Bea Arthur

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Bea Arthur
Beatrice Arthur - 1973.jpg
Arthur as Maude Findlay in 1973
Bernice Frankel

(1922-05-13)May 13, 1922
DiedApril 25, 2009(2009-04-25) (aged 86)
Other namesBeatrice Arthur
Alma materBlackstone College for Girls
Franklin Institute
The New School
  • Actress
  • comedian
  • singer
  • activist
Years active1947–2008
(m. 1944; div. 1950)

(m. 1950; div. 1978)

Beatrice Arthur (born Bernice Frankel; May 13, 1922 – April 25, 2009) was an American actress and comedian. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York City, Arthur began her career on stage in 1947, attracting critical acclaim before achieving worldwide recognition for her work on television beginning in the 1970s as Maude Findlay in the popular sitcoms All in the Family (1971–1972) and Maude (1972–1978) and later in the 1980s and 1990s as Dorothy Zbornak on The Golden Girls (1985–1992).

Arthur won several accolades throughout her career, beginning with the 1966 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for playing Vera Charles in Mame. She won Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series in 1977 for Maude and 1988 for The Golden Girls. Arthur has received the third most nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series with nine; only Julia Louis-Dreyfus (11) and Mary Tyler Moore (10) have more. She was inducted into the academy's Television Hall of Fame in 2008.[1]

Her film appearances include Lovers and Other Strangers (1970) and the film version of Mame (1974). In 2002, she starred in the one-woman show Bea Arthur on Broadway: Just Between Friends. An obituary described Arthur as "the tall, deep-voiced actress whose razor-sharp delivery of comedy lines made her a TV star."[2]

Early life, family, education and military service[edit]

Bernice Frankel was born on May 13, 1922, in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, to Rebecca (née Pressner, born in Austria) and Philip Frankel (born in Poland).[3][4] Arthur was raised in a Jewish home with her older sister Gertrude and younger sister Marian (1926–2014).[5]

In 1933, the Frankel family relocated to Cambridge, Maryland, where her parents subsequently operated a women's clothing shop. At age 16, Bernice developed a serious condition, coagulopathy, in which her blood would not clot.[6] Concerned for her health, her parents sent her to Linden Hall, an all-girls' boarding school in Lititz, Pennsylvania, for her final two years of high school.[6] Afterwards, she studied for a year at Blackstone College for Girls in Blackstone, Virginia.[7]

During World War II, Frankel enlisted as one of the first members of the United States Marine Corps Women's Reserve in 1943. After basic training, she served as a typist at Marine headquarters in Washington, D.C. In June 1943, the Marine Corps accepted her transfer request to the Motor Transport School at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Frankel then worked as a truck driver and dispatcher in Cherry Point, North Carolina, between 1944 and 1945. She was honorably discharged at the rank of staff sergeant in September 1945.[8]

After serving in the Marines, Frankel studied for a year at the Franklin School of Science and Arts in Philadelphia, where she became a licensed medical technician.[6][7] After interning at a local hospital for the summer, she decided against working as a lab technician, departing for New York City in 1947 to enroll in the School of Drama at The New School.[6]



From 1947, Beatrice Arthur studied at the Dramatic Workshop of The New School in New York City with German director Erwin Piscator.

Arthur began her acting career as a member of an off-Broadway theater group at the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York City in the late 1940s. Onstage, her roles included Lucy Brown in the 1954 Off-Broadway premiere of Marc Blitzstein's English-language adaptation of Kurt Weill's The Threepenny Opera, Nadine Fesser in the 1957 premiere of Herman Wouk's Nature's Way at the Coronet Theatre, Yente the Matchmaker in the 1964 premiere of Fiddler on the Roof on Broadway.

