Beatrice Arthur, the star of the hit shows Maude and The Golden Girls, died Saturday at age 86.
Arthur died peacefully at her Los Angeles home early Saturday with her family at her side, a family spokesperson tells the Associated Press. The actress, who had cancer, would have turned 87 on May 13.
Arthur first portrayed the outspoken and liberal Maude Finley in the Norman Lear comedy series All in the Family. So much did she impress CBS executives that they soon fast-tracked Maude, a spin-off for her brassy character.
Maude debuted in 1972; Arthur won an Emmy for the role five years later. During the show's run, Maude famously underwent an abortion, creating a firestorm of controversy and making the character a symbol of the feminist movement.
In 1985, seven years after Maude signed off, Arthur resurfaced as one of the Golden Girls in an NBC comedy that would go on to earn 10 Emmys, including two for best comedy series and individual kudos for Arthur and costars Estelle Getty (who passed away last July), Betty White and Rue McClanahan.
Arthur's accolades also include a Tony Award in 1966, for her portrayal of Vera Charles opposite Angela Lansbury's Mame.
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