I thought I didn’t have anything to add to the obituary notices for the late Bea Arthur being run in the mainstream press, but then I saw her star in this internet Sex and the City parody and was reminded why she was so damn cool. The very first time I saw SATC, I pegged it as a younger version of The Golden Girls, and I wasn’t the only one who saw the parallels. How nice that Bea Arthur got the chance to play Carrie Bradshaw; my favorite moment is when she pours Metamucil into her cosmo.

Bea Arthur was already past 50 and gray-haired when she became a TV star. That scenario sounds unthinkable now, but it was pretty unthinkable back then too, and it still happened. Arthur’s tough, no-nonsense attitude helped make her a star, but she also had a finely honed sense of comic timing and an enviable set of skills that served her well in Broadway musical theater. Certain types of men found her terrifying, and not just because of her height and her, uh, lack of conventional feminine charms. Her disinterest in flirting with an audience was accompanied by a ferocious intelligence. She was smart enough to detect pretension and insecurity, and she was ruthless in picking them apart, even in her bosom buddies. Fearsome qualities, yet she always had a healthy sense of humor about herself; look no further than that SATC parody for proof of that. She made a staunch and loyal friend, and that (and some of the sharpest writing in any sitcom of the 1980s) was why so many TV viewers of all ages wanted to spend Saturday nights with her.

Farewell, Ms. Arthur. If Carrie Bradshaw or any of the rest of us can age as well as you did, we can look forward to our golden years.

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  1. God rest and keep Bea Arthur! I was never a fan of “The Golden Girls” (septuagenarian porn is not my shot of rye), but I watched “Maude” growing up as a pre- and grade-schooler. I laughed my behind off — even when she made Nixon jokes and I didn’t know who Nixon was. Her timing and delivery was that pitch-perfect.

    I loved that she owned everything about herself that the idiots snickered at. She was tall, loud, and masculine. She’d sooner pull your balls off and model them as earrings than shake your hand. But that throaty cackle went all the way to the bank along with her fat TV paychecks.

    According to musician Rufus Wainwright, she didn’t suffer fawning gay fans gladly, either. Wainwright once met her at some L.A. function and, in his pre-sober state, began gushing about what a childhood influence she was. Before he was able to finish, she declared, “Young man, I am not your fucking grandmother.” Tee-hee!