After decades in the biz, the 50-year-old Arthur (and her salt and pepper curls) landed the groundbreaking lead in Maude.
"I'd love to be a diminutive blonde," Bea Arthur once said. Thankfully for the many fans of Maude and The Golden Girls, she was instead a 5'9½" powerhouse who used her imposing size to hilarious effect ("She got roars just shifting her weight," a producer once said.). No ingenue at 50, when her sudden TV fame made her feel "like a middle-aged Cinderella," Arthur made a dignified transition from Maude's salt-and-pepper curls to Dorothy Zbornak's platinum coif. By the time she passed away in 2009 at the age of 86, she was the consummate sharp-witted silver fox. Better than being a blonde? We think so.