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Bea Arthur (1922-2009)

  1. Bette Davis, Wicked Stepmother, 1988.   As per usual, Davis got top- billing - for 11 minutes only. Because after a week’s work, she took a leave of absence “for a dental appointment.” She never returned… Arthur and Lucille Ball were discussed as substitutes, director Larry Cohen said Davis fretted asbout getting work if people thought she was in bad health. In his wholly stupid rewrite, Cohen had Bette’s cat morphing into… Barbara Carrera!

  2. Pat Carroll, The Little Mermaid, 1989.      "An answer to a prayer," said Carroll on winning her lifetime’s ambition - voicing a Disney character.   Ursula had been first designed for Arthur - far too busy with The Golden Girls, 1985-1992. Next? Divine (!), Charlotte Rae, Roseanne, the Absolutely Fabulous Jennifer Saunders and singer Nancy Wilson. Plus a slew of veteran ladies: Coral Browne, Nancy Marchand, Sylvia Sidney - and Elaine Stritch, who won the gig, then lost it after disputes with lyricist Howard Ashman.

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