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Maude aired from September 1972 until April 1978 on CBS.
Maude was the first spin-off from producer Norman Lear's successful comedy, All In The Family. Edith Bunker's cousin was upper-middle class, liberal and extremely outspoken - a perfect counterpoint to Archie Bunker's blustering, hard-hat bigotry.
Maude ( Beatrice Arthur) lived in suburban Tuckahoe, New York, with her fourth husband, Walter ( Bill Macy), owner of Findlay's Friendly Appliances. Living with them was Carol ( Adrienne Barbeau), Maude's divorced, 27-year-old daughter and Carol's 9-year-old son, Phillip( Brian Morrison and later Kraig Metzinger).
In her determination to represent the independent woman, she herself always had a female housekeeper. Maude's first maid, Florida( Esther Rolle), a bright, witty black woman who left early in 1974 to star in her own series, Good Times. Her husband, Henry( John Amos), was renamed James in Good Times even though the same actor continued in the role. Florida was succeeded by a cynical, hard-drinking English woman named Mrs. Naugatuck ( Hermoine Baddely)who was never as popular with the viewers as Florida had been. She left the show in November 1976 after marrying Bert Beasley( J. Pat O'Malley) to return to the British Isles. Her replacement, in the fall of 1977, was Victoria Butterfield( Marlene Warfield).
The Findlay's next-door neighbor and Walter's best friend was Dr. Arthur Harmon( Conrad Bain). When the series began, Arthur was a widower, but he began dating Maude's best friend, Vivian( Rue McClanahan), and in February 1974, they were married. Maude's daughter Carol came close to getting married to Chris( Fred Grandy) in 1974 but that didn't work out and he soon was gone from the cast.
Although this was a comedy show, the subject matter was often on the serious side. During the run of the show, Maude had become involved in politics, had a face lift, had an abortion (which drew heavy viewer protest mail) and went through menopause. Walter went through a severe bout with alcoholism, saw his store go bankrupt and had a nervous breakdown. Maude could be very funny but in its effort to be realistic, it could also be controversial and down right depressing.
Finally in 1977-1978, the audience began to decline, and some major cast changes were planned for the next season. The Harmons and Carol were to move out of town and Walter was to retire from the appliance business. Maude would begin a career in politics with a new supporting cast. But early in 1978, Bea Arthur announced that she was leaving the series. The producers admitted that no one else could play the role as she had, and so, after six seasons, Maude ended its run.
An Article From Time Magazine
Monday, Oct. 01, 1973 Article
Once upon the days of the Depression, the twelve-year-old daughter of a clothier in Cambridge, Md., dreamed of becoming a star "a very small, blonde movie star." But the little girl was 5 ft.
9 in. tall and most definitely brunette, and she grew up into a towering 5-ft. 11-in. handsome woman with the voice of a diesel truck in second gear. Last year that imposing, now graying, woman with the small blonde ingenue inside marched onto the nation's television screens as Maude. It took fate 40-odd years to get around to her, but Bea Arthur is finally a star.
If Actress Arthur is not exactly garden-variety glamorous, Maude is even less likely as the heroine of a TV situation comedy. In a medium that until a few years ago shied from portraying divorced women and left politics to the 6 o'clock news, Maude is on her fourth husband and her umpteenth outspokenly liberal cause. She bullies her family and neighbors with the steamroller self-assurance of a Marine sergeant marshaling a troop of Cub Scouts, and when that fails, she invokes the aid of the Deity. "God'll getcha for that," she warns those who cross her. She is a fighter who takes on city hall, featherbedding repairmen and department-store complaint departments. She can deck an adversary with an arch of a single brow as surely as with an adder-tongued retort like last week's explanation of a black eye: "I was jumping rope without a bra."
Maude's first antagonist was Archie Bunker, when she stormed onto All in the Family two seasons ago as a visiting cousin. Since spinning off on her own last year, Maude has stirred things up with shows on the legalization of marijuana and the sham of radical chic, as well as a two-part episode on abortion that roused a particularly shrill outcry when it was rerun over the summer (TIME, Aug. 27).
Undaunted, the program kicked off the new season with a two-parter on alcoholism, and in future will confront the Supreme Court's ruling on pornography (as it applies to a fund-raising show for Maude's local library). Later in the season Maude will even have a face-lifting, after conceding that she feels "like an old hen with a turkey's neck and crow's-feet I could be the centerfold for the Audubon Society." Her on-camera rejuvenation will be accomplished with tape and makeup, but the idea for the show came from Bea Arthur herself, who plans to have the real thing during the mid-season hiatus.
