Show Business: Big Bea

Once upon the days of the Depression, the twelve-year-old daughter of a clothier in Cambridge, Md., dreamed of becoming a star—"a very small, blonde movie star." But the little girl was 5 ft.

9½ in. tall and most definitely brunette, and she grew up into a towering 5-ft. 11-in. handsome woman with the voice of a diesel truck in second gear. Last year that imposing, now graying, woman with the small blonde ingénue inside marched onto the nation's television screens as Maude. It took fate 40-odd years to get around to her, but Bea Arthur is finally a star.

If Actress Arthur is...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!