Who is Bea Arthur?
Bea Arthur was an Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress who appeared in ‘Maude’ and ‘The Golden Girls.’
Bea Arthur biography
Bea Arthur was born Bernice Frankel on May 13, 1922, to Jewish parents Philip and Rebecca Frankel 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.
Bea Arthur education
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.
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.
Bea Arthur career
Bea Arthur was made fun of for her height and husky voice during her first run as a lounge singer. But at Piscator’s workshop, her big size and deep voice helped her land leading roles. 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.”
She won praise from critics for her portrayal of “Lucy Brown” in “The Threepenny Opera,” the English translation of Kurt Weill’s masterpiece, in the 1954 off-Broadway staging. She received appreciation for both her singing and acting in the performance, which ran for a considerable amount of time.
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 adaptation of James Joyce’s well-known book “Ulysses,” which made its debut on June 5, 1958 at the off-Broadway “Rooftop Theatre,” was equally impressive.
She took a break 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 on the Roof.” Her most notable performance was as “Vera Charles” in the critically acclaimed musical “Mame” in 1966.
Bea Arthur made her film debut in 1959 in “That Kind of Woman,” starring Sophia Loren. Prior to that, Bea Arthur 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 the 1974 film adaptation of “Mame,” which was helmed by her husband. 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 chosen to play “Dorothy Zbornak” in the 1985 television series “The Golden Girls,” which followed four elderly women who live together in a Miami, Florida, residence. One of the first TV shows to include a major cast of more than 40 characters was this one.
Bea Arthur husband
Bea Arthur wed Robert Alan Arthur in 1947 after they became friends when she was serving in the military. She preserved his last name even though their 1950 divorce was short-lived.
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.
Bea Arthur death
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.
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