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Bea Arthur, Golden Girl, Dead at 86


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Actress Bea Arthur, Star of TV's Golden Girls, Dies at 86

 

LOS ANGELES — Beatrice Arthur, the tall, deep-voiced actress whose razor-sharp delivery of comedy lines made her a TV star in the hit shows "Maude" and "The Golden Girls" and who won a Tony Award for the musical "Mame," died Saturday. She was 86.

 

Arthur died peacefully at her Los Angeles home with her family at her side, family spokesman Dan Watt said. She had cancer, Watt said, declining to give further details.

 

"She was a brilliant and witty woman," said Watt, who was Arthur's personal assistant for six years. "Bea will always have a special place in my heart."

 

Arthur first appeared in the landmark comedy series "All in the Family" as Edith Bunker's loudly 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 fashio' "Brighton Beach Memoirs" and "Biloxi Blues." One of his Tony nominations was for "Mame."

 

In 1999, Arthur told an interviewer of the three influences in her career: "Sid Caesar taught me the outrageous; (method acting guru) Lee Strasberg taught me what I call reality; and ('Threepenny Opera' star) Lotte Lenya, whom I adored, taught me economy."

 

In recent years, Arthur made guest appearances on shows including "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "Malcolm in the Middle." She was chairwoman of the Art Attack Foundation, a non-profit performing arts scholarship organization.

 

Arthur is survived by her sons and two granddaughters. No funeral services are planned.

 

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Edited by archangel
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