Bea and her husband, actor-director Gene Saks, came to Hollywood on business. During their stay, Lear prevailed on Bea to play a guest shot on “All in the Family,” portraying Edith Bunker’s politically liberal cousin.
Her characterization was so strong and effective, Lear decided immediately to spin “Maude” off on a series of her own.
“They kept the name Maude and the essentials of her personality,” Bea said. “Sometimes I wonder who came first, me or Maude.
“My relationship with Gene is something like that between Maude and Walter on the show. I’m the more aggressive of the two.
“But it’s like the German shepherd and the trainer. It’s ‘kill’ or ‘sit’ — the trainer is really in charge.”
Bea has now plunged into her sixth year as “Maude,” a prospect she looked forward to with fervor.
“I love doing the show,” she said in the strong voice her character usually reserves for browbeating Walter. “On the whole, I think we are a cut above the other series on the air.
“Last season was the best we’ve done so far. The writing was better and the work easier. I enjoy the whole thing. I even watch the show at home with the family, if I can stay awake that long.”
“Maude” theme song and opening credits
“Maude” theme song lyrics
And Then There’s Maude
Lady Godiva was a freedom rider
She didn’t care if the whole world looked
Joan of Arc with the Lord to guide her
She was a sister who really cooked