Actress-comedienne Bea Arthur was born on May 13, 1922 in New York Cityto a Jewish family. She grew up in Maryland where her parents ran adress shop. By the time she was 12 years old, she grew to be 5'9" andwas the tallest girl in her school. She earned the title "wittiest"girl in her school, but Bea's family was not in show-business and shedid not think her family would support her dream.
She then worked as alaboratory technician, drove a truck and worked as a typist in theMarine Corps. She also had a brief first marriage, which ended indivorce. Afterwards she told her parents she really wanted to pursue acareer in show business, and they supported her decision to join theNew York's Dramatic Workshop for the New School for Social Research. She played classical and dramatic roles, and it would take years beforeshe found her niche in comedy. Her breakthrough came on stage whileappearing in the musical play "The Threepenny Opera" with'Lotte Lenya' .
She was also a regular on television on'Sid Caesar' 's show "Caesar's Hour" (1954) for one seasonin the 1950s. Then in 1964 she truly became famous when she appeared inthe original Broadway production of "Fiddler on the Roof" as Yente theMatchmaker. In this supporting role she stole the show night afternight. In 1966 she went to work on a new Broadway musical, "Mame", directed byher second husband, 'Gene Saks' . For the featured role of VeraCharles in "Mame" she won a Tony Award.
The star of the show,'Angela Lansbury' , also won a Tony Award and they became lifelongfriends. In 1971 Bea appeared on the hit sitcom "All in the Family" (1971) as Maude Findlay, Edith Bunker'scousin, who was forever driving Archie Bunker crazy with her liberalpolitics. This guest appearance led to her own series, entitled "Maude" (1972) in 1972. The show was a hit and ran for sixyears, during which time many controversial topics, including abortion,were tackled. Bea also won an Emmy Award for her work on "Maude" (1972) .
During the show's run Bea repeated the role ofVera Charles in the film version of Mame (1974) , again directedby 'Gene Saks' , but the film was a dismal flop. She also appearedon none other than The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978) (TV) . While doing "Maude" she also raised her two adopted sons with herhusband Gene Saks. After "Maude" ended her second marriage ended indivorce and she never remarried. She became a lifelong animal rightsactivist.
In 1983 she started work on a new sitcom, "Amanda's" (1983) ,which was patterned after British situation comedy "Fawlty Towers" (1975) , but it did not last long. In 1985however, she got sweet compensation when her new sitcom, "The Golden Girls" (1985) hit the air. Co starring'Betty White (I)' , 'Rue McClanahan' and 'Estelle Getty' ,it was a show about four middle-aged women living in Miami. It was animmediate hit and ran for seven seasons. All of the cast members,including Bea, won Emmy Awards during the show's run.
It should beworth noting that both "Maude" (1972) and "The Golden Girls" (1985) had to be canceled when Bea announcedshe was leaving each of them. In both cases she left when she thoughteach show was at its peak and, in both cases, the producers of theshows realized the shows just would not be the same without her. Since "The Golden Girls" (1985) was canceled in 1992, Bea kept a lowprofile, appearing in only a couple of movies: For Better or Worse (1995) and Enemies of Laughter (2000) . In 1999 she made a very successful and welcome The N. Y.
Friars Club Roast of Jerry Stiller (1999) (TV) . She dida one-woman stage show in 2001 for which she received a Tony Awardnomination. In 2003 she reunited with 'Betty White (I)' and'Rue McClanahan' for a "The Golden Girls" (1985) reunionspecial on Lifetime Channel. Noticeably absent was supporting actress'Estelle Getty' who was ill. The three lead actresses would makepublic appearances together for the rest of the decade to promote DVDreleases of the "The Golden Girls" (1985) .
In 2008 they appearedtogether for the last time at the TV Land Awards, where they received astanding ovation as they accepted the Pop Culture Award. Bea thenattended (with 'Angela Lansbury' , when she was inducted to theAcademy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame. On April 25,2009, Bea Arthur died at age 86 of cancer, at home with her family. Sheis survived by her two sons Matthew and Daniel, and her grandchildrenKyra and Violet. In her will she left a donation of $300,000 to NewYork's Ali Forney Center, an organization supporting homeless Lesbian,Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender youths.
|1||A Benefit Celebration: A Tribute to Angela Lansbury||1996||as Herself - Performer|
|2||All-Star Party for Joan Collins||1987||as Herself|
|3||Betty Whites 90th Birthday: A Tribute to Americas Golden Girl||2012||as Herself|
|4||Broadway at the Hollywood Bowl||1994||as Herself|
|5||Broadway: Beyond the Golden Age||2016||as Herself|
|6||For Better or Worse||1995||as Beverly Makeshift|
|7||Happy 100th Birthday, Hollywood||1987||as Herself|
|8||Inside TV Land: Tickled Pink||2005||as Herself|
|9||Live from the London Palladium: Happy Birthday, Happy New Year!||1990||as Herself|
|10||Lovers and Other Strangers||1970||as Bea Vecchio|
|11||NY TV: By the People Who Made It - Part I & II||1998||as Herself - Interviewee|
|12||The 17th Annual Peoples Choice Awards||1991||as Herself - Co-Presenter: Favourite New Television Comedy Series|
|13||The 2nd Annual Peoples Choice Awards||1976||as Herself - Presenter: Favourite New Television Show|
|14||The 2nd Annual TV Land Awards||2004||as Herself|
|15||The 30th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards||1978||as Herself - Nominated: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series & Presenter: Outstanding Informational Special|
|16||The 33rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards||1981||as Herself - Presenter: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or a Special & Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or a Special|
|17||The 37th Annual Thalians Ball||1992||as Herself|
|18||The 40th Annual Tony Awards||1986||as Herself - Performer & Presenter: Best Play|
|19||The 42nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards||1990||as Herself - Presenter: Outstanding Drama/Comedy Special & Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series|
|20||The 48th Annual Golden Globe Awards||1991||as Herself - Presenter: Best Actress/Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV|
|21||The 61st Primetime Emmy Awards||2009||as Herself - In Memoriam|
|22||The 63rd Annual Tony Awards||2009||as Herself - Memorial Tribute|
|23||The Beatrice Arthur Special||1980||as Herself - Host/Performer|
|24||The Best of So Graham Norton||2004||as Herself|
|25||The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast: Joan Collins||1984||as Herself|
|26||The Earth Day Special||1990||as Dorothy Zbornak|
|27||The Gift of the Magi||1958||as Mrs. Abercrombie|
|28||The Society of Singers Presents: A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald||1989||as Herself|
|29||The Star Wars Holiday Special||1978||as Ackmena|
|30||TVs 50 Funniest Catch Phrases||2009||as Herself|
|31||Beggars and Choosers||1999||as Beatrice Arthur|
|32||CBS News Sunday Morning||1979||as Herself - Guest|
|33||Good Morning America||1975||as Herself - Guest|
|34||Intimate Portrait||1993||as Herself - Interviewee|
|35||La imagen de tu vida||2006||as Dorothy Zbornak|
|36||Later with Bob Costas||1988||as Herself - Guest|
|37||Memòries de la tele||2007||as Dorothy Zbornak|
|38||The Arsenio Hall Show||1989||as Herself - Guest|
|39||The Garry Moore Show||1958||as Herself - Guest|
|40||The Golden Palace||1992||as Dorothy Hollingsworth|