April 15, 1934
San Jose, California, U.S.
Life and career
On television she appeared in such programs as Bourbon Street Beat, The Red Skelton Hour, Perry Mason, Branded, I Spy, The Monkees, The Flying Nun, Love, American Style, The New Dick Van Dyke Show, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, Sanford and Son, Laverne & Shirley, Mork & Mindy, Murder, She Wrote, and Matlock.
In 1967, in arguably her most prominent single movie role, she portrayed Hedy LaRue in the film version of the Broadway hit How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Her catch phrase, "OK Charlie." In 1969, she co-starred with Don Knotts in the screwball comedy The Love God? and with Bob Hope, Jackie Gleason and Jane Wyman in the romantic comedy How to Commit Marriage.
She also appeared on Broadway in the role of Ida Schwartz in Something Different.
In the mid-1960s she recorded a pop tune on the Carlton record label titled "Don't Make The Angels Cry" and "What Does He Do With Her". A second single, "Don't Leave Me," was unreleased, though an acetate recording exists.
She was married to producer Aaron Ruben, who died January 30, 2010 at age 95.
She's Hedy LaRue, she's Adelaide, she's the First Lady of Variety Clubs telethons, now known as Variety, the Children's Charity. Those sparkling blue eyes, the sunny face, the infectious laugh..you'd know here anywhere - that's our own Maureen Arthur.
High School football queen and cheerleader, she began her career as a teenage disk jockey in St. Louis before heading to Northwestern University to major in communications. She's been on the move ever since.
After appearing in campus musicals and hosting her own radio show, Maureen returned to St. Louis to co-host KWK TV's daily talk and musical variety show with Ed Wilson. She sang 15-20 songs a week and interviewed guests from all over the world. On weekends, she sang with the band from the Chase Hotel on the national CBS radio show, "Live at the Chase".
When the local affiliate was asked to select someone to represent St. Louis in a CBS national talent contest, there was no contest, they sent Maureen!
In New York the contestants appeared on "The Garry More Show." Garry and a panel of judges chose Maureen as the winner. The prize was a regular appearances on "The Garry Moore Show", a one-week appearance at the famed Latin Quarter, and one week at Art Ford's Valentine Club, a famed Eastside bistro. She loved New York and stayed on to continue singing and studying drama with Wynn Handman of the Neighborhood Playhouse.
After signing with MCA, Maureen began doing TV guest shots, commercials, club dates in the mountains, and industrial shows, where she won the title of "Miss Edsel", a short-lived reign.
While in Los Angeles for a week appearing at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, Maureen learned that Ernie Kovacs was looking for a replacement for his wife, Edie Adams, who was leaving to do a Broadway show. She rushed back to New York where she sang two songs, read four pages of script in eight different dialects and got the Job!
"Ernie was a comedy genius" stated Maureen. "It was the most exceptional training ground I ever had, and my thrust has been comedy ever since." She went on to work with most of the notable comedians of our time: Shecky Green, Bob Hope, Don Knotts, Sid Caesar, Milton Berle, Don Rickles, Redd Foxx, Jan Murray, Jack Carter, Harvey Lembeck, Jonathan Winters, and Robin Williams.
Maureen made frequent appearances on "The Steve Allen Show" and on "The Ed Sullivan Show" with Ernie as part of the Nairobi Trio before moving on to play the Rivera Hotel in Las Vegas with the Latin Quarter Review. After the engagement, she joined the popular club act, "The Wilder Brothers", and for a year played the Rivera and the Sands.
She traveled on to Los Angeles to start in her first motion picture, "Hot Rod Gang" and "Thunder Alley" with Fabian. After that followed "Killers Three", starring Dick Clark.
While in Los Angeles, Maureen auditioned for the national cast of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying", and landed the part of Hedy La Rue. Back to New York for rehearsals, she toured the country for two hears and was in the Broadway production for one year before returning to Los Angeles for another audition, this time for the movie. She was thrilled to join the original Broadway cast, Robert Morse, Michelle Lee and Rudy Vallee, in the highly successful movie.
Her great notices for "How to Succeed" were followed by starring roles in, "The Love God" with Don Knotts and "How to Commit Marriage" with Bob Hope.
After several more movies, Maureen headed back again to Broadway for "Something Different," a play written and directed by Carl Reiner and starring Bob Dishy and Linda Lavin. When the play closed, Maureen returned to Los Angeles to marry producer/creator Aaron Ruben, the man responsible for many hit shows, including "Andy Griffith", "Gomer Pyle," "Sanford & Son," and Don Rickles', "CPO Sharkey." They lived in Beverly Hills, where Maureen continued to work in television, theatre, and movies.
One of her very favorite jobs was doing sports reporting for CBS television, since she has always been a wild and knowledgeable sports fan.
Her role of Adelaide in the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera revival of the Broadway hit, "Guys and Dolls" with Milton Berle and Jed Allen brought rave reviews and the Drama Critics' Best Performance Award.
Maureen was a frequent guest on leading comedy and drama series, "Matlock," "empty Nets," and "Murder She Wrote," and she was a member of the ensemble cast of the critically acclaimed CBS show "Empire".
A professional biography of Maureen Arthur would not be complete without mentioning her love of children, especially those in need of special care. About thirty years ago, Maureen's father, who was President of the St. Louis Chapter of Variety Club, part of Variety International, the largest children's charity in the world, invited her home to appear on their telethon.
The excitement of opening night on Broadway is small compared to the joy of a handicapped child walking, for the first time, into your open arms, and Maureen has dedicated her life to working for Variety Clubs across the United States and Canada. She especially enjoyed performing at the Variety of Iowa Telethons, she returned yearly for over 25 years and was member of the Iowa Chapter of Variety. Her long time association with Variety earned her the title of "First Lady of Variety Clubs Telethons" and went on to earning the prestigious official title of International Ambassador, joining a select list that includes such luminaries as, Carey Grant, Sammy Davis, Jr., Gregory Peck, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Dame Vera Lynn, Sean Connery, and Monty Hall. She was a long time President of Variety, the Children's Charity of Southern California, Tent 25. Maureen and her husband, Aaron Ruben were also very involved with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children).
Maureen is a sports enthusiast, a gourmet cook, is up to the minute on current events, not to mention wild, witty and a very funny lady who will touch your heart.
- Hot Rod Gang (1958)
- Holiday Lodge (1961)
- Thunder Alley (1967)
- How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1967)
- A Man Called Dagger (1967)
- Killers Three (1968)
- The Wicked Dreams of Paula Schultz (1968)
- What's It All About, World? (1969)
- How to Commit Marriage (1969)
- The Love God? (1969)
- The Love Machine (1971)
- Harry and Walter Go to New York (1976)
- Like Normal People (1979)
- Empire (1984)
Hedy LaRue: "A secretary was ordered to be assigned to you. I'm your assignation."