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"I worked in so many areas. I mean, I used to get a laugh when I said the only things I haven't done are rodeo and porno."
―Bea Arthur[src]

Bea Arthur (born Bernice Frankel; May 13, 1922April 25, 2009) was an American actress known for her deep voice and sharp delivery of comedic lines who gained fame acting on Broadway, in television, and in films throughout her long career. One highlight of her carrer, Maude, was a show of her own which ran for six successful seasons.

In 1978, Arthur was invited to appear on The Star Wars Holiday Special, a holiday-themed variety show set in the Star Wars universe that was attempting to capitalize off of the success of the wildly popular film of the previous year, Star Wars. Arthur portrayed Ackmena, a gruff bartender at the Mos Eisley Cantina whose rowdy patrons refused to obey a planet-wide curfew imposed by the Galactic Empire. Ackmena resorted to singing the song "Goodnight, But Not Goodbye," which caused them to waltz out the door.

Arthur found further success on television when she played the pragmatic Dorothy Zbornak on the 1980s sitcom The Golden Girls, a very popular show throughout its seven year run. After falling ill from cancer, Arthur passed away in her home in 2009. She was remembered fondly by friends, family, and the Broadway community.

BiographyEdit

The Star Wars Holiday SpecialEdit

"It was a wonderful time, but I had no idea it was even a part of the whole Star Wars thing."
"Well, that song was great."
"Well, thanks. It's odd. I've gotten so many letters and requests for autographed photos from that thing. I just remember singing to bunch of people with funny heads."
―Bea Arthur, interviewed by the Portland Mercury[src]
Justonemoreroundfriend

Arthur sang to a group of intoxicated aliens in The Star Wars Holiday Special.

As the Emmy-winning lead of one of television's most popular shows, Arthur was a star.[5] In 1978, she was invited by[6] Ken and Mitzie Welch,[7] the composers of a song called "Goodnight, But Not Goodbye," to sing it on a television program called The Star Wars Holiday Special.[6] Star Wars had been a wildly successful film released the previous year,[8] and a holiday-themed variety show was being produced to capitalize off of its success.[9] Arthur played the role of Ackmena, a gruff and assertive bartender working the night shift at the Mos Eisley Cantina, who was forced to close down the bar after the Galactic Empire imposed a planet-wide curfew. When the patrons refused to leave, she resorted to singing "Goodnight, But Not Goodbye," which prompted everyone present to waltz out the door.[3]

Arthur's scene proved to be a lengthy shoot,[7] spanning twenty-four hours,[10] but she nevertheless enjoyed working on the special, even though she was unaware that it was part of the larger Star Wars franchise. Years later, she would recall singing to a group of people with funny heads,[6] as the various cantina patrons had been aliens from throughout the Star Wars galaxy.[3] The special itself received good reviews at the time,[11] but ultimately came to be almost universally panned by later reviewers.[12][13][14][15] Arthur's musical performance has been cited as one of its high points,[16] despite being considered just as bizarre as the rest of the production.[14][7] Arthur's role led to scores of letters and requests for autographed photos from Star Wars fans throughout the proceeding years.[6]

DeathEdit

"All in all, I've had a damn good life."
―Bea Arthur[src]

After becoming ill from cancer, she passed away at her home on April 25, 2009,[1][17] and her body was cremated.[18] Arthur was remembered fondly by many of her friends and co-stars, including Angela Lansbury, Betty White, and Adrienne Barbeau,[19][20] and the Broadway community paid tribute to her life by dimming the marquees of New York City's Broadway theatre district for one minute on April 28, 2009.[21]

FilmographyEdit

Star WarsEdit

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Wookieepedia has 6 images related to Bea Arthur.
YearTitleRoleOther notes
1978The Star Wars Holiday SpecialAckmenaTelevision

