Saturday, April 25, 2009

Goodbye Dorothy Zbornak

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.
*

14 comments:

Leehee said...

This is so sad. I read she wasn't doing so well and thought about her a lot...A truly gifted comedianne. Glad she had a long, happy life.

jc said...

weird, i've just watched the disastrous lucille-ball driven film adaptation of "mame" again yesterday.

she'll always be vera charles to me.

HAHA HOIEES said...

Nathaniel, why do you have a photo of 'Agora' in your main page in predictions, and then you don't predict it in the predictions page???????????

Agustin said...

HAHA, he does predict it. In costumes

BeRightBack said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3VbSfQ3nAM

Kamikaze Camel said...

Totally devastated about this news. It was just late week that I named Dorothy Zbornak as my favourite TV character ever in one of those Facebook LivingSocial feature things.

I really should seek out Maude, but I don't think it's available here, surprise surprise.

She always had the best one liners on Golden Girls!

"I don't think Stan and I would ever have gotten together had I known his entire family smell their fingers all day after they eat chicken."

"Why would [the ambassador of Russia] want to meet the same woman who once said 'If the city of Atlantis is lost, how can Bobby Vinton appear there twice a year?'"

"No Rose, I'm nervous because if Sonny Bono is elected Major of Palm Springs he's gonna make all the postmen wear leather bell-bottoms and fur vests."

"Well, at least some good came out of it. It's about time somebody threw up on Gene Shalit."

"You'll have to forgive my mother, she's very upset. She just found out she has the same hairdresser as Whoopi Goldberg."

And so on. Such a gift to this world she was.

Derreck said...

I'm always going to be sad whenever i hear about any of the Golden Girls passing away. I've probably watched every episode of the show and always watched the re-runs on Lifetime. Bea Arthur was always my favorite on the show. I think my brain melted when to my surprise, she was on an episode of Malcolm of the Middle i was watching, and of course, she made the best out of what she was given. It was something she always did on the Golden Girls. Just perfect with her line delivery and comic timing. She will be missed, but she'll always be remembered and perserved in our minds whenever we think of and watch the Golden Girls.

Derreck said...

i would eat a piece of cheesecake in her honor like on the show, but i learned on IMDB, that she hated cheesecake. maybe some Angel Food cake instead?

Wayne B. said...

This is sad; I used to watch "The Golden Girls" with my granny back when I was a little kid. Rediscovered them in high school and Dorothy was always my favourite. Showbiz just lost a helluva lady. :(

Will said...

Great actress and unforgettable woman. Thank you and goodbye, Ms. Arthur.
R.i.P.

Marshall said...

Not only would its politics not be acceptable today, you could never make a show revolving around four older people. Regressed indeed. Bea RIP

Karen said...

May she rest in peace. She had pitch-perfect comedic timing on Golden Girls.

Kamikaze Camel said...

A lot of articles are saying The Golden Girls revolved around four retirees, which is entirely wrong. The Dorothy, Rose and Blanch character all worked (as a teacher, a grief counselor/tv assistant and museum worker respectively). Hell, even Sophia works in many episodes, most memorably at a fast food restaurant.

Ian said...

I'm going to start buying "The Golden Girls" DVDs ASAP and re-live my favorite moments from the show. I'm heartbroken right now. :(