Did you grow up watching the hilarious sitcom Maude? This sitcom was a spinoff from All In The Family and followed Archie Bunker’s cousin Maude Findlay. While All In The Family often mocked liberal or left-wing values, this series revolved around a character who espoused such values. It managed to blend humor with the social issues of the day.
Maude became one of America’s most successful sitcoms and it’s all due to its stellar cast. Sadly, many of the main cast members are no longer with us.
Let’s look back at some of the Maude cast members who have passed away as well as catch up with Adrienne Barbeau, to see how she’s doing…
Bea Arthur played the titular role of Maude. She was born in New York and was raised primarily in Cambridge, Maryland. She later attended boarding school in Pennsylvania and studied for one year at Blackstone College in Virginia.
After spending time in the US Marine Corps Women’s Reserve, she went on to become a licensed medical technician. It was in 1947, when she was in her mid-twenties that she decided to give acting a try.
She enrolled in the School of Drama and The New School. She began her career predominantly as a theater actress. It wasn’t until she was cast as Maude Findlay in All In The Family that her television career began to take off.
All In The Family revolved around Archie Bunker who often mocked liberal and left-wing views. This was in complete contrast with Maude who would espouse such views. As such, many of the show’s most comedic moments came from verbal spars between the two.
The character of Maude was so popular that she had to have her own sitcom. The sitcom Maude premiered in 1972. Bea Arthur instantly became an icon for her portrayal of Maude Findlay. She managed to deal with difficult issues all while blending comedy and drama – something that’s not an easy feat for most performers.
Even after Maude ended, Bea Arthur continued to be a household name. She continued to have bit parts in television series and even starred in a show called Amanda’s – an American remake of the Britcom Fawlty Towers!
But her biggest role apart from Maude came when she joined the cast of The Golden Girls. She once again became a household name and entertained audiences across the country.
Bea Arthur died in 2009 at the age of 86. This was following a long battle with cancer…
Before we tell you more about how each Maude cast member died, please like this video and subscribe to our channel for more current news and interesting stories. Now, back to the video…
Maude’s husband was Walter Findlay, played by Bill Macy. He was born in Massachusetts but was raised in New York. He became a prominent stage actor, appearing in such plays as “Oh, Calcutta!” and “Once More, With Feeling” as Walter Matthau’s understudy.
The character of Walter Findlay ended up being his breakthrough role. He was spotted by Norman Lear who watched Bill in one of his Off Broadway stage performances.
Walter managed to bring a perfect balance to Maude’s vivaciousness. When you look back at the show, it’s hard to imagine any other actor but Bill Macy in the role.
After working in television, Bill Macy had a prolific film career. He appeared in films such as The Jerk, My Favorite Year, Analyze This, and The Holiday.
He also made regular TV appearances in popular shows including Seinfeld, NYPD Blue, St. Elsewhere, and My Name Is Earl.
Bill Macy died at the age of 97 in 2019. He was a prolific and versatile actor whom we’ll dearly miss.
One of the most recognized faces on American television in the 1970s was undoubtedly that of Conrad Bain. Conrad Bain was a Canadian acting student who emigrated to the United States in the 1940s to start his career. He gained his training in acting from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
He began his career as a stage actor and it wasn’t long until he became a respected actor in the theater. He appeared in plays such as Uncle Vanya, An Enemy of the People, and On Borrowed Time.
He began his film career in the 1970s, appearing in films such as Lovers and Other Strangers directed by Cy Howard and Bananas directed by Woody Allen.
He was then cast as Dr. Arthur Harmon in Maude. Dr. Harmon espoused conservative attitudes and was the perfect opposite to Maude’s more liberal persuasion. What made the situation even more humorous is that Dr. Harmon was married to Maude’s best friend Vivian!
This character became one of the most popular on American television and it’s what made Conrad Bain into a household name. He later appeared as Phillip Drummond on Diff’rent Strokes, which was another role he became famous for.
