Bea Arthur may have frequently described herself as shy and introverted but, given the right circumstances, she could definitely cut a rug with the best of them! A certain video from the 90’s of her doing just that has been making the rounds on social media lately, so I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the other times in Bea’s career when she showed off her fantastic dance moves.
This episode of Maude is one of my favorites! In it, Maude is putting together a benefit musical to raise money for the local library (I knew there was a reason I loved her!). Of course, Arthur, her conservative neighbor, has a problem with some of the skits. It’s a great episode overall, but the highlight is definitely Bea showing her daughter, Carol, how to shake what her mama gave her!
Maude, the Remix
What happened to dancing on sitcoms? It seems like it used to be quite a popular plot device. This is a fun clip of an episode of Maude with a dance party remixed to a DJ track.
Bea and Betty Sing and Dance to “42nd Street”
Here’s another clip from the Maude era when Betty also starred as Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Look, I know what you’ve heard about Bea supposedly not liking Betty–and I’ll be writing more about that later on in my All About Bea series–but if this doesn’t prove that these two women really did have an affection for one another then I don’t know what does.
CBS 50th Anniversary Special
Bea stars with Lucille Ball and George Burns in this television special from 1978. Her appearance starts at the 2:45 mark in a Vaudevillian bit where she high kicks with the best of them! The following scene is lavish, late 1970’s television variety show finery at its best. When are those flowy chiffon gowns going to make a comeback already?
Lucille Ball Tribute at the Kennedy Center Honors
Bea made a special appearance with Valerie Harper and Pam Dawber at the Kennedy Center Honors to honor Lucille Ball in 1986. I love the look of surprise on Lucy’s face when Bea is announced. Even if the film version of Mame wasn’t so successful, Bea and Lucy obviously shared a great fondness and respect for one another.
One for the Money
“Mae-stro!.” In one of the most memorable episodes of the series, “One for the Money,” from season 3, the Girls compete in a dance contest. Sure, Rose steals the scene, but Dorothy is no slouch, either. Plus, Rose kinda cheated, don’t you think?
Doing the Urkel
And here it is, the video you’ve seen all over social media! Most people seem surprised that Bea would do something like this, but I think it’s just because they haven’t seen her moves from years past. I love this clip because it shows that Bea really was down to do just about anything if it would get a laugh. The audience was surprised, too!
Malcolm In the Middle
Last, but certainly not least, is Bea’s Emmy-nominated performance on the first season of Malcolm In the Middle. You can check out the full scene here. Bea plays Dewey’s babysitter and they don’t get along at first, but by the end they have so much fun that she leaves in an ambulance. I can just imagine Bea herself getting a good laugh at the script for this episode, and I love that she was recognized for her great work on this episode.
From show tunes to ABBA, Bea did it all! It really should come as no surprise that Bea was such a great dancer because she was trained and spent many years on the stage in an era when learning a variety of dance steps and styles was par for the course. But I think it’s wonderful that people are discovering a side of Bea that’s new to them and seeing the breadth of her talent!