In 1966, Arthur auditioned for the title role in the musical Mame, which her husband Gene Saks was set to direct, but Angela Lansbury won the role instead.[6] Arthur accepted the supporting role of Vera Charles, for which she won great acclaim, winning a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical the same year. She reprised the role in the 1974 film version opposite Lucille Ball. In 1981, she appeared in Woody Allen's The Floating Light Bulb.[9]

She made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 1994 portraying the Duchess of Krakenthorp in Gaetano Donizetti's La fille du régiment.[10] In 1995, she starred opposite Renée Taylor and Joseph Bologna in Bermuda Avenue Triangle in Los Angeles.[11]


Arthur as Maude, c. 1973

In 1971, Arthur was invited by Norman Lear to guest-star on his sitcom All in the Family, as Maude Findlay, the cousin of Edith Bunker. An outspoken liberal feminist, Maude was considered the antithesis role to the caricatured reactionary character Archie Bunker, who described her as a "New Deal fanatic". Nearly 50, Arthur's tart turn on All in the Family impressed viewers as well as executives at CBS who, she would later recall, asked "'Who is that girl? Let's give her her own series.'"[12]

That series, Maude, previewed in her second All in the Family appearance. The show, debuting in 1972, found her living in the affluent community of Tuckahoe, Westchester County, New York, with her fourth husband Walter (Bill Macy) and divorced daughter Carol (Adrienne Barbeau). Arthur's performance in the role garnered her several Emmy and Golden Globe nominations, including an Emmy win in 1977 for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. Maude also earned a place for Arthur in the history of the women's liberation movement.[13]

The series addressed serious sociopolitical topics of the era that were considered taboo for a sitcom, including the Vietnam War, the Nixon Administration, Maude's bid for a Congressional seat, divorce, menopause, drug use, alcoholism, nervous breakdown, mental illness, women's lib, gay rights, abortion, and spousal abuse. A prime example is "Maude's Dilemma", a two-part episode airing near Thanksgiving 1972 in which Maude's character grapples with a late-life pregnancy, ultimately deciding to have an abortion.[14] Even though abortion was legal in New York State since 1970, as well as in California since its state's 1969 on-demand ruling, it was illegal in many other regions of the country and, as such, sparked controversy. As a result, dozens of network affiliates refused to broadcast the episode when it was originally scheduled, substituting either a repeat from earlier in the season or a Thanksgiving TV special in its place. However, by the time of the summer rerun season six months later, the flak was reduced, and the stations that refused to air the episode upon its first run reinstated it for broadcast. As a result, a reported 65 million viewers watched the two-episode arc either in their first run that November or during the following summer.[15] The episode initially aired two months before the U.S. Supreme Court legalized the procedure nationwide in the Roe v. Wade outcome in January 1973.[16]

By 1978, during the show's sixth season, Arthur decided to exit the series. Later in 1978, she costarred in Star Wars Holiday Special, in which she had a song and dance routine in the Mos Eisley cantina. She hosted The Beatrice Arthur Special on CBS on January 19, 1980, which paired the star in a musical comedy revue with Rock Hudson, Melba Moore and Wayland Flowers and Madame.[17]

Arthur returned to television in the short-lived 1983 sitcom Amanda's (an adaptation of the British series Fawlty Towers). The show was not a hit with audiences. Only 10 of the 13 filmed episodes were broadcast.

Arthur (left) at the 1989 Emmy Awards with close friend Angela Lansbury (right)

In 1985, at the age of 63, Arthur was cast in The Golden Girls, in which she played Dorothy Zbornak, a divorced mother and substitute teacher living in a Miami, Florida, house owned by widow Blanche Devereaux (Rue McClanahan). Her other roommates included widow Rose Nylund (Betty White) and Dorothy's Sicilian mother, Sophia Petrillo (Estelle Getty). Getty was actually a year younger than Arthur in real life. Initially, Betty White was cast as the man-hungry Blanche, and Rue McClanahan (who had previously co-starred with Arthur in Maude) was cast as the naive Rose. Arthur refused to be in a show essentially about Maude and Vivian living with Sue Ann Nivens. After White and McClanahan switched roles, Arthur reconsidered. The series was a hit and remained a top-ten rating fixture for six of its seven seasons. Arthur's performance as Dorothy Zbornak led to several Emmy nominations over the course of the series and an Emmy win in 1988. Arthur left the show after seven years, and in 1992, the show was moved from NBC to CBS and retooled as The Golden Palace in which the other three actresses reprised their roles, with Cheech Marin as their new foil. Arthur made a guest appearance in a two-part episode, but the new series lasted only one season.[18][19]


Arthur sporadically appeared in films, reprising her stage role as Vera Charles in the 1974 film adaption of Mame, opposite Lucille Ball. She portrayed overbearing mother Bea Vecchio in Lovers and Other Strangers (1970), and had a cameo as a Roman unemployment clerk in Mel Brooks' History of the World, Part I (1981). She appeared in the 1995 American movie For Better or Worse as Beverly Makeshift.[20]

