Bea Arthur (left) was best known for her role in The Golden Girls.
The death of popular actress Bea Arthur, who starred in the US television sitcom The Golden Girls, has been reported in Los Angeles.
Arthur, who played Dorothy Zbornak to the late Estelle Getty's Sophia Petrillo, died at home of cancer at the age of 86, a family spokesman said.
BBC News website readers have been sending their tributes to the actress. Here is a selection of your comments:
Bea Arthur's work has inspired me in many ways - I learned from a young age that there is nothing to fear in ageing, that it is attractive to be an intelligent woman with a sharp tongue, and that a little humour can brighten any day. She has left behind an amazing legacy that will continue to inspire young women and men who are introduced to her body of work.
Janiene Langford, Santa Barbara, USA
Sitting here surprised that this news has upset me so much!!! What is it all about?! I used to watch Golden Girls with my nan when I was little and Dor'thy was always my favourite. Very sad. Amazing career, but life is so short...
I was quite fortunate to have the privilege of working with Bea in "Bermuda Avenue Triangle" several years ago. She was the epitome of professionalism. When our paths crossed in Miami's Coconut Grove Theatre, I was treated to her humour. Finally, when I last seen her one women show in Provincetown, Massachusetts in 2004, I was surprised and humbled that she remembered me as well my name. That left me feeling that my work did matter and was acknowledged by a great woman.
Emil White, Fort Lauderdale Florida US
Bea (Dorothy) along with all of the other girls have forever changed my life and positively impacted it. I am only 20 years old, but The Golden Girls has been my ultimate favourite show since junior high and now I am graduating college in less than a month and they STILL are my absolute favourite. My heart broke when Estelle passed and the same goes for Bea. I just want to say that her humour, dedication, and intelligence has truly left an unforgettable impression on many American's heart, especially mine. Thank you Golden Girls for having a hand in the woman I am.
Katelynn Martin, Hot Springs, AR, USA
What a huge loss, I am very sad. Thankful for all the laughter she brought us with her wit and sense of timing.
Robert Murray, Portland,Oregon, USA
So sorry to hear about this, and with this news am saddened. I'm 29 now but I used to watch your show every week on channel 4 you and the rest of the girls made me laugh so much as a child and i thank you for this immensely. I hope your resting well with all your friends and late family. Thank you for ONLY! Good memories.
Micheal Juma, Worsley, UK
Saw Bea Arthur in her show at The Savoy Theatre London. She was a wonderful singer, actress and comedienne. I laughed, cried, sang, cheered and clapped. Will remember that evening and her forever. A great talent. God bless
Brian Horstead, London, UK
I am going to miss that powerful voice and that stern character she played.
The writing in golden girls is second to none. Bea Arthur made the Character Dorothy her own. She will be immortalised in her commanding comedy performances & hilarious escapades.
Brian Swann, Birmingham, UK
So sorry to hear the sad news, Bea Arthur was a very talented actress who brought many years of entertainment to millions of people. A true star who will be deeply missed.
Michael, Lincoln, UK
She'll be missed. There aren't many young actresses with even half her style and class.
David, Ely, UK
I am deeply saddened to hear of Bea's passing. She will be greatly missed. Her sense of humour and her grace helped Women all over the world.Pam Miller
Pamela Miller, Omaha, Ne, USA
Thoroughly enjoyed Bea Arthur, especially since she played "italian" the world has lost a wonderful commedienne
Lonna Billings, Washington, USA
She was the glue that held the Girls together. A wonderful comic actress and singer who will be sadly missed.
Rich, Greenwich, UK
Very sad. Wonderful actress gave many happy hours of pleasure, she was a delight to watch and will be fondly remembered.
June Crowther, Hambleton UK
We will miss you! You were always a great actress.
Heine Selzer, United States
Simply put, i grew up watching Bea on the Golden Girls and her character was always my number one. Such a big personality was she that it's her quick one liners i have always remembered growing up. A big part of my 'TV childhood' you could say. She will be missed greatly.
Holli, Hampshire, UK
Bea will always be in my heart and one of my most favourite people. I absolutely loved her sense of humour and dry wit...
Eric, Los Angeles, USA
During my stay in the USA, and for many years, I would watch the Golden Girls. Bea Arthur would crack me up with her witty comments and answers as the fisty yet sharp Dorothy Zbornak. I am sad for her passing away... May she rest in peace. I loved her acting!!!
Thomas Vartan, Rome, Italy
Bea Arthur, Thank you for being my friend, a classic comedy actor, I loved your work, I loved your humour and most of all I loved you being you. In 2003, I went to see you at the Savoy Theatre in your one woman show and you were superb, a memory cherished forever. Bea Arthur, good night, god, bless.
Wayne Fitzharris, Camberwell, London, UK
America has lost a multi-talented comedienne, actress, and singer. Bea Arthur will always be fondly remembered for her two long-running roles on television: the ground breaking Maude on the comedy of the same name and Dorothy on "The Golden Girls", one half of one the most multi-layered mother-daughter characters on television history. So, Bea Arthur, "thank you for being a friend". You will be fondly remembered!
Jason, Tennessee, USA
The obvious 'Thank you for being a friend'. I hope there is enough cheesecake up there for you and Estelle.
Greg Kemp, London
Loved Bea. Loved the Golden Girls - a unique, classy show with great parts for older women. Dorothy (Bea) was a gem of a character. She'll be missed. My condolences to her family. She was a real lady.
My gran loved "The Golden Girls" and I used to sit and watch this with her when I stayed at her house when I was younger. Bea Arthur with her gentle good humour helped to make it such a good programme and the laughter she helped create remain a great memory for me. RIP, Bea!
Andy Bloomfield, Winsford, UK
Ms. Arthur was truly great. Her curmudgeonly comic personae will live on. We will miss her sincerely. Truly an actress of quality from Fiddler on the Roof to Golden Girls. My sincerest condolences to her family and friends.
Cory Rosenberg, Gettysburg, USA
Bea really was one of the great entertainers of the 20th Century. Whether singing, acting or story telling, she was always an absolute joy and pleasure to watch. God speed Bea, you will be sorely missed.
Steve Wickenden, Egham, UK
I remember getting to stay up late on a Friday to watch the Golden Girls on channel 4, Bea was always my golden girl, i am really gutted to hear of her death. My thoughts are with her family.
Karen, Inverness, Scotland
Nobody delivered witty or sarcastic lines better than Bea. I will always love her for the terrific characters she brought to TV and stage. You're a Golden Girl!!
Don McCarthy, College Point, NY, USA
I never missed an episode of Golden Girls. Bea Arthur played a Dorothy as a strong woman with a great sense of humour perfectly. It seems that is what she was in real life as well. She was compassionate and worked for animal rights. I'll never forget a comment she made about a fox wrap she used in a role. She was fingering it and realized the leg was broken. After that she refused to wear fur. In an age of bimbo's she stood out for her strength and wit.
Ruth Eisenbud, Cambridge, USA