Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Beatrice Arthur (born Bernice Frankel on May 13, 1923), is an American actress and comedienne with a distinctive deep voice, acid wit, and height (standing at 5'10"). Her notable television roles include the title role on the popular sitcom Maude in the 1970s and a starring role on The Golden Girls in the 1980s.
In the former she played Maude Findlay, an outspoken liberal living in Westchester County, New York; the show was a spinoff from All in the Family, on which Arthur had appeared in the same role. In the latter she played the character Dorothy Zbornak, a middle-aged woman who lived in a Florida house with two room mates (Betty White and Rue McClanahan) and Dorothy's short-tempered yet hip old mother, played by Estelle Getty. One of the most ironic things about casting Getty in this role was that she is actually two months younger than Arthur, so Getty was heavily made-up to seem significantly older.
On stage, her roles include Lucy Brown in the 1954 Off-Broadway premiere of The Threepenny Opera, Yente the Matchmaker in the 1964 premiere of Fiddler on the Roof on Broadway, and a 1966 Tony Award-winning portrayal of Vera Charles in Mame. In 1981, she appeared in Woody Allen's The Floating Lightbulb ; two decades later she toured the U.S. in a one-woman show which opened in Broadway in 2002 as Bea Arthur on Broadway: Just Between Friends.
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