Big Lady. Maude's great appeal the show consistently placed in the top five of last year's Nielsen ratings is her realism, says Arthur. "Maude's age, her outspokenness, make her real. For the first time, a person is coming on in a TV sitcom." Much of the credit goes to Bea Arthur, who is a somewhat softer-spoken, toned-down version of her TV persona. "I'm a big lady with a deep voice, I'm a liberal, and if I get angry I speak out," she says. She is also a consummate comedienne and an accomplished actress who handles the show's serious moments with uncloying dignity.
Her career has been punctuated by intermittent "retirements" ever since she turned her back on a budding future as a registered lab technician in Maryland and took off for acting school in New York City. "I was marvelous. I had enormous breasts which started here," she says, pointing to her neck.
The statuesque student was soon playing suitably outsized roles: Lysistrata, Clytemnestra, Kate the shrew.
There followed "a variety of assorted flops in which I played interior decorators and madams," she recalls, and every now and then a solidly successful role, like her Tony Award-winning Vera Charles in the Broadway musical Mame.
Producer Norman Lear of All in the Family became a fan when he saw her singing a torch song called Garbage in an off-Broadway revue. He cast her in several TV sketches in the late '50s, and when he created Maude, Arthur was his first and only choice for the title role.
She and her husband, Director Gene Saks (Barefoot in the Park, Mame), live with their two adopted sons in a rented house near Los Angeles, while Arthur tapes Maude and Saks completes his film version of Mame (in which his wife re-created her supporting role). She is sensibly private about her personal life, but her late-blooming stardom overtakes her occasionally. "My God, you're Maude!" a waitress shouted at her recently. "To tell you the truth, I don't know if you look better or worse!"
On a trip to New York last summer, Arthur bought a wig to use as a disguise, but Saks refused to let her wear it. "Then one night it happened," she says. "We were chased down Broadway by a mob of people like in Suddenly Last Summer. It was awful. We dived into a bar to escape, and my husband said, 'Next time do me a favor. Wear the wig.' " A small blonde wig, perhaps?
Bea Arthur, Star of Two TV Comedies, Dies at 86
By BRUCE WEBER APRIL 25, 2009 (NYT)
Bea Arthur, who used her husky voice, commanding stature and flair for the comic jab to create two of the most endearing battle-axes in television history, Maude Findlay in the groundbreaking situation comedy “Maude” and Dorothy Zbornak in “The Golden Girls,” died Saturday at her home in Los Angeles. She was coy about her age, and sources give various dates for her birth, but a family spokesman, Dan Watt, said in an e-mail message she was 86.
The cause was cancer, Mr. Watt said.
Ms. Arthur received 11 Emmy Award nominations, winning twice — in 1977 for “Maude” and in 1988 for “The Golden Girls.”
She was a seasoned and accomplished theater actress and singer before she became a television star and a celebrity in midcareer, and she won a Tony Award in 1966 for playing Angela Lansbury’s best friend, the drunken actress Vera Charles, in “Mame.”
But while she was successful on stage, on television she made history. “Maude,” which was created by Norman Lear as a spinoff from “All in the Family,” was broadcast on CBS during the most turbulent years of the women’s movement, from 1972-78, and in the person of its central character, it offered feminism less as a cause than as an entertainment.
Maude Findlay was a woman in her 40s living in the suburbs with her fourth husband, Walter (played by Bill Macy), her divorced daughter, Carol (Adrienne Barbeau), and a grandson. An unabashed liberal, a bit of a loudmouth and a tough broad with a soft heart, she was, in the parlance of the time, a liberated woman, who sometimes got herself into trouble with boilerplate biases just the way her cultural opposite number, Archie Bunker, did. She was given a formidable physicality by Ms. Arthur, who was 5 feet 9 ½ inches and spoke in a distinctively brassy contralto.
The show was considered a sitcom, but like “All in the Family,” it used comedy to take on serious personal issues and thorny social ones — alcoholism, drugs, infidelity.
“We tackled everything except hemorrhoids,” Ms. Arthur said, sounding much like Maude, in a 2001 interview with the Archive of American Television, a collection of video oral histories compiled by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
In the show’s first season, Maude, at the age of 47, learned she was pregnant; her distress was evident.
“Mother, what’s wrong? You’ve got to share this with me,” Carol says. Maude’s response is typical, with barbs aimed both inward and outward, delivered by Ms. Arthur with a flash of simultaneous anger, despair and humor: “Honey, I’d give anything to share it with you.”
