Inside Angela Lansbury's Friendship With Bea Arthur

The late actress, Dame Angela Lansbury, was a star of the stage and screen, with roles ranging from detective Jessica Fletcher on "Murder, She Wrote" to the voice of the teapot Mrs. Potts in Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" and its spin-off media. During her long career, Lansbury also was close friends with another Hollywood legend, "The Golden Girls" star Bea Arthur, as she said in a statement published by Entertainment Weekly upon Arthur's death in 2009. Lansbury even hosted a star-studded memorial for Arthur later that same year that was open to the public (via Playbill).

The friendship between the two stars could sound slightly surprising based on some of their more notable television roles, in particular, but it turns out that Lansbury and Arthur knew each other for decades. In fact, they actually became friends with one another earlier than fans might expect — and they remained close throughout their lives.

Dame Angela Lansbury and Bea Arthur met on Broadway

Dame Angela Lansbury and Bea Arthur met each other when they were working on the Broadway production of "Mame" in 1965, Lansbury shared following Arthur's death (via Entertainment Weekly). In the production, Lansbury starred as Mame Dennis, while Arthur played Vera Charles, performances that won both actresses Tony Awards in 1966 (via Playbill).

Referencing one of the songs from "Mame," Lansbury said of Arthur, "Bea Arthur and I first met when we did 'Mame' together in 1965. She became and has remained 'My Bosom Buddy' ever since."

Arthur, meanwhile, spoke highly of Lansbury but once revealed that her friend had a more colorful vocabulary than she let on. In an interview prior to her debut on London's West End in 2003, Arthur said of Lansbury, "She was a class act and a real joy to work with. When I first met her I thought I was meeting this patrician, classically trained actor, but she has a mouth like a longshoreman. No kidding. She loved telling dirty limericks. She started in British music hall and taught me 'What Can You Get A Nudist For Her Birthday' and it's really saucy" (per The Independent).

To paraphrase the theme to "The Golden Girls," it sounds as though Arthur and Lansbury really were pals and confidants for one another.