When I was a young teenager, I used to watch The Golden Girls sort of obsessively. (So I didn't get out much. And?)
At the age of 14, I was gawky, tall, and had already cultivated a dark sense of humor that involved writing snappy comebacks to deliver to the popular girls at school. (Of course, I only ended up delivering them in my mind, not out loud -- I was too shy for that.)
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So, given all of this, naturally I identified with the tall, gawky, snarky Dorothy Zbornak on The Golden Girls, played by the incredible Bea Arthur. Watching her made me feel less alone and somehow more normal. Plus, she wasn't afraid to tell people what was what. I know it sounds weird that a 14-year-old girl would gain confidence by watching a sixty-something woman managing men and menopause in Miami, but I did.
Sadly, Bea passed away this past weekend at the age of 86, and yesterday, as I watched Sunday Morning re-air an interview with her from a few years back, I found myself tearing up.
Bea was a talented Broadway actress long before transitioning into television (All together now: "And then there's Maude!"). I was a little too young for Maude, but Dorothy Zbornak came along at just the right time. When asked whether she feared being typecast as an outspoken broad, Bea once answered, "Look -- I'm 5-feet-9, I have a deep voice and I have a way with a line. What can I do about it?"
She was witty, funny, a great singer and dancer, and above all someone who loved what she did. The world is a little less funny today without her in it. From the 14-year-old who still lives inside me, I want to say, thank you Bea Arthur, for making us laugh. You were one-of-a-kind.