Born Bernice Frankel, Bea was born in NYC,
and raised in Cambridge, Maryland.
She joined the Marines during WWII.
She started as a private, but worked her way up to Staff Sergeant.
From Three Penny Opera,
And in the original cast of Fiddler on the Roof,
Bea played Yente, the Matchmaker.
Here she is (center) and the recording session for the album,
with Maria Karnilova and Zero Mostel.
With Jane Connell and Angela Lansbury
in Mame, 1966.
Bea repeated her role as Vera Charles
in the movie version of Mame, 1974,
with Lucille Ball.
Close up on Vera...love the hat!
Post Maude...pre Golden Girls,
Bea in 1981.
On the Golden Girls set,
with Estelle Geddes, Rue McClanahan and Betty White.
A promo shot for her one-woman show,
Just Between Friends, 2002.
When asked about her major influences,
Bea named the following three: