American actress, comedian, singer, and animal rights advocate Bea Arthur. She was well-known for her television performances that won “Emmy” awards. After serving in the “US Marines” during the “Second World War,” she pursued professional theatrical acting training. She won a “Tony Award” for her depiction of “Vera Charles,” perhaps her most well-known stage persona, in the production of “Mame.”
Bea Arthur later appeared as a guest actor on the television show “All in the Family,” as “Maude Findlay.” She subsequently had her own program, “Maude.” Her “Maude” persona was a strong female who took on a lot of then-current sociopolitical topics.
It was one of the first television characters to openly discuss a wide range of delicate subjects, including the Vietnam War, domestic violence, homosexual rights, and abortion. In her subsequent successful program, “The Golden Girls,” in which she played “Dorothy Zbornak,” Arthur continued to address a number of social taboos.
Arthur rose to prominence as an advocate for LGBT rights and a model for independent women as a result of her portrayals of characters like “Dorothy” and “Maude.” She has collaborated with PETA to end animal cruelty.
Bea Arthur: Bio, Age, Ethnicity, Sibling
Philip and Rebecca Frankel, who were Jewish, gave birth to Bea Arthur on May 13, 1922, in Brooklyn, New York City, USA. The family, which included Arthur’s two sisters, relocated to Cambridge, Maryland, during the Great Depression in the 1930s, when her parents founded a clothes store.
She graduated in 1941 from the “Linden Hall School for Girls” in Lititz, Pennsylvania. She attended “Blackstone College for Girls” for two years. She subsequently enrolled in the “Franklin Institute of Science and Arts,” where she eventually graduated with a degree in medical laboratory technology.
One of the first active-duty women in the “US Marine” was Bea Arthur, who enlisted and served as a truck driver and typewriter in the “Marine Corps” during “World War II.” In September 1944, she was given an honorable discharge.
She participated in theatre throughout high school and aspired to a career in the entertainment industry. She persuaded her parents to allow her to enroll in Erwin Piscator’s Dramatic Workshop of The New School in New York City in 1947 so she could pursue an acting career.
- Also Known As: Beatrice Arthur, Bernice Frankel
- Died At Age: 86
- Spouse/Ex-: Gene Saks (M. 1950–1980), Robert Alan Aurthur (M. 1947–1950)
- Father: Philip Frankel
- Mother: Rebecca, Rebecca Pressner
- Children: Daniel Saks, Matthew Saks
- Born Country: United States
- Height: 5’10” (178 cm), 5’10” Females
- Died On: April 25, 2009
- Place Of Death: Brentwood, Los Angeles, California, United States
- Notable Alumni: Blackstone College For Girls, School Of Drama At The New School, Franklin Institute
- Cause Of Death: Lung Cancer
- Ancestry: Austrian American, Polish American
- U.S. State: New Yorkers
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Bea Arthur was made fun of for her tall stature and husky voice when she first started out as a cabaret singer. She did, however, secure lead roles at Piscator’s workshop thanks to her height and deep voice. On July 21, 1947, she made her stage debut at the Cherry Lane Theatre as a member of the speaking chorus in “The Dog Beneath the Skin.”
In the 1954 off-Broadway production of “The Threepenny Opera,” the English translation of Kurt Weill’s masterpiece, she won praise from critics for her portrayal of “Lucy Brown.” She received compliments on both her singing and acting throughout the duration of the play.
Her first Broadway comedy, “Nature’s Way,” debuted at the “Coronet Theatre” on October 16, 1957. Despite having a little part, she managed to win over reviewers with her performance. Her subsequent performance as a domineering brothel madam in the stage version of James Joyce’s well-known book “Ulysses,” which made its debut on June 5, 1958, at the off-Broadway “Rooftop Theatre,” was similarly stunning.
She took a sabbatical from acting soon after, and on September 22, 1964, she made a comeback to the stage to play “Yente the Matchmaker” in the musical “Fiddler in the Roof.” She played “Vera Charles” in the critically acclaimed musical “Mame” in 1966, which was her most notable stage performance.
Career in Television and Film
Bea Arthur made her film début in 1959 in “That Kind of Woman,” starring Sophia Loren. Prior to that, she had appeared in a number of modest television parts and had been a regular performer on “Caesar’s Hour.” Bea Arthur was given the opportunity to play a guest role on the television program “All in the Family” by Norman Lear, who had been a fan of her work from her early theatrical performances. She starred in this role from 1971 to 1972.
She played an opinionated liberal feminist dubbed “Maude Findlay” in “All in the Family,” and the role was so well-liked that CBS decided to develop her own show on it. The hit television show ‘Maude’ aired from 1972 to 1978 for six seasons.
She played the same part again in her husband’s 1974 “Mame” movie adaptation. She later made appearances in several films, such as “For Better or Worse” and “Lovers and Other Strangers” (1970). (1995).
She performed song and dance routines in the 1978 “Star Wars Holiday Special” where she made an appearance. She presided over “The Beatrice Arthur Special” in 1980. She had an appearance in the sitcom “Amanda’s” in 1983.
She was cast as ‘Dorothy Zbornak’ in the 1985 television series ‘The Golden Girls,’ which followed four older women who share a home in Miami, Florida. One of the first TV shows to include a major cast of more than 40 characters was this one.
Bea Arthur is best known for playing the television character Maude Findlay. On two different shows, she played the part. She shocked the public and the critics at the age of almost fifty by developing a brief appearance into a long-running, lucrative television program.
She once again played a strong female character who spoke out on many of the era’s hot-button issues in the television series “The Golden Girls.” The show eventually rose to prominence and became popular.
Achievements and Awards
Bea Arthur received praise from critics for her performance in the hit musical “Mame.” For her work, she won the “Tony Award” in 1966 for “Best Featured Actress in a Musical.”
For “Maude” and “The Golden Girls,” she received “Primetime Emmy Awards.” She is the third-most nominated artist in the category of “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series” with nine “Emmy” nods. For the two television series, she was nominated for nine “Golden Globes.”
Personal Life & Legacy
Bea Arthur wed Robert Alan Arthur in 1947 after they became friends when she was serving in the military. She preserved his last name despite the briefness of the marriage, which terminated in divorce in 1950.
She began dating Gene Saks, a fellow student at the “Dramatic Workshop,” in 1949, and they were wed on May 28, 1950. Matthew and Daniel were two sons they adopted and nurtured. Daniel became a set designer, but Matthew pursued a career as an actor. In 1978, Saks and Bea Arthur were divorced.
On April 25, 2009, she passed away from cancer at her Brentwood home. She bequeathed $300,000 to the “Ali Forney Center” in New York, a group that helps homeless LGBT youth. She had a long relationship with PETA as an animal rights advocate, and in her tribute, the organization named a dog park “Bea Arthur Dog Park” in her honor.
Fact Bea Arthur was named “The Wittiest Girl in High School” during her time at the “Linden Hall School for Girls,” where she first attended. She was the tallest girl in her school at just 12 years old, standing at 5 feet 9 inches.
In the play “Mame,” Bea Arthur and co-star Angela Lansbury sang the duet “Bosom Buddies.” Later, they grew close, and they remained friends until her passing.
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