Later career[edit]

After Arthur left The Golden Girls, she made several guest appearances on television shows and organized and toured in her one-woman show, alternately titled An Evening with Bea Arthur as well as And Then There's Bea.[21] She made a guest appearance on the American cartoon Futurama, in the Emmy-nominated 2001 episode "Amazon Women in the Mood", as the voice of the feminist "Femputer" who ruled a race of giant Amazonian women.[22] She appeared in a first-season episode of Malcolm in the Middle as Mrs. White, one of Dewey's babysitters who was a strict disciplinarian.[23][24] She was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her performance.[25] She appeared as Larry David's mother on Curb Your Enthusiasm.[26]

In 2002, she returned to Broadway, starring in Bea Arthur on Broadway: Just Between Friends, a collection of stories and songs (with musician Billy Goldenberg) based on her life and career.[27] The show was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Special Theatrical Event.[28]

In addition to appearing in a number of programs looking back at her own work, Arthur performed in stage and television tributes for Jerry Herman, Bob Hope, Ellen DeGeneres. In 2004, she appeared in Richard Barone's "There'll Be Another Spring: A Tribute to Miss Peggy Lee" at the Hollywood Bowl, performing "Johnny Guitar" and "The Shining Sea". In 2005, she participated in the Comedy Central roast of Pamela Anderson, where she recited sexually explicit passages from Anderson's book Star Struck in a deadpan fashion.[29]


In 1999, Arthur told an interviewer of the three influences in her career: "Sid Caesar taught me the outrageous; [method acting guru] Lee Strasberg taught me what I call reality; and [original Threepenny Opera star] Lotte Lenya, whom I adored, taught me economy."[30] Another source of influence to Arthur was that of famed actress/director Ida Lupino, whom Arthur praised: "My dream was to become a very small blonde movie star like Ida Lupino and those other women I saw up there on the screen during the Depression.[31] "

Personal life[edit]

1943 United States Marine Corps identification card photo

Arthur was married twice. Her first marriage took place in 1944, during her time in the military when she wed fellow Marine Robert Alan Aurthur,[32] later a screenwriter, television, and film producer and director. They divorced three years later, but she kept his surname, with the spelling adjusted to Arthur. Shortly after they divorced in 1950, she married director Gene Saks with whom she adopted two sons, Matthew, an actor, and Daniel, a set designer. She and Saks remained married until 1978.[33][34]

In 1972, she moved to Los Angeles and sublet her apartment on Central Park West in New York City and her country home in Bedford, New York.[35] In a 2003 interview, while in London promoting her one-woman show, she described the English capital as her "favorite city in the world".[36]

Arthur was a longtime champion of equal rights for women and an active advocate of the elderly and Jewish communities in both her major television roles and through her charity work and personal outspokenness. Contrary to the character she played as Maude, she was originally skeptical of the women's rights movement. Following her divorce from Gene Saks, she later adopted the language of that movement.[37]

Considered a longtime gay icon, she embraced the gay community that had supported her since the 1970s. Late in life, Arthur took up the cause of LGBTQ+ youth homelessness. She raised $40,000 for the Ali Forney Center with one of her final live performances, a revival of her one-woman Broadway show in 2005 after she had fallen ill with cancer. She would go on to advocate for the center until her death, telling Next Magazine, "These kids at the Ali Forney Center are literally dumped by their families because they are lesbian, gay or transgender — this organization really is saving lives."[38][39][40]

Arthur was a private and introverted woman according to her friends.[41] She was a particularly close mentor and friend to Adrienne Barbeau, who co-starred with her on Maude for six seasons. Barbeau was unavailable to perform regularly on the sitcom during its last season due to her schedule; nevertheless, the two remained close and stayed in touch for the rest of Arthur's life. In a 2018 interview with the American website Dread Central, Barbeau shared some of her feelings about her friend:

