Bea Arthur, best known for her roles on shows like the "Golden Girls" and for her devastating axe kick, passed away peacefully in her sleep this weekend, following a long, courageous battle with Colombian drug lords. She was 86.
Born in an era where the average television was the size of two horses and prohibitively expensive, Arthur was forced to wait several years for her big break perfecting her skills on the useless theatrical stage. Her first television role was on All in the Family, where she portrayed Maude Findlay, a strident feminist and counterpoint to the conservative Archie Bunker. America was so delighted at seeing a television character not actively throwing rocks at Pakistanis, that CBS executives immediately created a new show for this character immediately. Maude, as the show was moronically called, was the exact antithesis of All in the Family, and fearlessly explored liberal issues of the day, like whether long hair was acceptable on men who perform abortions.
In 1978, Arthur had a small role in the Star Wars Christmas Special, where she played a bartender who sings a down-tempo tune about drinking to an enormous hamster--at the time another huge leap forward for women's rights.
Arthur's most famous role was that of Dorothy on Golden Girls, where she shared a house with her elderly mother and two friends. The show was celebrated for its open discussions of senior's sexuality. Dorothy's famous catchphrase "I'd let that slam me for a dollar" caught the public imagination in the summer of 1988, and would later become the official slogan of the Dukakis presidential campaign.
In private life, Arthur was a well known activist for animals' rights and a promoter of underground fights in high-end Los Angeles area night spots. A committed method actor, Arthur--famous for her portrayal of old women--would often stay in character as an old woman for years at a time, much to the delight of friends and family.
In many respects, Arthur was the exact opposite of the typical Cracked reader, in that she was a woman, older than 35 and not constantly masturbating at a low level. Beyond that, Arthur came from a different comedy-era entirely, having honed her skills on the stage, working with archaic concepts like "timing" and "delivery" and without the aid of modern comedy tools like Photoshop or Transformers references. Put more plainly, she was damned funny in a way we're not--and we pour some malt-comedy-ale (Zima?) on the ground to salute her.
Here's an example which neatly intersects Arthur's talents with the ass-jokes that Cracked readers desperately crave: her reading of the sodomy related sections of Pamela Anderson's semi-autobiographical Star Struck during a roast of the aforementioned "author."
Arthur is survived by three children, who are currently working to resurrect her in robotic form, as per her final wishes.