Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Beatrice Arthur - 'Maude'

Beatrice Arthur began her acting career as a stage actress, in the 1940s. She appeared in several off-Broadway and Broadway productions. She eventually made her way to tv, in the 1950s, and appeared as a guest on many tv shows.

It was in 1972 when she became a household name, as the star of the sitcom "Maude", in which she played a liberal married-but-independent woman living in a suburb of NYC. The 'Maude' character was introduced on "All in the Family" as the cousin of 'Edith Bunker', whose husband was ultra-conservative 'Archie Bunker'. "Maude" was a very popular entry in the tv sitcom genre, and continued on for several seasons.

In 1985, Ms. Arthur again was a star of another popular sitcom, "The Golden Girls", on which she played a retired schoolteacher, Dorothy.

I wrote to Ms. Arthur in between her high-popularity tv years, around 1981. I did not have a photo to send, so I requested one, and she sent this, within a month.

Several years earlier, during my 1973 vacation in Los Angeles, one event I attended was not on my itinerary. I saw signs advertising a fund raising day for the humane society, Actors and Others for Animals. It was held on the grounds of the Burbank Studios, and several celebrities were in attendance. I brought along my camera, and snapped whatever photos I could "sneak". I say "sneak" because there was a charge of 50 cents to take a photo of a celebrity, and I think $2 for an autograph. In 1973, that was a lot of money and I just didn't have much with me, especially because I didn't know about this event until the last minute.

One of the celebrities attending was Beatrice Arthur, and as she sat at a table, signing her autograph, I took the photo below.

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