Song:The Man In The Moon
Album:Mame: Original Cast Recording
Though Bea Arthur is mainly known for the sitcoms Maude and The Golden Girls, she had a long career on Broadway before she turned to TV. she won a Tony Award for playing Vera Charles in the 1966 musical Mame. The Man In The Moon was her big number in the show. She was born Beatrice Frankel May 13, 1922 in New York City. Her family moved to Cambridge, MD in 1933 where her parents owned a clothing store. Bea performed while in school and she was in the United States Marine Corps during WWII. Afterwards, she studied acting in New York and appeared regularly on stage and also on live TV in the 50s. Her breakthrough role was as the yente in the 1964 musical Fiddler On The Roof and then she followed that with Mame in 1966. Mame was based on the very successful Broadway show and film Auntie Mame. Veteran songwriter Jerry Herman was hired to turn it into a musical. He also wrote Hello Dolly! and La Cage Aux Folles among other things. Herman wanted Judy Garland to play Mame and the producers tried to hire Mary Martin. But Angela Lansbury got the part and won a Tony. Bea was hired to play Vera. She was married to the show's director Gene Saks at the time. Bea also won a Tony. Angela and Bea perform their big number Bosom Buddies and Bea gets a solo turn with The Man In The Moon. Both songs are on this cast CD. Bea also played Vera in the 1974 film version of Mame starring Lucille Ball. Bea turned to TV when Norman Lear cast her as Edith Bunker's cousin Maude in the classic sitcom All In The Family and spun her off into the sitcom Maude. That show was very successful and made Bea a household name. Bea also became a regular on TV variety shows. She also starred in the 1983 sitcom Amanda's which was based on the British sitcom Fawlty Towers. It didn't last but then she starred in the very successful sitcom the Golden Girls from 1985-92. After that she did TV guest shots and toured with her own one woman show. Bea Arthur died on Apr. 25, 2009 at age 86. Here's Bea Arthur performing The Man In The Moon on the 1994 TV special Jerry Herman's Broadway at the Hollywood Bowl.