Emmy Award-winning actress Bea Arthur, best known as star of the hit TV comedies “Maude” and “Golden Girls,” has died at age 86. She died of cancer at her Los Angeles home.
“Thirty-seven years ago she showed me how to be very brave in playing comedy,” one of Arthur’s co-stars, Rue McClanahan, said in a statement. “I’ll miss that courage and I’ll miss that voice.”
In the early 1970s, Arthur appeared on the groundbreaking television comedy “All in the Family” as Edith Bunker’s fiercely liberal cousin Maude. Producers who saw gold in the role quickly devised a spinoff for the character.
“Maude” debuted on CBS in 1972 and became one of the top-rated sitcoms on U.S. television during its six-year run.
Arthur followed with “Golden Girls,” an unlikely hit from 1985 to 1992 that featured four female retirees living together.