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Honorary PETA Director, Bea Arthur Passes On

Written by PETA | April 25, 2009


People have lost one of the greatest comic actresses of all time, and animals have lost one of their all-time greatest defenders. An honorary PETA director and the winner of multiple PETA Humanitarian Awards, Bea Arthur joined PETA in 1987, when the Golden Girls did an anti-fur episode and Arthur, Rue McClanahan, and Betty White filmed a PETA anti-fur PSA on the set of the show.

A tireless advocate for animals, Bea campaigned against the force-feeding of ducks in the foie gras trade, travelling to London with PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk, where she called on Harrod’s to stop selling the cruelly made pâté. She was particularly upset about fur and used to place ads in playbills calling for theater patrons to have a change of heart and donate their furs to PETA. Bea recently called for a boycott of KFC until it improves the way it raises and kills its chickens, campaigned against animal experimentation, spoke out about the abuse of animals on factory farms, and was a vocal opponent of the use of exotic animals in circuses. She also helped launch and was a member of PETA’s Augustus Club, which helps members remember PETA in their estate plans and wills.

She will be sorely missed.

Written by Dan Mathews

Commenting is closed.
  • marta gonzález says:

    Im very sorry to know Bea Arthur has passed away. A very good actress I always watched her in The golden Girls.. Rest in peace Bea..

  • r worrell says:

    Bea had the rare combination of brilliant comedic talent wit intelligence and compassion. The world desperately needs more people like her. She has been a guest in our home via the Golden Girls for many years and we loved her and are very sad that she is gone. She is a great inspiration but will be great missed…

  • Carol says:

    She would make you laugh without her saying a word and I will really really miss her. But now she in a better place with no pain and happy with her family and all of her animals as my mother is. I never say that someone “died” because that is way to final. I always say that “THEY WENT TO THE OTHERSIDE OF THE CURTAIN” that way all you have to do is lift the curtain at any time a look at them at speak to them in your mind.

  • Cathy Sutter says:

    Well now I know why I liked Bea Arthur so much! I was not aware of her devotion to animals. I should have sensed it. Hail to a great lady in more ways than one. May she find herself surrounded by animals wherever she is. That’s where I want to be when I pass from this planet.

  • David Thomas says:

    I was shocked saddened by the news of Bea Arthur’s passing she was truly a great comedienne an incredible actress a wonderful friend to animals. It would seem now that Dorothy Sophia are together again at last. I remember her as Maude then later as Dorothy in Golden Girls. I have enjoyed all of her performances in both shows. She will always be remembered for her work with PETA and for the animals she so dearly loved. Rest Well Bea you have earned it “Thank you for being a friend”

  • Joanne Peachey says:

    Thank You Bea for all things you did for the animals they thank you you gave them a voice. We will all miss you

  • Sneha Rao-Jain says:

    Thats the saddest news I have heard in a long time. I hope she is happy whereever she is now. We love you Bea!! 0

  • ray says:

    Bea Arthur will be greatly missed both in the animal and human world. my prayers are with you. if love can help ou where ever you go you sure have alot of it love ray

  • Marilyn Rainville says:

    I love the Golden Girls. Did not realize she was such a great aniamal advocate. She will be missed.

  • Doreen Hoffman says:

    I feel like I have lost a friend! She was such a wonderful comedian and she has given us so much throughout her life. She has been a great friend and spokeswoman for the animals too. She gave a voice to those who had none. I just loved her in the Golden Girls and Maude! The animals and I will miss you so much dear lady! You were a BEAUTIFUL person!

  • robyn wolf says:

    Bea was truly a wonderful womanand all her beautiful work she did for PETA will never be forgotten by many. R.I.P. Bea and thanks so muchfor making us laugh. God love you and your Family.

  • Cristina Pér says:

    Wonderful woman really a lady of comedy. We will miss her as an artist but overall for all her humanity and compassion. Rest in peace and thank you in name of the animals

  • Patrick says:

    D I remember watchhing the Golden Girls of a morning with my cereal… this although I’m only 15 and I didn’t get to see that many episodes saddens me. Deeply.

  • Justin Holas says:

    I am sorry to hear about this loss R.I.P. Bea

  • France Dombrowski says:

    I liked very much the Golden Girls. I’m so happy and so proud to know that she was a dedicated PETA member as well.

  • Stephanie says:

    I was in shock when I heard on the news that she had died just as I did when I first found out when Estelle Getty died last summer. The Golden Girls is one of the greatest shows in history and it’s heart breaking that the actress’s are getting to an age where they’re passing away. Her memory will live on through Dorothy. She was such a compassionate person and a hero for so many animals”Thank you for being a friend.” R.I.P Bea

  • Cathy Munroe says:

    Bea Arthur has always been my favorite actress she had such talent and was so funny on her T.V. shows. Her heart was huge and she was a kind and gentle woman. The world has lost one of the best.

