Eighties babies, stand up if you grew up watching The Golden Girls! Seventies babies, stand up if you grew up watching Maude! Either way, if you’re like me, you probably came up as a young one enjoying and appreciating the talents of Bea Arthur.
I’m sad to share the news that the legendary stage and television actress passed away today, succumbing to cancer at age 86. I found out the sad news via Nichelle of 55 Secret Street on Twitter. I’m sure there’ll be a warm tribute on the TV news later tonight.
I can’t say I’ve ever seen an episode of Maude, but man The Golden Girls was a regular part of my TV schedule as a little one. Maybe too little — those ladies were trading some scandalous zingers that went over my head then! That show was groundbreaking. Single women in their fifties, having fun, finding romance and living life in Miami? Unprecedented. The Golden Girls became the template for sitcoms to follow. Girlfriends and Sex and the City both owe a debt of gratitude to Dorothy, Sophia, Blanche, and Rose.
Bea Arthur wasn’t my favorite Girl — this bella is a Blanche at heart! But Bea Arthur played the straight woman like few others could. Dorothy’s style, her deadpan, deep voiced delivery, and her classic comedic timing made her an icon. Bea Arthur was a legend in her field, a great actress and a devoted animal lover. RIP, Bea. You will be missed.