OtherEdit

YearTitleRoleOther notes
1951Once Upon a TuneTelevision
1951Studio One in HollywoodRadio
1953Kraft Television TheatreActressTelevision
1955Max Liebman Presents: KaleidoscopeGuestTelevision
1956Caesar's HourRegularTelevision
1956Washington SquareTelevision
1958The Seven Lively ArtsHostessTelevision
1958OmnibusUgly WitchTelevision
1958Hallmark Hall of FameMs. AbercrombieTelevision
1959That Kind of WomanUncredited
1963The Sid Caesar ShowRegularTelevision
1970Lovers and Other StrangersBea Vecchio
1971All in the FamilyMaude FindlayTelevision
1972MaudeMaude FindlayTelevision
1974MameVera Charles
1977Rowan & Martin's Laugh-InTelevision
1979The Mary Tyler Moore HourTelevision
1980SoapAngelTelevision
1980The Bea Arthur SpecialHerselfTelevision
1981History of the World, Part IDole office clerkUncredited
1983Amanda'sAmanda CartwrightTelevision
1984a.k.a. PabloTelevision
1984P.O.P.Rosalyn GordonTelevision
1985The Golden GirlsDorothy ZbornakTelevision
1988My First LoveJean MillerTelevision
1989Empty NestDorothy ZbornakTelevision
1992The Golden PalaceDorothy ZbornakTelevision
1995For Better or WorseBeverly Makeshift
1996Judge JudyHerselfTelevision
1997Dave's WorldMel BloomTelevision
1999Emily of New MoonThe VoiceTelevision
2000Malcolm in the MiddleMrs. WhiteTelevision
2000Enemies of LaughterPaul's Mother
2001FuturamaFemputer (voice)Television
2005Curb Your EnthusiasmLarry's MotherTelevision

BibliographyEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Weber, Bruce (2017-04-25). Bea Arthur, Star of Two TV Comedies, Dies at 86. The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Archived from the original on April 9, 2020. Retrieved on April 9, 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 YouTube Bea Arthur Pt I/5 on the dingdong131 YouTube channel (backup link)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 The Star Wars Holiday Special
  4. Bea Arthur – Broadway Cast & Staff. Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on April 9, 2020. Retrieved on April 9, 2020.
  5. YouTube Bea Arthur Pt 4/5 on the dingdong131 YouTube channel
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Gardner, Will (2005-10-13). The Bea Arthur Interview. Portland Mercury. Index Newspapers LLC. Archived from the original on April 9, 2020. Retrieved on April 9, 2020.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 DiGiacomo, Frank (2008-12-22). The Han Solo Comedy Hour!. Vanity Fair. Condé Nast. Archived from the original on January 13, 2020. Retrieved on April 10, 2020.
  8. Empire of Dreams
  9. SWicon Holiday Special: Script and Directors on StarWars.com (content now obsolete; backup link) (Filmfax magazine #69/70)
  10. Millar, Natalie. Starlog Number 19, February 1979: "'Star Wars' Invades TV"
  11. THR Staff (2014-11-17). 'The Star Wars Holiday Special': THR's 1978 Review. The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media, LLC. Archived from the original on May 7, 2019. Retrieved on April 10, 2020.
  12. Holiday Special Multimedia. StarWarsHolidaySpecial.com. Archived from the original on August 27, 2018. Retrieved on August 27, 2018.
  13. SWicon Star Wars: Episode II | Part 9: Bucket Head on StarWars.com (content now obsolete; backup link)
  14. 14.0 14.1 Liebenson, Donald (2008-11-16). May the farce be with you. Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times Communications LLC. Archived from the original on November 15, 2019. Retrieved on April 10, 2020.
  15. SWInsider "Jawa's Corner"—Star Wars Insider 94
  16. SWInsider "I Have a Bad Feeling About This!"—Star Wars Insider 106
  17. Two-time Emmy Award winner Bea Arthur dead at 86. CNN International. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (2009-04-27). Archived from the original on November 23, 2019. Retrieved on April 10, 2020.
  18. Hufford, Bob (2009-04-25). Bea Arthur. Find a Grave. Ancestry. Archived from the original on December 27, 2019. Retrieved on April 10, 2020.
  19. Angela Lansbury 'Deeply Saddened' By Bea Arthur's Passing. ETonline. CBS Interactive Inc. (2009-04-25). Archived from the original on August 18, 2010. Retrieved on April 11, 2020.
  20. Eng, Joyce (2009-04-27). Friends and Colleagues Remember Beatrice Arthur. TV Guide. CBS Interactive Inc. Archived from the original on September 29, 2019. Retrieved on April 11, 2020.
  21. Broadway Plans Tribute To Bea Arthur. ETonline. CBS Interactive Inc. (2009-04-28). Archived from the original on August 20, 2010. Retrieved on April 11, 2020.

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