  • jennifer says:

    I’m sorry to say I have never met her. But I only knew her on her show GOLDEN GIRLS. My son 16 even enjoys watching the girls. We both will miss her truely. I have only heard nothing but the best about the golden girls and we truely have lost a great wise beautiful woman.

  • amanda says:

    im so sad…she was so cool..ive seen evry episode of golden girls.

  • Daniel says:

    Swift to its close ebbs out lifes little day Earths joys grow dim its glories pass away Change and decay in all around I see O Thou who changes not abide with me. R.I.P Bea Arthur

  • susan skilling says:

    I propose ‘Bea’ aka benefiting or befriending every animal.

  • Ashley says:

    I love Bea Arthur. I almost cried when I heard she had passed.Golden Girls is my favorite. She will be missed both by her fans and the animals she defended.

  • carolyn says:


  • Gina says:

    RIP Bea Arthur! You will live forever in our hearts and in Golden Girls. You will be missed.

  • Mayrette says:

    The Golden Girls is definitely one of my fave shows Bea Arthur was beyond hilarious. As a fan of the show as well as an animal lover I will miss Bea Arthur. Thank you for being a friend Bea.

  • Bobby says:

    I am not part of PETA but I am sorry for the lost of PETA great leader. She was one of a kind she will be greatly miss not only by PETA but by all that knew of Bea.

  • Crystal says:

    It was a very sad day when I found out that we lost such a legend. She will be greatly missed by both people and animals. Our hearts go out to her family and friends.

  • liz says:

    Bea Arthur was funny entertaining as well as kind hearted and compassionate towards animals.. you will be miss Bea.. she was a great lady!!!

  • Kim says:

    As a fellow animal loveractivist and ‘Golden Girls’ fan my heart goes out to her family and friends.What a great lady.

  • David McCluskey says:

    The world will never find another Bea. How much we will miss you!

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    The animals have lost a great friend but her courage will inspire the rest of us to keep on fighting.

  • Cris Smothers says:

    I miss her and am so sorry she suffered. She was one great lady!

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    I remember when Miss Arthur played Angela Landsbury’s best friend in the broadway musical “Mame.” She and Miss Landsbury sang a hilarious duet titled “Bosom Buddies” in which they repeatedly fired insults at each other but let the audience know that everything was okay because “Who else but a bosom buddy will tell you the whole stinking truth?” That performance was a show stopper literally…it took quite a while for the audience to calm down and stop laughing. I’m glad she was a “bosom buddy” for animals.

  • Louise says:

    The Golden Girls is my favorite show ever. I love all four girls equally but I especially loved the differences in each of them their different personalities voices heights they are all just so wonderful. Bea will be sorely missed. My condolences to Bea’s family and closest friends. Betty and Rue I heard you on the today show this morning. You are so strong! A huge hug to both of you. xoxoxoxox

  • Shari says:

    She was such a great person inside and out!! the animals and I thank for for all she has done to advocate animal rights! Shari

  • Tammy says:

    We’ll miss you Bea! Bea was a truly wonderful compassionate human being and great actress. This is so sad.

  • titannica says:

    I never knew her but I admire all that she has done and hope that her legacy lives forever. May you rest in peace and God bless your family.

  • lynda downie says:

    Good one bry smiley apr25 1125pm “thank you for being a friend” Yeah ‘thank you for Beaing a friend.’

  • MeL says:

    Ah man…Dorothy Zspornak and Maude is gone?! No way! What a beautiful person she was. A real advocate for animal rights and DEFINATELY the funniest of The Golden Girls…rest in peace Bea Arthur!

  • KyleSven says:

    At the very least she is with “Ma” now.

  • Phyllis says:

    Oh NO! I feel like I just lost a friend clearly the animals lost a great friend.

  • roxanne says:

    R.I.P. Bea I loved and admired you.

  • Bry Smiley says:

    Thanks Bea. Rest in Peace and thank you for being a friend.

  • Canaduck says:

    Oh how sad. She was so cool.

  • lynda downie says:

    What a great loss. I loved Bea as Maude and Dorothy. And her work for animals with Peta was outstanding. So sorry she has died. Thank you for all you’ve done Bea.

  • Curtis says:

    I just heard about this on FOX News. They reported that the family sayx donations may be made in Bea’s name to either her scholorship foundation or PETA. R.I.P. BEA! Millions of Americand and people across the world want to say we love you still!

  • Katherine Richmond says:

    I was saddened to hear of her passing. I was heartened to read on that her family asked that in lieu of flowers donations be made to PETA which I have just done. I hope that everyone takes the time to remember this genuinely lovely human being.

  • Neil Warne says:

    My deepest sympathies to her family and friends she will be long remembered and in their hearts forever more.

  • kathy allard says:

    yes she was one of the greatest comedians this milenium has ever known!! I especially liked her in “Maude” She will be sorely missed by all!!!

  • Aneliese says:

    A beatuiful person inside and out. Rest in peace Bea Arthur.