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Old 04-25-2009, 04:11 PM   #1
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Default `Golden Girls' star Bea Arthur dies at 86

Being a fan of this woman it's a sad day indeed.

Beatrice Arthur, the tall, deep-voiced actress whose razor-sharp delivery of comedy lines made her a TV star in the hit shows "Maude" and "The Golden Girls" and who won a Tony Award for the musical "Mame," died Saturday. She was 86.

Arthur died peacefully at her Los Angeles home with her family at her side, family spokesman Dan Watt said. She had cancer, Watt said, declining to give further details.

"She was a brilliant and witty woman," said Watt, who was Arthur's personal assistant for six years. "Bea will always have a special place in my heart."

Arthur first appeared in the landmark comedy series "All in the Family" as Edith Bunker's loudly outspoken, liberal cousin, Maude Finley. She proved a perfect foil for blue-collar bigot Archie Bunker (Carroll O'Connor), and their blistering exchanges were so entertaining that producer Norman Lear fashioned Arthur's own series.

In a 2008 interview with The Associated Press, Arthur said she was lucky to be discovered by TV after a long stage career, recalling with bemusement CBS executives asking about the new "girl."

"I was already 50 years old. I had done so much off-Broadway, on Broadway, but they said, `Who is that girl? Let's give her her own series,'" Arthur said.

"Maude" scored with television viewers immediately on its CBS debut in September 1972, and Arthur won an Emmy Award for the role in 1977.

The comedy flowed from Maude's efforts to cast off the traditional restraints that women faced, but the series often had a serious base. Her husband Walter (Bill Macy) became an alcoholic, and she underwent an abortion, which drew a torrent of viewer protests. Maude became a standard bearer for the growing feminist movement in America.

The ratings of "Maude" in the early years approached those of its parent, "All in the Family," but by 1977 the audience started to dwindle. A major format change was planned, but in early 1978 Arthur announced she was quitting the show.

"It's been absolutely glorious; I've loved every minute of it," she said. "But it's been six years, and I think it's time to leave."

"Golden Girls" (1985-1992) was another groundbreaking comedy, finding surprising success in a television market increasingly skewed toward a younger, product-buying audience.

The series concerned three retirees — Arthur, Betty White and Rue McClanahan — and the mother of Arthur's character, Estelle Getty, who lived together in a Miami apartment. In contrast to the violent "Miami Vice," the comedy was nicknamed "Miami Nice."

As Dorothy Zbornak, Arthur seemed as caustic and domineering as Maude. She was unconcerned about the similarity of the two roles. "Look — I'm 5-feet-9, I have a deep voice and I have a way with a line," she told an interviewer. "What can I do about it? I can't stay home waiting for something different. I think it's a total waste of energy worrying about typecasting."

The interplay among the four women and their relations with men fueled the comedy, and the show amassed a big audience and 10 Emmys, including two as best comedy series and individual awards for each of the stars.

In 1992, Arthur announced she was leaving "Golden Girls." The three other stars returned in "The Golden Palace," but it lasted only one season.
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Old 04-25-2009, 04:13 PM   #2
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I just read this on another board, very sad news.
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Old 04-25-2009, 04:14 PM   #3
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Oh wow, this is a shock!
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Old 04-25-2009, 04:16 PM   #4
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We love you, Bea!! Thanks for the memories and laughs.
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Old 04-25-2009, 04:25 PM   #5
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That's too bad.

Her deadpan remarks and reactions to her Golden Girls co-stars were always funny.
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Old 04-25-2009, 04:26 PM   #6
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I didn't know that Bea had cancer.
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Old 04-25-2009, 04:38 PM   #7
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Wow. Two of them in less than a year. A very sad day indeed. RIP Bea Arthur. You, your wit, humor, and incredible talent will be sorely missed.
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Old 04-25-2009, 04:46 PM   #8
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I find it amazing that this one post managed to generate so many responses in just fifteen minutes! Also, because the person who started this thread is still relatively new to the site, I would like to say, welcome aboard!
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Old 04-25-2009, 05:15 PM   #9
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A sad day indeed, she will be missed.
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Old 04-25-2009, 06:16 PM   #10
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This is such sad news. She will be missed.
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Old 04-25-2009, 06:27 PM   #11
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I can't believe it myself (didn't know she had cancer, either). She always seemed like one of those larger-than-life celebrities who would live forever. I guess she always will - in our hearts and in our memories.

I noticed that her co-star Lucille Ball (from the 1974 movie "Mame") died 20 years ago tomorrow. 'Mame' and 'Vera'...together again.

Godspeed, Ms. Arthur!
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Old 04-25-2009, 06:30 PM   #12
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Goodbye, Bea. Thank you for being a friend....
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Old 04-25-2009, 06:42 PM   #13
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I just learned about Bea Arthur's passing. I can't believe this, 2 of our 4 favorite girls have passed away, this is depressing news. I had no idea she had cancer. This is a sad day for all us GG fans. Rest In Peace Bea, we all love you!

Last edited by angel676; 04-25-2009 at 07:27 PM.
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Old 04-25-2009, 06:46 PM   #14
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Default I just read that she passed away and it made me feel so sad. As soon as I heard

about it I came straight to this board to read comments. I still picture in my mind that all 4 of the GG are still living in Miami together and they are still getting into mischief.
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Old 04-25-2009, 06:48 PM   #15
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Now there are two Golden Girls in heaven,RIP Bea and Estelle,thanks for the laughs xx
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