Golden Girls legend Bea Arthur dies

Actress Bea Arthur, best remembered as one of the stars of the classic 80s sitcom The Golden Girls, has died aged 86.

Arthur, who played Dorothy Zbornak in the show, had been suffering from cancer. Her personal assistant Dan Watt said she had passed away peacefully at home.

Her death comes nine months after her Golden Girls co-star Estelle Getty died aged 84. Getty starred as Arthur’s onscreen mother Sophia Petrllo on the show.

Arthur – who was born Bernice Frankel in New York in 1922, first found fame on the small screen in the sitcom All In the Family, with her character Maude proving so popular that she was later given her own spin-off series.

She was renowned for her height and her deep voice, as well as a talent for comedy which turned her into a TV star – but she was also well-known as a stage actress.

Dorothy, her character in The Golden Girls, was also hugely popular. The series followed the lives of four older, retired women sharing an apartment in Miami.

Nicknamed ‘Miami Nice’ because of its gentle humour, it ran from 1985-1992. As with All In The Family, the show saw Arthur playing a character who was acid-tongued and domineering, but the actress remained unconcerned by such similarities.

“Look, I’m five feet nine, I have a deep voice and I have a way with a line,” she once said.

“What can I do about it? I can’t stay home waiting for something different. I think it’s a total waste of energy worrying about typecasting.”