Bea Arthur has always been a favorite of mine for many reasons. First and foremost because she was so damn funny in everything she did. Sure there was All in the Family and Maude and The Golden Girls. But there was also Amanda’s, an unfortunate 1980s attempt to do an American version of Fawlty Towers. The show was awful and only lasted 13 episodes but Bea was consistently hilarious. The last time I saw her on the tube was a few years ago when she played Larry David’s mother in a Curb Your Enthusiasm dream sequence. Who else could play Larry’s mother. (That was a rhetorical question, hence the absence of a question mark.)
My friend Marty loved Bea Arthur more than anyone I know. He lived in Miami when The Golden Girls were there. He became friends with many in the cast and crew. I remember taking a tour of his apartment after he moved to San Francisco. On his bedstand was a beautifully-framed photo of Bea. I knew he was fond of her but I had to ask him why she was on his bedstand. “It’s my trick photo,” he replied. My expression told him I didn’t understand. “It’s simple,” he explained, “if someone spends the night, wakes up in the morning, sees the photo and asks if that’s my mother … I know he’s only a trick.”
Marty could never love someone who didn’t know who Bea Arthur was. Who could.