Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Women We Love: Beatrice Arthur

This is the first in a four-part Women We Love salute to The Golden Girls, now airing daily on the Hallmark Channel:

Object of our affection: Beatrice Arthur, actress.

- She began her illustrious career on the stage, originating the roles of Yente the Matchmaker in Fiddler on the Roof and Vera Charles in Mame. She won a Tony Award for the latter and reprised her performance for the film version. More recently, she headlined her own one-woman, Tony Award nominated Broadway show, Bea Arthur on Broadway: Just Between Friends.

- Her other film appearances include Lovers and Other Strangers, History of the World: Part 1 and For Better or Worse.

- But she is best known for her work on television, starting with her Emmy Award-winning portrayal of the outspoken Maude Findlay on Maude, a spin-off of All in the Family. Her liberal feminist, known for her catch phrase "God will get you for that, Walter", was the first major primetime network TV character to have an abortion.

- In the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special, she played the owner of the cantina and danced with Greedo. Following Maude's cancellation, she starred in the short-lived sitcom Amanda's, an Americanized version of England's Fawlty Towers.

- It was her next project that immortalized her even more in pop culture, as Dorothy Zbornak in the classic comedy The Golden Girls. Her trademark dry wit and slow burns earned her another Emmy, as well as several Golden Globe nominations. Dorothy also appeared in the Girls spin-offs Empty Nest and The Golden Palace.

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