls," but my memories of her go back to the 1970s, when she made guest appearances on "All in the Family" as Edith's cousin, Maude, and went on to star in her own spin–off series, "Maude."

Early in her adult life, Arthur had a modest stage career, but she made her television debut on Dec. 11, 1971 — about six months before her 50th birthday — when, as Maude, she came to nurse the ailing Bunker family back to health in "All in the Family." I have attached a memorable clip from that episode to the top of this post.

As the star of her spin–off series, Arthur's trademark phrase was, "God'll getcha for that."

Arthur's performance on "Maude" earned her five Emmy nominations and four Golden Globe nominations during the series' six–year run.

In the mid–1980s, she was cast in "The Golden Girls" as Dorothy, the acerbic daughter of Estelle Getty's character, Sophia. Getty, who died last July, actually was a year younger than Arthur but was made up to appear much older. Arthur was nominated for four Emmys and four Golden Globes for her work on "The Golden Girls," which ran for seven seasons.

She won one Emmy each for her work on "Maude" (in 1977) and "The Golden Girls" (in 1988).

Last June, she and "The Golden Girls" co–stars Betty White and Rue McClanahan accepted the "Pop Culture" award at the Sixth Annual TVLand Awards.

Ironically, the Seventh Annual TVLand Awards will be presented on Sunday.