From the Times:
Beatrice Arthur, the deep-voiced actress whose razor-sharp delivery of comedy lines made her a TV star in the hit show “The Golden Girls", died yesterday. She was 86.From the New York Times:
Arthur died peacefully at her Los Angeles home with her family at her side, family spokesman Dan Watt said. She had been suffering from cancer.
“She was a brilliant and witty woman,” said Watt, who was Arthur’s personal assistant for six years. “Bea will always have a special place in my heart.”
Arthur first appeared in the landmark comedy series “All in the Family" as Edith Bunker’s outspoken, liberal cousin, Maude Finley. She proved a perfect foil for blue-collar bigot Archie Bunker (Carroll O’Connor), and their blistering exchanges were so entertaining that producer Norman Lear created a spin-off series for Arthur’s character.
"Golden Girls" (1985-1992) was another groundbreaking comedy, finding surprising success in a television market increasingly skewed toward a younger, product-buying audience.
Bea Arthur, who used her husky voice, commanding stature and flair for the comic jab to create two of the most endearing battle-axes in television history, Maude Findlay in the groundbreaking situation comedy “Maude” and Dorothy Zbornak in “The Golden Girls,” died Saturday at her home in Los Angeles. She was coy about her age, and sources give various dates for her birth, but a family spokesman, Dan Watt, said in an e-mail message she was 86.