TMZ

TMZ SPORTS

  • FS1
    M-T-Th-F:
    9:00 PM PST

    W:
    9:30 PM PST

Bea Arthur

Powered by imdb

Actress-comedienne Bea Arthur was born on May 13, 1922 in New York City to a Jewish family. She grew up in Maryland, where her parents ran a dress shop. At 12 years old, she was the tallest girl in her school at 5'9". She earned the title "wittiest" girl in her school, and Bea's dream was to be in show business, but she didn't think her family would support it. She then worked as a laboratory technician, drove a truck and worked as a typist in the Marine Corps. She also had a brief first marriage, which ended in divorce. Afterwards, she told her parents she wanted to pursue a career in show business, and they supported her decision to join the New York's Dramatic Workshop for the New School for Social Research. She played classical and dramatic roles, but it would be years before she found her niche in comedy. Her breakthrough came on stage while appearing in the musical play "The Threepenny Opera," with Lotte Lenya. For one season in the 1950's, she was a regular on Sid Caesar's television show,Caesar's Hour. In 1964, she became truly famous as Yente the Matchmaker, in the original Broadway production of "Fiddler on the Roof." While a small supporting role, Bea stole the show night after night.In 1966, she went to work on a new Broadway musical, "Mame", directed by her second husband, Gene Saks, winning a Tony Award for the featured role of Vera Charles. The show's star, Angela Lansbury, also won a Tony Award, and she and Bea became lifelong friends. In 1971, Arthur appeared on the hit sitcom All in the Family as Maude Findlay, Edith Bunker's cousin, who was forever driving Archie Bunker crazy with her liberal politics. The guest appearance led to Bea's own series entitled Maude. The show was a hit, running for six years, during which many controversial topics of the time, including abortion, were tackled, and Bea won her first Emmy Award. While doing Maude, Bea repeated the role of Vera Charles in the film version of Mame, again directed by Gene Saks, but it was a dismal flop. She also appeared on The Star Wars Holiday Special. While playing "Maude," she raised her two adopted sons with then-husband Gene Saks. After the show ended, so did Bea's marriage to Saks. She never remarried, and became a lifelong animal rights' activist.In 1983, she started working on a new sitcom, Amanda's, patterned after Britian's_"Fawlty Towers" (1975)_, but it was short-lived. In 1985, came what many consider the highlight of Bea Arthur's career, when the sitcom_"The Golden Girls" (1985)_ made its debut. Co-starring Betty White, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty, the show was about the lives of three middle-aged women, and one's elderly mother, (played by Getty, who was actually younger than her three co-stars), living in Miami. It was an immediate hit, running for seven seasons. All of the cast members, including Bea, won Emmy Awards during the show's run. It's worth noting that_"Maude" (1972)_ and_"The Golden Girls" (1985)_ were canceled when Bea announced she was leaving. She left when she thought each show was at its peak. The producers realized the shows wouldn't be the same without her. In 1992, The Golden Girls was canceled. Bea kept a low profile, appearing in only two movies: For Better or Worse and Enemies of Laughter.In 1999, she made a very successful and welcome appearance at The N.Y. Friars Club Roast of Jerry Stiller. She did a one-woman stage show in 2001, for which she received a Tony Award nomination. In 2003, she reunited with Betty White and Rue McClanahan for The Golden Girls reunion special on the Lifetime Channel. Noticeably absent was supporting actress Estelle Getty, who was ill. The three lead actresses made appearances together for the rest of the decade to promote DVD releases of The Golden Girls. They appeared together for the last time in 1998, at the TV Land Awards, where they received a standing ovation as they accepted the Pop Culture Award. Bea then attended, with Angela Lansbury, when she was inducted to the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame.On April 25, 2009, at home with her family, Bea Arthur died of cancer. She was 86. She's survived by her two sons, Matthew and Daniel, and her grandchildren, Kyra and Violet. In her will, she left $300,000 to New York's Ali Forney Center, an organization supporting homeless Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender youths.  See full bio on IMDb »

LATEST STORIES
  
Betty White -- Crashes 'Monday Night Raw' ... 'I'm Gonna Kick Some Ass'

Betty White
Crashes 'Monday Night Raw' 'I'm Gonna Kick Some Ass!!!'

Can you SMEEEEELLLLLLLLLLL what Betty White is cookin?!??!WWE got straight up "Golden" on "Monday Night Raw" last night ... when the 92-year-old appeared with Big Show and declared, "I'M GONNA… READ MORE >

Betty White: Thank You for Bea-ing a Friend

Betty White:
Thank You for Bea-ing a Friend

Bea Arthur went to the big lanai in the sky this weekend at age 87 -- but Betty White, one of two remaining living "Golden Girls," yesterday said it best, "We'll always love her."Nothin' but pure… READ MORE >

- 2781 days ago
Bea Arthur Dies at 86

Bea Arthur Dies at 86

A family spokesman for Bea Arthur says the actress has died.Spokesman Dan Watt says Arthur had cancer, but did not offer any further details. Arthur passed away at home early this morning.Arthur… READ MORE >

- 2785 days ago
Estelle Getty: Thank You For Being Alive

Estelle Getty: Thank You For Being Alive

"Golden Girl" Estelle Getty has gone to the big lanai in the sky and died at the age of 84, just three days shy of her 85th birthday.Estelle passed away at 5:35 AM this morning at her L.A. home… READ MORE >

- 3062 days ago
Adrienne Barbeau from "Maude": 'Memba Her?!

Adrienne Barbeau
from 'Maude' 'Memba Her?!

In the '70s, Adrienne Barbeau became famous for playing Bea Arthur's divorced daughter Carol on "Maude." Later, she starred in '80s horror films like "The Fog," "Creepshow" and "Swamp Thing."… READ MORE >

- 3069 days ago

Around The Web