When I heard that Bea Arthur passed away on Saturday morning, it felt like I’d lost a distant relative. One that I’ve been meaning to visit but never got a chance to, and then suddenly I’m overcome with guilt because I’ll never have a chance again. Dramatic, I know. I’ve never met Bea Arthur, but I’ve known her since I was 9, when I first saw an episode of The Golden Girls.
It’s reported that Arthur died from cancer, in her home in Los Angeles. She was 86 years old.
While Golden Girls went off the air in ’92, I continued watching for many years, thanks to the re-runs that are still on daily. And I may not have understood why the show was so important at the time, it would eventually start making sense. Not only would I come to get how it fit into the feminist movement, but as I got older, I got a lot more of the jokes (especially Blanche’s sexual innuendos that were undoubtedly always over my head in the beginning).
It was Arthur’s character, Dorothy Zbornak, who taught me the art of sarcasm. Her perfectly-timed witty comebacks were genius, and earned her an Emmy Award in ’88 (she won her first for her first hit show, Maude, in ’77).
One of my favorite Bea moments, though, was when she attended the Roast of Pamela Anderson on Comedy Central. Though jokes were told about her being so old, she showed everyone else on the stage up with reading oral sex tips from Anderson’s book (video NSFW).
WE TV just announced their tribute to Bea, “WE Remember Bea,” in which they’ll run a marathon of Golden Girls tonight starting at 5 p.m. ET and Thursday starting at 9:30 p.m.
How will you remember Bea?