The two-part episode was broadcast in November 1972, two months before Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court case that made abortion legal nationwide, was decided. By the episode’s conclusion, Maude, who lived in Westchester County in New York, where abortion was already permitted, had chosen to end the pregnancy. Two CBS affiliates refused to broadcast the program, and Ms. Arthur received a shower of angry mail.
“The reaction really knocked me for a loop,” she recalled in a 1978 interview in The New York Times. “I really hadn’t thought about the abortion issue one way or the other. The only thing we concerned ourselves with was: Was the show good? We thought we did it brilliantly; we were so very proud of not copping out with it.”
“The Golden Girls,” an immensely popular show that was broadcast on NBC from 1985-92 and can still be seen daily in reruns, broke ground in another way. Created by Susan Harris (who wrote the “Maude” abortion episode), it focused on four previously married women sharing a house in Miami, and with its emphasis on decidedly older characters, it ran counter to the conventional wisdom that youthful sex appeal was the key to ratings success.
Which is not to say “The Golden Girls” wasn’t sexy. Like “Maude,” it was a comedy that dealt with serious issues, especially those involved with aging, but also matters like gun control, gay rights and domestic violence. And like “Maude,” it could be bawdy. The women were all active daters and, to different degrees, openly randy. As Dorothy, Ms. Arthur was coiffed and clothed in a softer, more emphatically feminine manner than she had been in “Maude,” but she was no less sharp-tongued, and she and the show’s other stars — Rue McClanahan, Betty White and Estelle Getty (who, though younger than Ms. Arthur, played Dorothy’s mother) — were frequently praised for portraying the lives of older women as lively, uncertain, dramatic and passion-filled as those of college sorority sisters.
Familiarly known as Bea, Ms. Arthur was billed in the theater and on television as Beatrice, but the name was one she made up. She was born Bernice Frankel in New York City on May 13, 1922, according to Mr. Watt. But she preferred to be called B — “I changed the Bernice almost as soon as I heard it,” she said — and later expanded it to Beatrice because, she said, she imagined it would look lovely on a theater marquee. The name Arthur is a modified version of the name of her first husband, the screenwriter and producer Robert Alan Aurthur.
When she was a child, her family moved to Cambridge, Md., on the Eastern Shore, where her parents ran a small women’s clothing store, and she dreamed of being a chanteuse and an actress, and entertained her friends with imitations of Mae West. She attended Blackstone College, a two-year school in Virginia, and later studied to be a medical technician, then eventually moved to New York to study acting with Erwin Piscator at the Dramatic Workshop of the New School for Social Research. Among her classmates were Tony Curtis, Walter Matthau and the actor and director Gene Saks, whom she married in 1950. (He directed her in “Mame.”) They divorced in 1978; their two sons, Matthew and Daniel, survive her. She had two granddaughters.
Ms. Arthur worked regularly Off Broadway and in summer stock, appearing as Lucy Brown in Marc Blitzstein’s adaptation of “The Threepenny Opera” at the Theater de Lys in 1954. And in 1955, in a well-received musical tidbit, “Shoestring Revue,” she was seen for the first time by the man who would become a lifelong friend and professional benefactor, Norman Lear.
She also sang in nightclubs and worked occasionally on television, appearing on “Kraft Television Theater” and other shows featuring live drama. On Broadway, in 1964, she played Yente, the matchmaker in “Fiddler on the Roof.” In the movies, she appeared in the comedy “Lovers and Other Strangers” (1970), and in a reprise of her stage performance as Vera Charles, she appeared in “Mame” (1974), again directed by her husband, this time alongside Lucille Ball.
In 1971, she was living in New York but visiting her husband, who was directing a movie, “The Last of the Red Hot Lovers,” in Los Angeles, when Mr. Lear persuaded her to do a guest spot on “All in the Family.” The role he created for her, Maude Findlay, was a cousin of Edith Bunker, Archie’s wife (Jean Stapleton), who arrives to care for the family when everyone gets sick. Her tart sparring with Archie (Carroll O’Connor, with whom she had worked on stage, in a play called “Ulysses in Nighttown”) was a hit with viewers. Almost immediately CBS ordered up a new series from Mr. Lear, with Ms. Arthur’s Maude at the center of it. It changed her life.
“I think we made television a little more adult,” Ms. Arthur said. “I really do.”
Obituary: Rue McClanahan / Played Blanche on 'Golden Girls'
Feb. 21, 1934 - June 3, 2010
Rue McClanahan, who played the aging Southern belle Blanche Devereaux in the hit NBC comedy series "The Golden Girls," died Thursday at age 76. Reports said she died after suffering a stroke at a New York City hospital.