I was doing an interview for this one-woman show that I am doing and the interviewer asked, "What do people usually ask you," and I said, "They always want to know what it was like working with Bea. She was fantastic and, you know, I realized years later how much I took it for granted because it was my first experience on television. I just assumed that everyone was as giving as she was, as professional as she was, that everyone who was doing a TV show showed up knowing their lines and showed up on time and was willing to say to the writers, "I think this line was funnier if Adie had said it or Conrad had said it or Bill had said it." I mean, she was just the best, she was the best, very funny. She was not Maude when she wasn't saying those lines. I don't know if I'd say she was quiet. She was a homebody. She had her sons, her dog, and her cooking and she wasn't into the celebrity scene and she was a great lady. I loved her dearly, and we had a great cast and they were my family for six years. I loved each of them and all of them, and it was the best experience anyone could've had, being introduced to television like that.[42]

Death and legacy[edit]

Arthur died of lung cancer at her home in Brentwood, Los Angeles on April 25, 2009, aged 86.[43]

On April 28, 2009, the Broadway community paid tribute to Arthur by dimming the marquees of New York City's Broadway theater district in her memory for one minute at 8:00 p.m.[44] On September 16, 2009, a public tribute to Arthur was held at the Majestic Theatre in Manhattan, where friends and colleagues including Angela Lansbury, Norman Lear, Rosie O'Donnell and Rue McClanahan paid tribute to the actress.[45]

Arthur's surviving co-stars from The Golden Girls, McClanahan and White, commented on her death via telephone on an April 27 episode of Larry King Live. On the Today Show by phone, McClanahan said she and Arthur got along together "like cream". White said "I knew it would hurt, I just didn't know it would hurt this much."[46][47]

Longtime friends Adrienne Barbeau (with whom she had worked on Maude) and Angela Lansbury (with whom she had worked in Mame) reflected on her death. Barbeau said, "We've lost a unique, incredible talent. No one could deliver a line or hold a take like Bea and no one was more generous or giving to her fellow performers".[48] Lansbury said, "She became and has remained my bosom buddy [...] I am deeply saddened by her passing, but also relieved that she is released from the pain."[49]

Arthur bequeathed $300,000 to the Ali Forney Center, a New York City organization that provides housing for homeless LGBTQ+ youths.[50][51] The center was heavily damaged in October 2012 by Hurricane Sandy,[52][53] but has since been restored and re-opened.[54] The Bea Arthur Residence, which opened in 2017, is an 18-bed residence in Manhattan for homeless LGBT youth operated by the Ali Forney Center.[55][56]


Award Year Category Work Result
Primetime Emmy Award 1973 Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series Maude Nominated
1974 Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated
1976 Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated
1977 Won
1978 Nominated
Outstanding Continuing or Single Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Variety or Music Laugh-In Nominated
1986 Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series The Golden Girls Nominated
1987 Nominated
1988 Won
1989 Nominated
2000 Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Malcolm in the Middle Nominated
Golden Globe Award 1973 Best Actress - Comedy or Musical Series Maude Nominated
1974 Nominated
1975 Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Mame Nominated
1976 Best Actress - Comedy or Musical Series Maude Nominated
1978 Nominated
1986 The Golden Girls Nominated
1987 Nominated
1988 Nominated
1989 Nominated
Tony Award 1966 Best Featured Actress in a Musical Mame Won

An Emmy and Tony Award winner, Arthur was an Academy Award away from achieving the Triple Crown of Acting status.

Arthur won the American Theatre Wing's Tony Award in 1966 as Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her performance that year as Vera Charles in the original Broadway production of Jerry Herman's musical Mame.[57]

Arthur received the third most nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series with nine; only Julia Louis-Dreyfus (11) and Mary Tyler Moore (10) have more. She received the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series twice, once in 1977 for Maude and again in 1988 for The Golden Girls.[58] She was inducted into the academy's Television Hall of Fame in 2008.[1]

On June 8, 2008, The Golden Girls was awarded the Pop Culture award at the Sixth Annual TV Land Awards. Arthur (in one of her final public appearances) accepted the award with McClanahan and White.[59]



Year Title Role Notes
1959 That Kind of Woman WAC Uncredited
1970 Lovers and Other Strangers Bea Vecchio
1974 Mame Vera Charles
1981 History of the World, Part I Dole office clerk Uncredited
1995 For Better or Worse Beverly Makeshift Uncredited
2000 Enemies of Laughter Paul's Mother


