Beatrice Arthur, the tall, deep-voiced actress whose razor-sharp delivery of comedy lines made her a TV star in the hit shows Maude and The Golden Girls, died today at age of 86. Arthur, who had cancer, died peacefully at her Los Angeles home with her family at her side. “She was a brilliant and witty woman,” said her personal assistant.
Born Bernice Frankel in New York, Arthur first appeared on All in the Family as Edith Bunker's outspoken, liberal cousin, Maude Finley—then spun the character off on her own show. She dazzled TV audiences again in the 1980s with The Golden Girls. In recent years, Arthur made guest appearances on shows including Curb Your Enthusiasm and Malcolm in the Middle. (Read more Bea Arthur stories.)