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Bea Arthur, `Golden Girls' Star, Dies At 86

The Huffington Post - In a 2008 interview with The Associated Press, Arthur said she was lucky to be discovered by TV after a long stage career, recalling with bemusement CBS executives asking about the new "girl."

"I was already 50 years old. I had done so much off-Broadway, on Broadway, but they said, `Who is that girl? Let's give her her own series,'" Arthur said.

"Maude" scored with television viewers immediately on its CBS debut in September 1972, and Arthur won an Emmy Award for the role in 1977.

The comedy flowed from Maude's efforts to cast off the traditional restraints that women faced, but the series often had a serious base. Her husband Walter (Bill Macy) became an alcoholic, and she underwent an abortion, which drew a torrent of viewer protests. Maude became a standard bearer for the growing feminist movement in America. Read more.

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