Year Film Role Notes
1951–58 Kraft Television Theatre
1951 Once Upon a Tune
1951–53, 1955–58 Studio One in Hollywood
1955 Max Liebman Presents: Kaleidoscope
1954–56 Caesar's Hour Regular performer
1957 Washington Square 2 episodes
The Steve Allen Show
1958 The Seven Lively Arts
Tonight Starring Jack Paar
The Gift of the Magi Television film
1959 The George Gobel Show
1960 The Best of Anything Television film
1961 The Perry Como Show
1962 The Garry Moore Show
1963 The Sid Caesar Show
1971–72 All in the Family Maude Findlay 2 episodes
1972–78 Maude 141 episodes
1973 The 45th Annual Academy Awards
1974 The 28th Annual Tony Awards
1974–80 The Mike Douglas Show 6 episodes
1974–85 The Merv Griffin Show 3 episodes
1974–90 The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson 8 episodes
1975–80 Dinah! 5 episodes
1976–79 Saturday Night Live 2 episodes
1976 Cos Herself
1977 The 31st Annual Tony Awards
The 29th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards
1978 CBS: On the Air
The 30th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards
Star Wars Holiday Special Ackmena Television film
1979 The Mary Tyler Moore Hour Herself Episode #1.2
1980 The Beatrice Arthur Special Herself (Host / Performer) Television special
30 Years of TV Comedy's Greatest Hits: To Laughter with Love
Soap Angel Episode: "Jessica's Wonderful Life"
Bob Hope Special: Bob Hope-Hope, Women and Song
1981 Omnibus
The 35th Annual Tony Awards
The 33rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards
1982 Bob Hope's Women I Love: Beautiful But Funny
Nights of 100 Stars
Broadway Plays Washington on Kennedy Center Tonight
1983 Amanda's Amanda Cartwright 13 episodes
The 9th Annual People's Choice Awards
1984 The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast: Joan Collins
The 1st Academy TV Hall of Fame
a.k.a. Pablo Press Agent Episode: "My Son, the Gringo"
P.O.P. Rosalyn Gordon Television film
1985–92 The Golden Girls Dorothy Zbornak 180 episodes
1985 The NBC All Star Hour
The 37th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards
The 10th Circus of the Stars
The 40th Annual Tony Awards
1985–2008 Entertainment Tonight Herself 7 episodes
1986 All Star Party for Clint Eastwood
The 38th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards
NBC 60th Anniversary Celebration
The 43rd Annual Golden Globe Awards
Walt Disney World's 15th Birthday Celebration
Late Night with David Letterman
The 46th Annual Golden Apple Awards
The Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts
1987 The 39th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards
All Star Party for Joan Collins
Comic Relief '87
All Star Gala at Ford's Theater Host
The 1st Annual American Comedy Awards
The 44th Annual Golden Globe Awards
The 13th Annual People's Choice Awards
This Is Your Life
Happy 100th Birthday Hollywood
Sally Jessy Raphael Show
The 41st Annual Tony Awards
Family Comedy Hour
1988 The 9th Annual American Black Achievement Awards
The 45th Annual Golden Globe Awards
In Performance at the White House; A Salute to Broadway: Showstoppers
Irving Berlin's 100th Birthday Celebration
The 40th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards
Mickey's 60th Birthday Dorothy Zbornak
The 13th Circus of the Stars
My First Love Jean Miller Television movie
1989 The 46th Annual Golden Globe Awards
Empty Nest Dorothy Zbornak Episode: "Dumped"
The 3rd Annual American Comedy Awards
Bob Hope's Birthday Spectacular in Paris
The Society of Singers Presents a Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald
The 41st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards
Later with Bob Costas
The Arsenio Hall Show
The 49th Annual Golden Apple Awards
Live with Regis and Kathie Lee
1990 The TV Academy Tribute to Angela Lansbury
The 21st BAFTA Awards
The 4th Annual American Comedy Awards
The Earth Day Special
Aspel & Company
Night of 100 Stars III
The 42nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards
Des O'Connor Tonight
A Conversation with Dinah
Live from the London Palladium: Happy Birthday, Happy New Year!
1991 The 17th Annual People Choice Awards
The 48th Annual Golden Globe Awards
The 5th Annual American Comedy Awards
The 43rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards
Funny Women of Television
Dame Edna's Hollywood
1992 Evening at Pops
The Howard Stern Show
Guest Night
The 6th Annual American Comedy Awards
The Golden Palace Dorothy Hollingsworth Episodes: "Seems Like Old Times" (Parts 1 & 2)
Verstehen Sie Spaß?
The 1992 Pacific Center HIV-AIDS Benefit
1993 The 7th Annual American Comedy Awards
Out There
This Joint is Jumpin'
The 47th Annual Tony Awards
Boulevard Bio
Sean's Show
1994 Jerry Herman's Broadway at the Hollywood Bowl Herself (Performer) Television special
The 8th Annual American Comedy Awards
Bob Hope's Birthday Memories
She TV
1995 The 9th Annual Genesis Awards
50 Years of Funny Females
This Morning [60]
Judge Judy Herself 1 Episode: A witness for a defendant affiliated with the animal rights organization PETA
The 10th American Comedy Awards
The 50th Annual Tony Awards
1997 Dave's World Mel Bloom 3 episodes
The Rosie O'Donnell Show
1998 The RuPaul Show
Ellen Herself Episode: "Ellen: A Hollywood Tribute: Part 1"
CBS: The First 50 Years
NY TV: By the People Who Made It-Part I & II
1999 The 53rd Annual Tony Awards
Beggars and Choosers Herself 5 episodes
Emily of New Moon The Voice Episode: "A Fall from Grace"
The Martin Short Show
2000 So Graham Norton
Malcolm in the Middle Mrs. White Episode: "Water Park"
Intimate Portrait: Rue McClanahan
E! True Hollywood Story: The Golden Girls
E! True Hollywood Story: Good Times
E! True Hollywood Story: All in the Family
The 70s: The Decade That Changed Television
2001 Intimate Portrait: Estelle Getty
Futurama Femputer Episode: "Amazon Women in the Mood"
2002–07 The View Herself / Guest 2 episodes
2002 CBS News Sunday Morning
The Rosie O'Donnell Show
Good Morning America
The Daily Show
The Big O! True West Hollywood Story
TV Most Censored Moments
TV Tales: The Golden Girls
Open Mike with Mike Bullard
Because I Said So
Inside TV Land: Taboo TV
2003 Great Women on Television Comedy
Intimate Portrait: Bea Arthur
TV Land Awards: A Celebration of Classic TV
Rove Live
Broadway: The Golden Age by the Legends Who Were There
Through the Keyhole
The Golden Girls: Their Greatest Moments Herself (Host) Television special
Today with Des and Mel
Richard & Judy
The Terry and Gaby Show
2004 The 2nd Annual TV Land Awards: A Celebration of Classic TV
Great Performances
The Best of So Graham Norton
Inside TV Land: Primetime Politics
TV's Greatest Sidekicks
2005 Inside TV Land: Tickled Pink
Comedy Central Roast of Pamela Anderson
TV Land Confidential
Curb Your Enthusiasm Larry's mother Episode: "The End"
2006 Biography: Bea Arthur
The 100 Greatest TV Quotes & Catchphrases Herself 5 episodes
2007 TV Land Confidential Herself / Interviewee Documentary (4 episodes)
Back to the Grind Herself Bea Arthur and Ed Begley Jr.
Entertainment Weekly & TV Land Present: The 50 Greatest TV Icons
2008 The 6th Annual TV Land Awards Herself Winner
Inside Edition Documentary
2014 Broadway: Beyond The Golden Age

