Beatrice "Bea" Arthur (May 13, 1922 April 25, 2009), born Bernice Frankel, was an American actor, comedian and singer whose career spanned seven decades. She was a truck-driving Marine during World War II. She is well-known for her amazing droll, dry deadpan delivery, and the argument could be made that she is the Deadpan Queen. She is most famous for her roles as the title character on Maude (A Spin-Off of All in the Family, where she originated the role) and Dorothy on The Golden Girls. She even had her own hour-long special in 1980. She had a variety of other roles spanning her career, from film to television to theater.
She was also the reigning champ of the Reaction Shot and Death Glare, with TV legend Norman Lear reportedly saying she could get more laughs out of an audience by raising an eyebrow than most actors could with three pages of dialogue. It was well known that she Does Not Like Shoes.
She also appeared as Ackmena in The Star Wars Holiday Special. She was the only member of the cast who didn't regret her part in it, though this may be due to the fact that she was not informed of the special's (loose) relation to the Star Wars franchise at the time of filming; she was quite used to doing all sorts of variety shows in The '70s and Early Eighties. To this day, her performance is considered the high point of an otherwise disappointingly terrible special.
Fun fact: She had a very similar face to Jane Ross, who played the character Tamoon in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Gamesters of Triskelion". Even after Ross died in 1985, several sources mistakenly credited Arthur for the role and mistakenly said Ross was a pseudonym Arthur used. In 2001, Arthur set the record straight that she and Ross were different people and she had never appeared in Star Trek.