Sunday, April 26, 2009

R.I.P. Bea Arthur

Somehow I never thought I'd see that phrase in print. "R.I.P. Bea Arthur". It didn't make sense to me when I saw it. I've only cried over a handful of celebrities' deaths and those were the ones that were gone before their time. The ones where we didn't see it coming.

Heath Ledger dead from an overdose at 28. John Candy dead in his trailer after suffering a heart attack at 43. Madeline Kahn dead at the age of 57 after a very secretive battle with ovarian cancer.

I was just as shocked and just as saddened by the news of Bea, who died of an undisclosed type of cancer. I think that, even though she was 86, Bea had such a vibrancy, wit, and strength about her that she seemed like she had another 86 years to dish out.

Well, she may be gone, but I was never wrong when comfortably thinking of her as immortal. She will obviously live forever through her amazing work, her successful television shows, and a legacy of independence, education, and originality.

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Name: Bea Arthur
Occupation: Entertainer
Genre: Stage/Film/Television
Born: May 13, 1922
Died: April 25, 2009

This Emmy and Tony Award winning actress and comedienne had a successful and well respected career spanning seven decades and all three major entertainment mediums.

Starting her stage career in New York in the late 1940s, Bea was part of the original cast in many great stage musicals including The Three Penny Opera, Fiddler on the Roof, and her Tony Award winning portrayal of Vera Charles to Angela Lansbury's Mame. She was nominated for another Tony nearly 40 years later for her amazing and widely loved show Bea Arthur: Just Between Friends. In 1981 she appeared in the Woody Allen play The Floating Light Bulb.

She is without argument best remembered for her pioneering roles in the iconic television shows "Maude" (as the title character which she landed after a guest appearance on "All In the Family") and "The Golden Girls" as the beloved and razor tongued Dorothy Zbornak. Bea won Emmy awards for both. She more recently appeared on highly popular episodes of "Futurama", "Curb Your Enthusiasm", and "Malcolm in the Middle".

Her handful of film credits include the film version of Mame (in which Lansbury was replaced by Lucille Ball), Mel Brooks' History of the World Part I, and For Better or Worse directed by Jason Alexander.

She was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame in 2008.

Below is a little televised gem she performed alongside Rock Hudson. The song is called "Everybody Today is Turning On" and is from the musical I Love My Wife.

Bea never missed the chance to sing.

2 comments:

  1. I totally agree with you. I never thought Dorothy would leave this earth. RIP Bea!

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  2. Thank goodness for Bea Arthur and the Golden Girls, if not for shows like that and the People's Court, etc. my summer's as a junior higher would have been even more dismally dull

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