Theater performances[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1947 Lysistrata
1947 Gas
1947 The Dog Beneath the Skin
1947 Yerma
1948 No Exit
1948 The Taming of the Shrew Katherina
1948 Six Characters in Search of an Author
1948 The Owl and the Pussycat
1949 Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme
1949 Yes is for a Very Young Man
1949 The Creditors
1949 Heartbreak House
1951 Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
1951 Personal Appearance
1951 Candle Light
1951 Love or Money
1951 The Voice of the Turtle
1951 Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
1953 The New Moon
1954–55 The Threepenny Opera Lucy Brown Broadway debut[61]
1955 What's the Rush?
1955 Shoestring Revue
1955 Plain and Fancy Understudy: Ruth Winters[62]
1955 Seventh Heaven Mme. Suze[63]
1956 Mistress of the Inn
1956 Ziegfeld Follies
1956 Shoestring '57
1957 Hamlet
1957 Nature's Way Nadine Fesser[64]
1958 Ulysses in Nighttown
1959 Chic
1960 The Gay Divorcee at the Cherry Lane
1962 A Matter of Position
1964 Fiddler on the Roof Yente the Matchmaker
1966 Mame Vera Charles Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical
1968 A Mother's Kisses Closed on the road
1981 The Floating Lightbulb Enid Pollack[65]
1981 Hey, Look Me Over!
1994 Easter Bonnet Competition: A Salute to 100 Years of Broadway
1994 La Fille du Regiment
1995–96 Bermuda Avenue Triangle
November 17, 1996 Angela Lansbury – A Celebration Benefit concert
1997–98 After Play
1998 Jubilee
1999 Thoroughly Modern Millie
2000 Strike Up the Band
2000 The Threepenny Opera Reunion Concert
2000–2006 An Evening with Bea Arthur Westport, Connecticut (July 28–30, 2000)

