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Actress Bea Arthur Dead at 86
Actress Bea Arthur, known best for her iconic television turns as The Golden Girls' Dorothy Zbornak and the titular Maude, has died, the Associated Press is reporting. She was 86. "Arthur died peacefully at her Los Angeles home with her family at her side, family spokesman Dan Watt said. She had cancer, Watt said, declining to give further details." Born Bernice Frankel in New York City in 1922, began her acting career working in many off Broadway productions in the 1940s and 50s. Arthur, singled out for being tall and deep-voiced, first played Maude on the groundbreaking series All in the Family, and then resumed the role when the character was spun-off into her own series. Maude went down in history for depicting an older, married woman's decision to have an abortion.
In the early 1980s, Arthur embarked on a television journey that would become an enduring pop culture favorite; as the divorced substitute teacher Dorothy Zbornak she shared a home with two other single women and her mother on The Golden Girls. Bea Arthur was inducted into Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame in 2008, and along with surviving castmates Betty White and Rue McLanahan (Estelle Getty died shortly after) accepted TV Land's Pop Culture Icon award for The Golden Girls. In recent years, Arthur remained performing, doing some television guest appearances and touring in her one-woman stage show.
She was married and divorced twice, and with her second husband, Gene Saks, adopted two sons, Matthew and Daniel.