Golden Girls star Bea Arthur has died of cancer at the age of 86 at her home in Los Angeles.

Arthur gained fame for playing the sharp tongued Dorothy Zbornak in Golden Girls which ran from 1985 to 1992 and tackled controversial issues such as abortion and civil rights.

Her success on the show about four old-aged woman and their lives in Miami led to her being given her own show Maude which was also a hit in the US.

Arthur won two Emmy Awards for the roles and also picked up a Tony award for her performance in the 1966 musical Mame.

Speaking to the Associated Press, her publicist Dan Watt said: "She was a brilliant and witty woman. Bea will always have a special place in my heart."

The actress married twice and is survived by her two sons and two granddaughters.

26/04/2009 11:10:33