Santa Fe, New Mexico (September 24, 2002)
Los Angeles, California (January 31 – February 1, 2004)
Saugatuck, Michigan (May 22–23, 2004)
Provincetown, Massachusetts (August 21, 2004)
Columbus, Georgia (October 30, 2004)
Nyack, New York (March 4–6, 2005)
Fort Wayne, Indiana (April 17, 2005)
Mount Pleasant, Michigan (April 19, 2005)
Atlantic City, New Jersey (June 3–4, 2005)
Holmdel, New Jersey (June 7, 2005)
Las Vegas, Nevada (August 27, 2005)
Hampton, Virginia (September 16–17, 2005)
Alexandria, Virginia (September 22, 2005)
Geneva, New York (September 24, 2005)
San Francisco, California (January 7, 2006)
Salem, Oregon (January 21, 2006)
Scottsdale, Arizona (February 24–25, 2006)
University Park, Illinois (March 19, 2006)

2001–2003 And Then There's Bea United States Tour (April 24, 2001 – January 13, 2002)

Melbourne, Australia (October 15–27, 2002)
Sydney, Australia (October 29 – November 10, 2002)
Johannesburg, South Africa (August 12–24, 2003)
Cape Town, South Africa (August 26 – September 7, 2003)

2002 Bea Arthur on Broadway: Just Between Friends New York, New York (January 29, 2002 – April 14, 2002)

Toronto, Canada (November 20 – December 8, 2002)

2003 Bea Arthur at The Savoy London, England (September 15 – October 18, 2003)
2004 A Celebration of Life Washington, D.C. (May 26, 2004)
2004 There'll Be Another Spring: A Tribute to Miss Peggy Lee at the Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood, California (July 14, 2004)
2004 Bea Arthur at the El Portal North Hollywood, California (August 5–8, 2004)
2005 Bea Arthur Back on Broadway (at 95th Street) New York, New York (November 21, 2005)
2006 Bea Arthur Back at the El Portal North Hollywood, California (February 16–19, 2006)


  1. ^ a b "Television Academy Hall of Fame Reveals Six Honorees for 2008" (Press release). The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. April 17, 2008. Retrieved July 12, 2008.
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  3. ^ "'Golden Girls' star Bea Arthur dies aged 86". Haaretz. April 26, 2009. Retrieved December 4, 2013.
  4. ^ "Certificate and Record of Birth #21106". City of New York, Department of Health. May 13, 1922. Archived from the original (.JPG) on May 29, 2014. Retrieved July 12, 2008.
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  7. ^ a b "Bea Arthur (1926–2009)". Retrieved September 14, 2018.
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  9. ^ "Bea Arthur". Playbill. Retrieved November 15, 2013.
  10. ^ "Obituaries: Actors Dom DeLuise and Beatrice Arthur; mezzo Margreta Elkins; soprano Anne Brown, Gershwin's original Bess; composer Lukas Foss dies at eighty-six". Opera News. Vol. 74, no. 1. July 2009. Retrieved December 28, 2010. (subscription required)
  11. ^ Hilsman, Hoyt (November 1, 1995). "Bermuda Avenue Triangle". Variety. Retrieved November 21, 2020.
  12. ^ "Golden Girls Star Be Arthur Dies at 86". NPR. April 25, 2009. Archived from the original on April 27, 2009. Retrieved April 27, 2009.
  13. ^ "Feminist Timeline: United States". Brooklyn Museum. Retrieved April 27, 2009. The television show Maude, a spin-off of All in the Family, premiers, starring Beatrice Arthur as Maude Findlay, a leftist feminist who supports abortion and civil rights.
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