And My New Grandma, Bea Arthur
April 25, 2009 3 Comments
I just heard that Bea Arthur died today. She was the archetype of “old woman” to me when I was a kid, and Golden Girls seemed to be relentlessly on TV, along with Empty Nest. And then, in my teens she seemed younger– –a bawdy actress that wore draped clothes and knew how to make fun of men. I then assumed that she had been in her forties for Golden Girls, which made sense because her mother lived her with in that show…making her the youngest roommate perhaps stuck living with older ladies. There was one episode where Estelle Getty walks in on her in bed with her ex. I think it was the first time I saw traditionally unsexy people (older, unvarnished, no satin skivvies) in bed on television.
When I heard of her death a minute ago, I assumed she was perhaps in her sixties, but it turns out that she was an actual old woman now, 86.
She was in her fifties when she started in television. I like stories where successful people find other successes at a point when life could seem played out. Julia Child is another beacon of this kind. They were both tall women…
I will miss Bea Arthur. She was soothing for all of the ways she did not fit, and for all the ways that she made it not matter at all. She is the epitome of a handsome woman: full of confidence, presence, and self ease.
Some awesome Bea Arthur in action: