I am so sad. Emmy Award winner Bea Arthur, most famously known for playing Dorothy Zbornak on the 1980s hit NBC series The Golden Girls, has passed away at 86.
Bea Arthur was one of the legends of her time. Her deep voice and natural talent for delivering a zinging line – often targeted at her housemates Rose Nylund (Betty White) and Blanche Devereaux (Rue McLanahan) – made her a television star unlike any other. While I never had the privilege of watching Maude, the role which made her famous and won for her her first Emmy, I grew up enjoying her and Estelle Getty, who played the role of Sophia Petrillo, Dorothy’s mother, deliver sarcastic line after sarcastic line. Together with Matthew Perry’s Chandler on Friends, Dorothy and Sophia created the template for which I deliver my own day-to-day zingers at work and home.
Blanche: Rose and I are taking a dirty dancing class.
Blanche: It’s become quite popular since that movie came out.
Rose: What movie is that?
Dorothy: “Lawrence of Arabia,” Rose.
[Sophia wants a new TV, but Dorothy plans to use the money to pave the driveway over]
Sophia: And what will I do when every other old lady on the block is watching The Cosby Show?
Dorothy: Well, ma, I guess you can sit on the new driveway and hope an amusing black family comes along.
Sophia: Please, I’m in my twilight years.
Dorothy: You’re in the Twilight ZONE!
Ah, Bea Arthur is love. Godspeed, Beatrice. Thanks for the memories.
(More delightful Golden Girls lines here.)