Bea Arthur 88 248.
(photo credit: )
Beatrice Arthur, the tall, deep-voiced actress who considered herself lucky to be discovered by television executives after a long stage career that included a Tony award for the musical Mame, died Saturday at age 86.
The star of the TV shows Maude and The Golden Girls died peacefully at her Los Angeles home with her family at her side, family spokesman Dan Watt said. She had cancer, he said, but declined to give details.
Arthur first appeared in the landmark comedy series All in the Family as Edith Bunker's outspoken, liberal cousin, Maude Finley. She proved a perfect foil for blue-collar bigot Archie Bunker (Carroll O'Connor), and their blistering exchanges were so entertaining that producer Norman Lear fashioned Arthur's own series. Maude scored with television viewers immediately on its CBS debut in September 1972, and Arthur won an Emmy Award for the role in 1977.
Golden Girls (1985-1992) was another groundbreaking comedy, finding surprising success in a television market increasingly skewed toward a younger, product-buying audience.
Arthur was born Bernice Frankel in New York City in 1922. When she was 11, her family moved to Cambridge, Maryland, where her father opened a clothing store. At 12 she had grown to full height, and she dreamed of being a petite blond movie star like June Allyson.
Arthur is survived by her sons and two granddaughters.