Bea Arthur was born Bernice Frankel on May 13, 1022 in Brooklyn New York. We know her as an award winning actress on stage and screen, winning many awards. She was also a singer appearing in many popular night clubs throughout New York.
During World War II she enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Women’s Reserve as a truck driver and typist. He was honorably discharged with the rank of Staff Sergeant in September of 1944 and was regarded as “one hell of a Marine!”
Always tall, the dark-haired girl reached her adult height of five feet nine and a half inches by the time she was twelve. She took refuge from self-consciousness in going to the movies, collecting pictures of Hollywood actors, and daydreaming that she was a small, blonde, beautiful screen star. Little did she realize then what lay ahead for her.
I think my favorite role of hers was Maude, in the Golden Girls. With this strong female lead she tackled a number of sociopolitical issues of the time. It was one of the first television characters that didn't shy away from talking about a vast range of sensitive topics like Vietnam War, domestic abuse, gay rights and abortion.
She was an avid reader, loved cooking, gardening. Collecting antique furniture, and her German Shepherds. Outside of acting she was a strong supporter of animal rights and a tireless activist for AIDS related causes. She left $300,000 in her will to the Ali Forney Center in New York to support homeless Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender youth.
She died at home in California, of cancer, at the age of 86. She left two sons and two granddaughters.