Thursday, 30 April 2009

Bea Arthur - RIP

I was very sorry to hear about the passing of Bea Arthur last week. Yes I watched the Golden Girls; it was part of the new gay man lexicon , so was unavoidable. But there was so much more to her, which I am finding out about only now. For example I never knew about her long running series 'Maude' which was her first big break on TV.

I was reintroduced to her some years ago when, whilst channel hopping one evening, I came across an episode of 'Malcolm in the Middle' where she played Dewey's babysitter. The episode was a two hander, not all the usual manic rep, just Dewey played by Erik Per Sullivan and his babysitter played by Bea Arthur - it was magical.

I have just found a clip of this wonderful piece of theatre which culminates in them dancing to Fernando and Bea being taken off in an ambulance - please go and look. She won an award for the piece.

When I heard last week I had a look on amazon for things of interest relating to Bea Arthur and I saw that she had done a one woman show on Broadway a few years ago. It is a very tried and tested format, some would say tired and tested, of songs and anecdotes, but with the right actor it can still be lots of wonderful fun. And this one was - great stories and great songs.

At one point she is talking about working with Tallulah Bankhead and they talk about a gay colleague. Bea tells the story of what Tallulah said - 'Let’s face it Beatrice, there’s a touch of the homosexual in all of us. It’s not the cock and it’s not the twat, it’s the eyes don’t you know and sometimes the smell of lilac’.

So there you go. Rest in peace and well done everybody.

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