Less than a year after we lost her television mother, Estelle Getty, television superstar Beatrice Arthur has passed away. We always knew her as "Bea" but her first name was actually "Bernice".
She'll live forever in reruns with both the trailblazing Maude and the blockbuster sitcom Golden Girls to her credit. She won EMMYs for both characters. Every once in a blue moon she lent her indelible sharp tongued comedy to the screen, most memorably as "Vera Charles" in Mame, a reprisal of her TONY winning performance for the screen.
Bea was born way back in 1922 when the movies were still silent. If it seems like she's always been an elderly woman, we can chalk that up to her unglamorous no-nonsense celebrity persona and the fact that she didn't become truly famous until she was in her 40s. It was a good long life and we have a very celebrated career to remember her by. The Boyfriend and I recently rented Maude (we'd never seen it) and were so impressed that everything we'd heard about its politics was true. You could never make a network television show like that today. We've regressed.
I last saw Bea on stage during her musical one woman show Just Between Friends in 2002. Today I'm wishing I'd clapped and whistled a little louder when she took her final bow.