Bea appeared in the 1974 turkey "Mame" with Lucille Ball, and in 1978 she played Ackmena in the Star Wars Holiday Special. She overcame this to appear as the character "Maude" in the December 11, 1971 episode of All in the Family with Isabel Sanford. This led to her own show, called Maude, which co-starred Bill Macy, Conrad Bain, Esther Rolle, Adrienne Barbeau, and Rue McClanahan, who played her best friend Viv.
Rue joined her in the 1985 series Golden Girls along with Estelle Getty and Betty White.
You can get more information about Bea here.