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Bea Arthur

Bea Arthur
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Bea Arthur Biography

Beatrice Arthur as Dorothy Zbornak on The Golden Girls. Beatrice Arthur (born Bernice Frankel on May 13, 1923), is an Emmy Award-winning American actress and comedienne with a distinctive deep voice, acid wit, and height, standing almost 5 ft 10 in (1.77 m). Her notable television roles included the title role on the popular sitcom Maude in the 1970s, and a starring role on The Golden Girls in the 1980s and 1990s. In the former she played Maude Findlay, an outspoken "limousine liberal" and "New Deal fanatic", living in the wealthy community of Tuckahoe, Westchester County, New York, with her husband, Walter (Bill Macy). On one episode Maude had an abortion. It is still the only prime-time network television show that has had the lead character get an abortion. The show was a spinoff from All in the Family, on which Arthur had appeared in the same role, playing Edith Bunker (Jean Stapleton)'s cousin, whom Archie (Carroll O'Connor) couldn't stand. In The Golden Girls she played the character Dorothy Zbornak, a past middle-age substitute teacher who lived in a Florida house owned by Rue McClanahan's character, Blanche Devereaux, along with room-mate, Rose Nylund (Betty White). Dorothy's short-tempered, yet "hip" old mother, Sophia Petrillo, had suffered a stroke and been previously placed in an old age home she despised, was played by Estelle Getty. Getty was actually two months younger than Arthur in real life, and was heavily made-up to look significantly older. On stage, her roles included "Lucy Brown" in the 1954 Off-Broadway premiere of Kurt Weill's Threepenny Opera, "Yente the Matchmaker" in the 1964 premiere of Fiddler on the Roof on Broadway, and a 1966 Tony Award-winning portrayal of "Vera Charles" in Mame (she recreated the role on film in 1974). In 1981, she appeared in Woody Allen's The Floating Lightbulb; two decades later she toured the U.S. in a one-woman show which opened in Broadway in 2002 as Bea Arthur on Broadway: Just Between Friends. Arthur was born in New York City, but she grew up in Maryland. She became a medical technologist before World War II, when she volunteered for the U.S. Marine Corps, becoming one of its first female recruits. She was married for many years to her second husband, director Gene Saks, with whom she adopted two sons, but the marriage ended in divorce. Bea Arthur has also been a committed animal rights activist, taking part in numerous campaigns for PETA. In the late 90's, a Bea Arthur fan attracted considerable attention for his bumper sticker campaign, "Bea Arthur - Be Naked," as well as for a CK1 ad spoof, "Just Bea." Bea Arthur took part in the Comedy Central Roast of Pamela Anderson. Read Full Bio >>

Bea Arthur Awards

YearAwardCategoryForResult
2008 TV Land Awards "The Golden Girls" (1985). Won
2004 TV Land Awards Favorite Cantankerous Couple "Maude" (1972). Nominated
2003 TV Land Awards Quintessential Non-Traditional Family "The Golden Girls" (1985). Won
2001 American Comedy Awards, USA Funniest Female Guest Appearance in a TV Series "Malcolm in the Middle" (2000). Won
2000 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series "Malcolm in the Middle" (2000). Nominated

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Bea Arthur Photos

  • Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan and Betty White

    6th Annual "TV Land Awards" - Arrivals

  • Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan and Betty White

    6th Annual "TV Land Awards" - Arrivals

  • Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan and Betty White

    6th Annual "TV Land Awards" - Arrivals

  • Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan and Betty White

    6th Annual "TV Land Awards" - Arrivals

  • Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan and Betty White

    6th Annual "TV Land Awards" - Arrivals

  • Bea Arthur

    Golden Girls Season 3 DVD Signing

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