I was gobsmacked this afternoon to read about the passing of one of my favourite performers of all time, the remarkable, unabashed, pillar of class, wit and poise, Ms. Beatrice Arthur. I don’t remember my world before Bea Arthur entered it as Dorothy Zbornak on The Golden Girls which as a very, very young child was my favourite television program. I used to watch it with my grandmother, and we still watch it sometimes on DVD or syndication, and The Golden Girls holds such a special place in my heart because it reminds me of how fortunate I was to have spent so much time growing up with my Nanny, who took care of me every day while my mother worked until I went to school, and then every day after school until I thought that was lame. And who, to be quite honest, still takes care of me because she is the most remarkable woman in the world.
The passing of Bea Arthur reminds me how fleeting this world can be, even if we live for 86 years and have a remarkable career, with fame and family and friends, and fans who adore us worldwide. It still seems so incredibly brief. I still want Bea to have more time- to hit Betty White upside the head again, to sing that Kurt Weill song again, to bite her fist again, to make me laugh again…
Bea Arthur, along with Betty White, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty were a shaping force, a defining light in my young life. There is no doubt in my mind that as Sesame Street and Mr. Dressup and Lamb Chops Play Along taught me about letters, numbers, colors, shapes and good manners, The Golden Girls was my foray into the theatre and it undoubtedly taught me to love comedy. It was the beginning of my appreciation and respect for performers and those who worked on a level of pure sophistication with tenacity, flair and intellect. Bea Arthur was one such artist.
I have often said that The Golden Girls is the only sitcom that is guaranteed to make me laugh out loud no matter how many times I have seen the episode. This is a testament to Beatrice Arthur. I wish there was something more I could do, in my own small, modest way, to honor this extraordinary woman. This blog is all I have, and so I wanted to pay homage to her, and to thank her so, so, very much for sharing her talents with the world, for making me laugh and touching my heart.
It always amazes me how people can touch your life, incredibly, they can change your life, and they can have absolutely no idea because they don’t know that you exist as you have only ever watched them on a television screen. Some people might say this is a byproduct of the post postmodern world, the propaganda of the technological age, but I think this speaks to the power of theatre. There is something so wonderful for me in the connection that art creates between the artist and the spectator and it is one I hope to never take for granted. Rest in peace, Bea Arthur, thank you for being a friend.

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