After these two shoes, he made regular TV appearances in shows such as Hello, Larry, The Facts of Life, CHiPS, The Loveboat, and Mr. President. His final appearance was a cameo as Phillip Drummond in the final episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
He retired from acting after that appearance. Conrad Bain passed at the age of 89 in California.
So what about Vivian Harmon? She was played by Rue McClanahan. She was born in Oklahoma in 1934. She attended Ardmore High School where she appeared in many school plays.
She then majored in Theatre at the University of Tulsa. She would later join the prestigious Actor’s Studio as a life member. She began acting in Off Broadway plays in 1957 before making it big in Broadway plays.
She became a well-known actress in television when she appeared in the show Another World. But she became a household name when she was cast as Vivian in Maude. She later became known for her roles in Mama’s Family and The Golden Girls; in the latter show, she was reunited with Bea Arthur.
She continued to work in film and television for much of her career after Maude. She appeared in the films The Rotten Apple and Walk the Angry Beach prior to her television career. Afterward she appeared in the TV movies, Children of the Bride, Baby of the Bride, and Mother of the Bride.
She also acted in the 2005 comedy film The Fighting Temptations. Her later TV appearances included work in Murphy Brown, Blue’s Clues, Touched by An Angel, Whoopi, Law & Order, and Meet the Browns.
She died in 2010 at the age of 76 after suffering from a brain hemorrhage.
The character of Florida Evans is most associated with the hit show Good Times. But we first saw her as a supporting character in Maude. The character was played by Esther Rolle.
Esther Rolle was born in 1920 in Pompano Beach, Florida. She was the 10th of 18th children and her parents were immigrants from the Caribbean.
She started her acting career on the stage, as part of The Negro Ensemble Company. She appeared in plays such as The Blacks, A Raisin In The Sun, A Member of the Wedding, Blues for Mister Charlie, and The Amen Corner.
Her television career was launched when she was cast as Florida Evans in Maude. The character was a strong and empowered Black woman that audiences were eager to see. Norman Lear would later recall that Esther Rolle was cast as Florida because she had a strong presence.
Following Maude, Florida Evans became one of the main characters in the show Good Times – which is what made Esther Rolle a household name.
Following her work in television, she appeared in many great films. These included I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Rosewood, My Fellow Americans, Down In The Delta, and Train Ride – which was her final film role.
She died in 1998 due to complications from diabetes at the age of 78.
One of the best supporting characters in Maude was Mrs. Nell Naugatuck played by Hermione Baddely.
She began her career acting in many musicals on the London stage. She also appeared in films such as Mary Poppins, The Unsinkable Molly Brown and The Happiest Millionaire. She also received praise and an Academy Award nomination for her role in Room at the Top.
She became known to American audiences with her recurring roles in shows such as Batman, Bewitched, and Little House on the Prairie. But when she was cast as Mrs. Naugatuck in Maude she became a major star in the States. She won a Golden Globe award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the show.
She was also known as the voice of Madame Adelaide Bonfamille in The Aristocats.
She passed away in California at the age of 79 following a series of strokes.
Of the main cast, Adrienne Barbeau who played Carol Traynor is still with us. Like many of her Maude co-stars, she started her career on the stage. Her first major role was as one of Tevye’s daughters in Fiddler on the Roof.
She launched to stardom when she was cast as Maude’s daughter in the hit sitcom. Following the show, she became well-known for acting in a string of great horror films.
This included films such as Swamp Thing, Halloween, The Fog, Creepshow, and Two Evil Eyes. She also had roles in Escape From New York and animated films such as Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island.
She’s still acting in many great films including Gates of Darkness and For the Love of Jesse. We can also expect more films of hers to release in the coming years.
Are you a fan of Maude? The show was certainly revolutionary for its time?
Do you think that the show helped shape many of the popular social attitudes of today? Or did it simply reflect attitudes that were already becoming popular?
Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.
If you liked this story, be sure to hit the ‘like’ button and be sure to Subscribe to FactsVerse for more great stories! Hit the bell icon to receive regular notifications!
We’ll see you in the next video!