In being in the business for so long, I’ve done everything but rodeo and porn.”
Over the years, many women have made people laugh and have left huge imprints in both the world of comedy and the world at large, and one of those fine ladies was Beatrice Arthur. Born May 13, 1922, in New York City from Jewish parents Phillip and Rebecca Frankel, Bea Arthur
was widely known for her many television roles, including that of Maude Findlay on All in the Family its spinoff, Maude, and Dorothy Zbornak on The Golden Girls.
Through her television roles, Arthur would gain a place in the women’s liberation movement. Her characters regularly dealt with the issues like spousal abuse, alcoholism, drug use, mental illness, abortion, death, same sex marriage, and teen pregnancy. The characters offered commentaries on the Vietnam War and the Nixon Administration, at a time when questioning authority or defying conformity was met with scorn. Her roles were groundbreaking, providing women with a voice about social issues, and proving to them that women could be as successful and as outspoken as their male counterparts.
On top of her television roles and appearences on theater and on Broadway, Bea Arthur was an activist in her daily life. She fought for animal rights and voiced her disdain for the fur industry. She established a shelter that offered guidance, warmth, food, and love for homeless and LGBTQ teens. She is also credited as one of the first members of the Women’s Reserve during World War II, where she also served as both a typist and a truck driver, and has stated that she enjoys using a “.22 caliber rifle and a bow and arrow“.