Sad news today, Rue McClanahan, whom I knew had been sick recently, passed away from a massive stroke. I was really hoping just a year ago that I would be seeing her in her own one-woman show right here in Chicago! She was talking about this event of her book, My First Five Husbands being turned into a theatre show at a Chicago Theatre gala that I was lucky enough to attend last year in May. Everyone was speculating that she would play herself, if all the contracts agreed, that is. :)
I was then lucky enough to kneel by her chair where she was sitting and talk with her for a while. She asked more questions about me than I could of her which I felt was very sweet and kind. I had met her 2 years prior at a book signing, but failed to mention that as I was so tongue-tied at the time, all I said was ‘it is such a pleasure to meet you’. So, getting the chance to meet her a second time and talk in a more intimate space was a dream!
We’ve been missing Estelle and Bea for quite some time, now we have to add Rue to that lineup. I’ve been watching more Maude lately than anything and Rue’s participation in that show made it the one of a kind that it is known for. Rue and Bea had a special connection in life and we get to enjoy it on screen!
We approach what would have been Bea’s 88th birthday tomorrow. However, just by clicking through the television, Bea is still celebrated daily… hourly even! Just within the past 24 hours I saw, Maude on MeTV (yes shows outside of season 1), Biography channel’s 2006 biography of Bea, Golden Girls on multiple channels, and with a little given time random showings of Malcam in the Middle and Futurama to name just a few will be showing shortly.
Thanks to Betty White’s recent resurge into pop culture, Bea has also been more on the people’s minds lately. I’m personally so excited for Betty and I’m sure Bea would be too. Win-Win.
Happy Birthday, Bea! May 13 will always be sketched into our minds forever!
It’s weird thinking about 2010. I already know that there won’t be any chance that I will get to surprise all of you with a new date, time and venue that Bea would be appearing at. Though I haven’t had the fortune of doing that in a while, she always managed to surprise us and every year I never gave up hope. That being said, we now have many years of her materials to sift through. Therefore, I declare, 2010 is the year to review the legacy of Bea Arthur.
I can’t think of a better way to start reviewing her life other than reading the words from a lucky guy that got to spend the last 6 years of his life with Bea. Not just for an occasional event here and there, but as her everyday personal assistant and eventually close friend. Read some of Dan Watt’s personal stories and what exciting project he has been working on (which he kicked off with Bea, herself!).
On another note, this website turns 10 years old next month! I never would have imagined all that would have come out of this website back then, but am so thankful for all the fans that I have met and the special opportunities that I have received from it.
As always, keep your fingers crossed in hopes of some new media releases this year. ie. Maude Season 2 – 6 and Bea Arthur on Broadway on DVD or 3-D Blu-ray ;)
I’m sure most of you have already seen this but wanted to post it just in case you had not. I’m a little behind as I am recovering from a cold so forgive me :)
This is a clip from an upcoming series by Merv Griffin, Lunching With A Legend, with Bea’s assistant Dan Watt via Insider. Hopefully, the full posting of the episode will appear on YouTube and/or at lunchingwithalegend.com eventually. Keep an eye out for it!!
On Monday, September 14th, fans and fellow celebrities gathered one more time to remember Bea Arthur. I wasn’t able to attend, however, have gathered up some links from news stories of the event. Also, heard from fellow fans who wanted to share their experiences.
Here is part of an email that I received from a fan, Rudy, who was able to attend and goes on to say ::
For me, as an Angela diehard particularly, the most moving moment was when, toward the end, she set up the playing of the clip of Bea on “Malcolm In the Middle,” which she described as a marvelous example of Bea’s magical touch she could bring to even a scene that was only four minutes long. Angela was the essence of restraint and professionalism all throughout the show until this moment – when she uttered the name of the show (“Malcolm In The Middle”) her voice suddenly buckled out. It made me start crying all over again. It was obvious that Angela meant to express her love for Bea by being the best damn host she could be. I’m absorbing old school professionalism like this while I can because before long it will be a fossil.
I’m very sorry that you did not get to come, but I’d trade the experience for what you had any time – seeing Bea.
Here are some news links for your enjoyment of the event ::
Directed by Mark Waldrop, “Celebrating Bea Arthur” will feature remembrances and performances from the late actress’s family and friends, including Adrienne Barbeau (“Maude” co-star), Zoe Caldwell, Billy Goldenberg (Arthur’s longtime accompanist), Sheldon Harnick (Fiddler on the Roof lyricist), Charlie Hauck (“Maude” head writer), Norman Lear (“Maude” producer), Clinton Leupp, Anne Meara, Rosie O’Donnell, Chita Rivera, Daryl Roth (Bea Arthur on Broadway producer), Jerry Stiller and Rue McClanahan (“The Golden Girls”).
New York, NY….The Ali Forney Center (AFC), the nation’s largest organization dedicated to homeless LGBT youth, will formally announce its plan to name a residence for LGBT youth in honor of Bea Arthur at her memorial service on September 14th at the Majestic Theater in New York City. The Ali Forney Center is working with a group of Bea’s close friends and colleagues to plan the memorial service…
“The date for Bea Arthur’s memorial has finally been set. The show will take place at the Majestic Theater in New York on Monday, September 14, 2009, at 1 pm. The afternoon will be hosted by Bea’s Bosom Buddy, Angela Lansbury who will be joined by Bea’s close friends, both professional and personal, as well as family.
The program will be a celebration of Bea’s life and career. All are invited and admission is free. Further information on the event is expected to follow shortly.”
I just received an email from Jessica who reminded me of a few things. She and most of us have May 13th etched in our memories as an exciting day, Bea’s birthday. Many fans took the time to write Bea on her birthday and enjoyed doing so. Today many fans are somewhat lost in what to do with themselves. Some are feeling the same emotion as in losing their own grandmother and yes, it is ok. Jessica also linked two videos off of YouTube that I would like to share with you too. One I had seen, one I had not. They are both quite special. Especially if you got the chance to see her one-woman show… memories come flooding back! Hopefully, these videos will give you something to do today that will bring a smile!
At artattackfoundation.org, fans of Ms. Arthur's can find genuine and authentic items autographed and donated by Bea and her friends that are being sold on ebay for this worthy charity. It is a good cause, raising money for student scholarships in the performing arts.