Hello again, I’m finally paying attention to my WordPress world. I’m wrestling with my 3rd book on the TV Sitcom Maude, which means I have not been able to share much here. When I wrote my first book about my father I did not know as much about him as I did after I wrote the book. But he was my father, and over the course of his life a lot was written about him in the newspapers because he was a rising star in Entertainment and people liked him as a person. I learned about his personal character through articles and of course, through my mom. In writing about Maude I am wanting to get to know more about the person who played the character, Bea Arthur, to understand how Arthur was able to so completely BE Maude.
In an article in the Nyak New York Journal, 1974, titled “No, I’m Not Maude”, she stated: “Although I can rant and rave as much as Maude does when the need arises. I don’t have her persistence. If someone calls my bluff and yells back at me. I usually back down. In all honesty. I’m afraid the tiger in my tank is really a pussycat. And I can’t identify too closely with the women’s lib movement, either, because I’ve always felt liberated.” Arthur, when she is at home, likes browsing in antique shops, watching old movies on TV, and doing family activities, dogs and all.
In a way, I identify with Bea Arthur. Because as I’ve listened to her interviews and talked with people who met her she does seem rather complex. I came across a 1968 article that was written while Arthur and her husband Gene Sax were making a movie titled “A Mother’s Kisses,” she was urged to accept the
leading role. She said yes — if her husband could direct. “After all,” she says in her familiar tones of authoritative femininity, “I’m the power behind the throne.” So it seems that though she is a pussycat, she also has an authoritative side, according to the person who witnessed her “authoritative femininity.”
Bea Arthur as Maude was Maude to her viewers, she received many letters attesting to that fact. After reading her statement in that 1974 article I believe she knew that maybe a bit of her own personality was injected into her character, this is what she was quoted as saying: “You see, it was my intention from the beginning of the series to show that there is a soft spot or two in Maude’s armor of steel, and its’ gratifying to know that viewers see her as I do.”
I could see these two personality traits when Cousin Maude was introduced into All in the Family. She was asked by Edith to come and help with the family as they were all down with the flu. Archie did not like Cousin Maude and sent her a letter telling her not to come. She came. At the beginning of the episode, while comforting Edith, she looks at Archie with a scathing look and says: “MAUdie is here.” Towards the end of the episode, she has a sweet smile on her face while assuring Archie that “Maudie is here.”
Bea Arthur, a consummate actor. She brought her all to Maude. Looks like I am going to have to bring my all to the writing of my take on the sitcom. Thanks for hanging in here with me. You are all a part of my “becoming” a writer.
Thanks, for stopping by 🙂