A devoted fan remembers a ‘Golden’ friend


There have always been signs throughout my life indicating that I should have been born as an 80-year-old woman. Several of these signs include (but are not limited to) my resistance to eat spicy foods because of persistent heartburn, the constant aches and pains in my joints and my inability to relate to anyone other than the
four characters on “The Golden Girls.”

Since I was a wee tot, I have always been drawn to those four women. It was the sarcasm, the raunchiness and the general relatablility to each of their characters.
 I never felt like I had to be over-the-hill to appreciate what they were going through.

And the entertainment world just lost one of the best, if not the best, comedic actresses – Bea Arthur, who played the sarcastic, witty, divorced substitute school teacher Dorothy Zbornak on “The Golden Girls.”

Arthur was 86. She died peacefully, according to her publicist, but she had been suffering from cancer.

Arthur was known long before “The Golden Girls.” She was successful on Broadway, winning a Tony Award for her work as Vera Charles, a character in the play “Mame.”
She played the sarcastic liberal Maude Findlay in the show “Maude,” a spin-off from the 1970s TV sitcom “All In The Family.”

Throughout her work on “Maude” and “The Golden Girls,” Arthur was nominated for 11 Emmy Awards and won twice, in 1977 and again in 1988.

The news of her death was more difficult to deal with considering that Estelle Getty, who played Arthur’s old, forgetful, cantankerous mother Sophia Petrillo on “The Golden Girls,” died in July 2008 after a long battle with Lewy Body dementia.

Getty and Arthur were, at least to me, the best comedic duo on TV. From the very first episode of the “The Golden Girls,” Getty and Arthur played off each other so well that it was kind of hard not to laugh.

I was in elementary school when I was first introduced to the show. At that time, I’m sure I laughed along with the audience, as I was far too young to even comprehend the jokes.

As I got older, I continued to watch. I used to go home every night and wait until 1 a.m. just to watch reruns on Lifetime.

All this love for a show that dealt with aging, sex, friendship and life in general made me purchase five out of the seven seasons within a three-week time span.

It was easy to appreciate a show so culturally and politically advanced for its time, but when a comedic force dies, you learn to grow a much greater appreciation for what’s in front of you.

The show is riddled with laughter and heart-filling moments.

Even as a 21-year-old college student, I don’t need to be older to feel the burden of my parents, oversexed friends or those people who are just too dumb to live.

For a show that ended more than 15 years ago, the effects of Arthur’s character still linger and will continue to do so for a very long time. I couldn’t have imagined growing up with someone funnier.

Thank you for being a friend, Bea.

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