Bea Arthur --Tv's Maude -- Dies At 86
Bea Arthur, best known for her Emmy Award-winning starring roles on the sitcoms Maude and the Golden Girls , died Saturday of cancer at age 86. Writing about her death, USA Today TV critic Robert Bianco wrote "There are stars who, when they leave, you realize how far we've come. With Arthur, sad to say, you realize how far we've regressed; there's no way Maude or Golden Girls gets on the air on any of the broadcast networks today. In an era in which networks cater to young viewers and kowtow to advertisers, everything about those shows would be a no-go, from the age of their stars to their no-holds-barred, no-sacred-cows style. Maude had an abortion. Wherever one stands on the issue, we can all probably agree that no sitcom today would dare take that kind of risk." Making the abortion episode even riskier It aired in November, 1972, two months before the Supreme Court handed down the Roe vs. Wade decision. "I think we made television a little more adult," Arthur herself once remarked.