The actress won an Emmy in 1987 for her role in "The Golden Girls," in which she co-starred with Bea Arthur, Betty White and Estelle Getty. Ms. McClanahan's Blanche was an oversexed siren and proto-cougar who seduced men of all ages with her Southern charm. The show ran from 1985 to 1992 and continues to air in syndication.
Ms. White is now the only surviving Golden Girl. Arthur died in 2009, at 86, and Getty died in 2008, at 84.
Ms. McClanahan co-starred alongside Arthur in the CBS sitcom "Maude," from 1972 to 1978 and also had a recurring role in NBC's "Mama's Family" during the early '80s.
When she wasn't working in television, Ms. McClanahan often performed on stage, including theatrical stints on Broadway, off Broadway and in Southern California. She performed in Pittsburgh in 1999 in the Civic Light Opera production of "Bye Bye Birdie."
The actress won a scholarship to study at the Pasadena Playhouse early in her career. In her autobiography "My First Five Husbands ... and the Ones Who Got Away," Ms. McClanahan wrote that in her third year at the playhouse, she played the role of a more famous Blanche -- Blanche DuBois -- in a production of Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire." She described the part as "a plum role I always wanted to tackle."
Ms. McClanahan later moved to New York, where she studied with Uta Hagen and Harold Clurman. In 1968, she performed in the Broadway production of Murray Schisgal's "Jimmy Shine," which starred Dustin Hoffman. The actress won an Obie in 1970 for her performance in the off-Broadway production of "Who's Happy Now."
Also in 1970, she landed a role on the soap opera "Another World."
Soon, Hollywood beckoned and the actress expanded her career in television. But she would return to the stage in between her screen jobs.
Ms. McClanahan had a supporting role in a critically acclaimed revival of Thornton Wilder's "The Skin of Our Teeth" at the Old Globe in San Diego. The production was taped and later aired on PBS in 1983.
After "The Golden Girls," Ms. McClanahan performed twice on Broadway -- in the Roundabout's 2001 revival of "The Women," and in the hit musical "Wicked," in which she stepped into the role of Madame Morrible in 2005.
Eddi-Rue McClanahan was born on Feb. 21, 1934, in Healdton, Okla., and studied German and theater at the University of Tulsa.
Her first job was at the Erie Playhouse in Erie, Pa.
The actress was a breast cancer survivor and had undergone heart bypass surgery in 2009.
Married six times, Ms. McClanahan revealed in her 2007 memoir that the insatiable appetites of her "Golden Girls" character weren't a terrible stretch for her.
"People always ask if I'm really like Blanche," Ms. McClanahan wrote, "and I say, 'Well, consider the facts: Blanche was a glamorous, oversexed, self-involved, man-crazy Southern belle from Atlanta -- and I'm not from Atlanta."
She also wrote: "I learned a lot from Blanche about optimism and joie de vivre, feeling confident about what you have to offer the world, and the ability to bounce back from life's momentary failures. Blanche Devereaux is a masterful rebounder, never down for the count, always back up to fight again, to look again on the bright side. I loved that about her."
Conrad Bain, ‘Diff’rent Strokes’ dad, dies at 89
By Adam Bernstein January 16, 2013 (WP)
Conrad Bain, a wryly appealing actor who became a household name to millions of TV viewers on the sitcom “Diff’rent Strokes” as a white New York industrialist who adopts two orphans from Harlem, died Jan. 14 in Livermore, Calif. He was 89.
His daughter Jennifer Bain announced the death but did not disclose the cause.
A native of Canada, Mr. Bain graduated in 1948 from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York and became an instantly recognizable supporting player for more than half a century on stage, television and film. With a balding pate and articulate style, he was often cast in well-educated or avuncular roles.
Producer Norman Lear gave Mr. Bain a breakthrough of sorts when he cast the actor as the conservative doctor and next-door neighbor of liberally outspoken Maude Findlay (played by Bea Arthur) on the sitcom “Maude,” which aired on CBS from 1972 to 1978.
Then came “Diff’rent Strokes,” which had its debut on NBC in 1978. Mr. Bain nominally had the leading role of the widowed patriarch Philip Drummond, but he was overshadowed in the popular imagination by the two children his character adopts from his dying black housekeeper.
The young Jackson brood — 8-year-old Arnold and 12-year-old Willis — were played by scene stealers Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges, respectively. Rounding out the family was Mr. Drummond’s daughter, Kimberly, played by Dana Plato.
The show ran until 1986, spending its final year on ABC, but it remained in syndication for many years. “Diff’rent Strokes” charted the usual sitcom story lines about dating and family life and ventured often into race- and class-based humor.
