Monday, April 27, 2009

Quotes of the Day

Bea Arthur died over the weekend (tragedy!!), and Entertainment Weekly collected a bunch of quotes from those who knew her.

"I knew it would hurt, I just didn't know it would hurt this much. I'm so happy that she received her Lifetime Achievement Award while she was still with us, so she could appreciate that. She was such a big part of my life." -- Betty White

"Bea Arthur and I first met when we did 'Mame' together in 1965. She became and has remained 'My Bosom Buddy' ever since. I am deeply saddened by her passing, but also relieved that she is released from the pain. I spoke to Matt, her son, yesterday and I was aware that her time was imminent. She was a rare and unique performer and a dear, dear friend." -- Angela Lansbury

"I [first met] her after I'd seen [her in] an off-Broadway show called Three to Get Ready. The stage was dark, and she came out in the highest of heels and dressed to kill. She leaned against a street light and sang a torch song called 'Garbage'; it was about some guy who had treated her like garbage. It's a big song, and every time she hit the word 'garbage,' there was a laugh attack in the audience. I never forgot that. We became great friends and worked together a number of times, and then came [her episode on] All in the Family [as Maude]. That episode was still playing in New York when I got a call from [CBS exec] Fred Silverman saying 'That woman has got to have a series of her own.' There was no doubt this was a television star. Bea was the last one to take anything like that for granted. She never saw herself that way. But those of us working with her knew we were working with a golden comedic touch." -- Norman Lear, creator of Maude and All in the Family

"Bea could do anything. Bea was possibly the easiest person to write for. You never had to give Bea any direction. She always came in very well prepared, but she gave you so much more than what you wrote. Just her looks would get laughs. When I wrote the Golden Girls [pilot] script, in describing the character of Dorothy, I said 'a Bea Arthur type,' never imagining for a minute that Bea was available or would do it. We were fortunate enough to get her. That voice certainly was a signature. She was a commanding presence. But if she hadn't had that talent, if she hadn't had that timing, if she hadn't had the depth that she had as an actor, her height and her voice would have been meaningless. She was a force. I really can't imagine anyone taking her place. I don't intend to write another show, but if I wrote [another] 'Bea Arthur type,' I think we'd be very hard pressed to find one." -- Susan Harris, creator of The Golden Girls and writer of the famous abortion episode of Maude

"I think, in both of those shows [Maude and The Golden Girls], we really did change the perception of a woman's role. I don't think anybody thought that it was okay to be a feminist back when she was doing Maude. And I'm sure that [show] released a lot of inhibitions. I know The Golden Girls certainly did because I've got fan mail saying 'Thank you for allowing me to act and dress like I feel.' Because in those days, when you were over 50, you were supposed to be wearing certain types of clothes and behaving a certain way. And women were writing saying 'Thank you, thank you, thank you for the freedom, for the release, for the permission.' And I'm sure Bea got that same kind of fan mail, too...What's any great star's lasting contribution? What's Lucille Ball's? I don’t know how to put answers like that into words. I suppose perhaps the thing she did the best and the most of was make people laugh." -- Rue McClanahan let's celebrate what Bea Arthur did best!