Who is Miz Maude? She’s an amalgam of the many fictional Maudes of yore and lore. Behold:
Maude Findlay is, of course, a key character in the 1970s dramady Maude, played by Bea Arthur (aka “Dorothy” in Golden Girls). Maude first appeared as a one-time character on an episode of All in the Family. Not surprisingly, Bea Arthur’s portrayal of the character was so compelling that the CBS producers had no choice but to create a new show for her.
Maude tackled all the social issues of the ‘70s, most notably “Maude’s Dilemma” episode in which the 47-year-old Maude and her friends debate whether she should get an abortion. If you never saw that or any other episode of the show, well, you can get on it right now via the iTunes Store and Amazon.
Dame Marjorie “Maude” Chardin is a fictional character in the 1971 dark comedy Harold and Maude. Harold is a young man obsessed with death, but Maude—Maude is a Holocaust survivor who still believes in joy and “trying something new every day.” She was the original Manic Pixie Dream Girl, only 100X more compelling than any that followed. If you’ve had a rough day and are only seeing the dark side of the known universe, Maude will inspire you to do something positive, super-fun and possibly illegal. Also, the Cat Stevens soundtrack is delightful, especially “If You Want to Sing Out.” If you haven’t seen the movie, you can stream it right now on Amazon.
Video: Scenes from Harold and Maude, to “If You Want to Sing Out” by Cat Stevens.
Maude Lebowski is the super-scholarly feminist artist character played by Julianne Moore in the 1998 film “The Big Lebowski.” As she says so eloquently to The Dude (Jeff Bridges in one of his most memorable roles EVER), “My art has been commended as being strongly vaginal which bothers some men. The word itself makes some men uncomfortable. Vagina.” Then she has sex with The Dude so she can conceive a child. The Dude is rather surprised by this development, but he’s also a good sport. Julianne Moore completely owns this character, and you can see for yourself on Amazon or Netflix.
Maude Flanders is not exactly inspiring, but she is exactly the kind of nice, sexy Christian woman you’d expect to see on The Simpsons. She is the wife of ultra-well-meaning Ned Flanders and she once went to Bible camp to learn how to be more judgmental. She also had some serious sex mojo and a thing for low-cut dresses that led to Homer ogling her generous cleavage on at least once occasion. Sadly, she came to an untimely, yet perfect, end: death by t-shirt cannon. As only a Simpson character could.
Maude Ewing Adams Kiskadden (stage name “Maude Adams”) was an actor who became famous playing Peter Pan in in the first Broadway production of Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, in 1904. Her embodiment of the original man-child helped her become the most successful and highest-paid performer of the time–at her peak, she made more than a million dollars per year. Not too shabby. She performed in other J.M. Barrie shows, too, but Peter Pan was among the most popular. She never made it onto the silver screen, although she certainly was asked to the dance.
We’re guessing that other very important Maudes are out there. If we find out who they are, we’ll let you know pronto.