LOS ANGELES TIMES: “God will get you for that, Walter.” Nobody could do more with these words than Beatrice Arthur as Maude Findlay on the marital warpath. She could slingshot them in fury or release them in a chilling deadpan, but however she delivered them you could be sure they’d hit their mark with a prizefighter’s pop. All the tributes that will be lavished on Arthur, who died Saturday at 86, will extol her impeccable comic timing. Her ability to detonate a joke, to momentarily harness a punch line before releasing at full force, brought her Emmy-winning success in two groundbreaking sitcoms — Norman Lear’s 1970s classic “Maude” and “The Golden Girls,” launched in 1985 and no doubt making somebody crack up in rerun land as you’re reading this. Television critics can pay appropriate homage to the place of these shows in small-screen history. But I can’t help thinking about the stage origins of those unerring instincts for comedy, the hours upon hours of performing in theaters large and small that taught Arthur better than any videotape what worked and what didn’t. Nor can I keep myself from mourning a death that in some respects marks the passing of an entertainment era. MORE

Maude Vs. Nixon

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