Beatrice "Bea" Arthur (May 13, 1922 – April 25, 2009) was an American actress, comedienne and singer whose career spanned seven decades. Arthur achieved fame as the character Maude Findlay on the 1970s sitcoms All in the Family and Maude, and as Dorothy Zbornak on the 1980s sitcom The Golden Girls, winning Emmy Awards for both roles. A stage actress both before and after her television success, she won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her performance as Vera Charles in the original cast of Mame (1966).
Arthur was born Bernice Frankel to Jewish parents Philip and Rebecca Frankel in New York City on May 13, 1922. In 1933 her family moved to Cambridge, Maryland, where her parents operated a women's clothing shop. She attended Linden Hall High School, an all girls school in Lititz, Pennsylvania, before enrolling in the now-defunct Blackstone College for Girls in Blackstone, Virginia, where she was active in drama productions. During World War II she spent 30 months in the Marine Corps, where she was one of the first members of the Women’s Reserve and spent time as a typist and a truck driver despite publicly denying any military service. When she enlisted,