When Mr. Drummond says he owns a hot tub in his Manhattan apartment, Arnold thinks his new millionaire father means the tub is stolen. “If we help you fence it, we get half,” Arnold quips.
At times, the program gained attention for its darker plotlines about child abuse and drug use. First lady Nancy Reagan appeared on a 1983 episode to promote her “Just Say No” anti-drug campaign.
In a sad twist, “Diff’rent Strokes” developed a reputation for the destructive behavior of its child actors. Plato died from a drug overdose at 34 in 1999; Bridges also had a drug addiction and run-ins with the law; and Coleman struggled with financial and legal difficulties until dying in 2010 at 42 of a brain hemorrhage.
“It is really painful,” Mr. Bain told the Los Angeles Times in 1991 as he watched his former castmates struggle. “It leaves you with such a helpless feeling.”
Conrad Stafford Bain was born Feb. 4, 1923, in Lethbridge, Alberta, and was a senior at a high school in Calgary when he appeared in a play for the first time.
He said that show sparked his interest in theater, which led him to New York after Canadian army service during World War II. He became a U.S. citizen in 1946.
As an acting student in New York, he landed small parts on TV anthology shows such as “Studio One.” He later had a recurring role as an innkeeper on the ABC series “Dark Shadows” in the mid-1960s and played a loyal presidential aide to George C. Scott in the short-lived sitcom “Mr. President” (1987).
Mr. Bain was a critical standout as a former anarchist in director Jose Quintero’s landmark 1956 revival of Eugene O’Neill’s tragedy “The Iceman Cometh.” The show, which ran off-Broadway and starred Jason Robards Jr., was four hours, but the power and endurance of the cast were credited with launching a resurgence of interest in O’Neill’s work.
“Conrad Bain’s fanatical philosopher who sees all sides of all questions and is therefore a futile human being is especially well acted,” New York Times theater critic Brooks Atkinson wrote.
Mr. Bain portrayed a Massachusetts senator in the 1961 Broadway production of “Advise and Consent,” based on Allen Drury’s Pulitzer Prize-winning political novel. He played a liberal publisher in “An Enemy of the People” for a 1971 Broadway staging of Arthur Miller’s adaptation of the Henrik Ibsen play.
Two years later, Mr. Bain was an impoverished landowner in Anton Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya,” directed by Mike Nichols on Broadway in a cast that included Scott, Nicol Williamson and Julie Christie.
Mr. Bain’s final Broadway appearance was as a wise family doctor in a 1991 revival of Paul Osborn’s “On Borrowed Time,” starring Scott as a senior citizen who tries to defy death by trapping him in a tree.
“I sold out and went to TV,” Mr. Bain quipped at the time. “Now I am buying my way back in the theater.”
In 1945, he married Monica Sloan, an artist. She died in 2009. Survivors include three children.
Mr. Bain’s movie career was sporadic but included a memorable appearance as a U.S. government official in Woody Allen’s slapstick comedy “Bananas” (1971).
Mr. Bain was credited as a driving force behind the creation in 1962 of the Actors Federal Credit Union, which helps actors borrow money at low interest rates and obtain credit. “What I wanted to dissipate,” he told the San Diego Union-Tribune years later, “was the legend of the actor as a bad risk, an irresponsible citizen.”
For a Website dedicated to Maude go to https://web.archive.org/web/20031224121955/http://www.geocities.com:80/favoritetvclassics_maude/
For Tim's TV Showcase go to https://web.archive.org/web/20130406181522/http://www.timstvshowcase.com/maude.html
For a Website dedicated to Maude go to https://web.archive.org/web/20031208104553/http://www.magma.ca:80/~law/maude.html
For an Article on Maude go to https://tv.avclub.com/10-episodes-that-show-how-maude-debated-american-cultur-1798278022
For a Website dedicated to Bea Arthur go to https://www.beatricearthur.com/
For a Website dedicated to Bea Arthur go to https://web.archive.org/web/20070706102833/http://www.beaarthurfan.com/beahome.html
For some Maude-related interview videos at the Archive of American Television go to https://interviews.televisionacademy.com/shows/maude
For 2 great reviews of Maude go to https://web.archive.org/web/20030202134352/http://www.museum.tv:80/archives/etv/M/htmlM/maude/maude.htm and https://web.archive.org/web/20080509182954/http://www.televisionheaven.co.uk/maude.htm
To watch the opening and closing credits go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZ6VMLVLWUw and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5o3wpQmg44w
� Date: Tue April 5, 2016 � Filesize: 46.8kb, 282.7kb � Dimensions: 1600 x 1259 �
Keywords: Bill Macy & Beatrice Arthur (Links Updated 7/10/18)