It was sad news to hear that Bea Arthur, best known for her role as Dorothy Zbornak in Golden Girls. In addition to Golden Girls, her other major television role was as Maude Findlay which started out as a character giving Archie Bunker an outspoken foil to battle with on All In The Family. Her popularity in the role led to Bea spining the character off into her own show entitled Maude. And long before her television fame Bea was a Broadway star who created a legendary performance as Vera Charles in Mame, a role she would later reprise in a film version.
To me, Bea Arthur will always be a reminder of my late grandmother Beverly Severin. My grandmother preferred to be go by Bev, much like Bea was better known as Bea than Beatrice. Also my grandmother looked a lot like Bea Arthur, so much so, that she often got several double takes especially during the Maude years. As my grandmother’s hair was also transitioning from black to silver at the same time. She even got double takes during Bea’s Golden Girls years as well but not to the same degree as the Maude years.
In fact some of my best memories I have with my grandmother have been watching Golden Girls with her. My grandmother was also quite sassy as Bea was on the show. When my grandmother passed away in 2001, it made the episodes of Golden Girls all that much more important for me to feel a bond with my grandmother. So I will always love Bea Arthur for being a special part of my memories with my grandmother.
One of my favorite things I have in my collection is the recording of Bea Arthur’s one-woman show called “Bea Arthur On Broadway: Just Between Friends” where she recounts highlights from her career. The autobiographical show not only showcased her career but allowed her to show off her charm as an entertainer. It’s well worth getting if you’ve never heard it.
As Bea Arthur passes on to whatever lies beyond the physical life, I celebrate the joy she’s brought to my life for many years and the special connection to my grandmother that will always have a special place in my heart. Thank you Bea for all the wonderful moments and for providing the most memorable delivery of one of the best one liners ever from television, “Shady Pines, Ma!” Bea will be missed in my household.