‘All in the Family’: Bea Arthur’s 13 Minute Appearance in 1 Episode Resulted in a Spinoff Show

by Joe Rutland
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When you get a shot to prove yourself on “All in the Family,” what do you do? Give the performance of your life. That’s what Bea Arthur did.

Arthur appears as Maude Findlay in an episode of “All in the Family” called “Cousin Maude’s Visit” in 1971. What she did with a 13-minute effort on that show ultimately got a lot of people’s attention.

Some of those reportedly were CBS executives. Arthur’s character was the polar opposite of Carroll O’Connor’s Archie Bunker. She was liberal; he was conservative. The back-and-forth between them on the episode would be a victory not only for Arthur but “All in the Family” creator Norman Lear.

Ultimately, Arthur was cast in a spinoff called “Maude.” She won an Emmy Award in 1977 for “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.” That show ran for six seasons on CBS until Arthur decided to move along from the role.

Maybe you’d like a taste of Maude and Archie going at it from that epic 1971 episode? Well, you’re in luck. Sit back and watch Bea Arthur and Carroll O’Connor offer a clinic in comic timing.

‘All in the Family’ Produces Seven Spin-Off Shows

While “Maude” spent six seasons on CBS, “All in the Family” provided a launching pad for six other spinoff series. That’s a lot of creative output from executive producer Norman Lear and his team.

Let’s take a look at those other series and how they’re all inter-related.

“Maude” helped produce “Good Times.” Florida Evans first appeared on “Maude,” which led to actress Esther Rolle starring in “Good Times” from 1974-79. John Amos also starred with her as father James Evans, but Amos didn’t last the entire run of the show. “Good Times” also made a star out of J.J. Walker, whose “Dynomite!” became a household catchphrase. Janet Jackson also appeared on the show, and she went on to have quite a musical career after “Good Times” ended.

Who could forget George Jefferson butting heads with Archie? Well, “The Jeffersons” had an 11-season run on CBS. Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford played George and Louise Jefferson, respectively, on the spinoff.

From that show, “Checking In,” starring Marla Gibbs, who played the Jeffersons’ maid Florence Johnston, had a small run on CBS in 1981. The show lasted just four weeks before the network cancelled it.

“Archie Bunker’s Place” picks up where “All in the Family” left off as that series stars O’Connor as Archie. It ran from 1979 through 1983.

Two other short-lived series came out of “All in the Family.” “Gloria” starred Sally Struthers as she reprised her role of Archie and Edith’s daughter. “704 Hauser” centered on the house where the Bunkers lived after another family moved in there.

Outsider.com