I have very little to add to the reams of praise that have been written this week about the late Beatrice Arthur, star of television’s “Maude” and later “The Golden Girls.” She was that rare actress who found fame and success in mid-life, and it was well deserved.
Perhaps because of her height (5’9”, a rarity in the 1940s) and her strong features, Arthur’s unusual beauty was overlooked by casting directors. However, she met her husband, Gene Saks, in 1950 and worked consistently off-Broadway, including the 1954 original version of The Threepenny Opera.
Between jobs she sang in supper clubs, and appeared on Broadway, particularly the smash hit “Mame” in 1966, directed by her husband. For the part of Vera Charles, Mame's best friend, she received a Tony Award.