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And Then There’s Maude…

NE OF NORMAN LEAR’S MOST MEMORABLE creations for CBS, Maude Findlay was the prototypical second-wave feminist. Played to pantsuited perfection by theater legend Bea Arthur, she was also the classic ’70s bleeding-heart, which ran from 1972 to 1978, was a cultural touchstone, playing against a backdrop of , the Equal Rights Amendment fight, Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman,” and the Riggs-King Battle of the Sexes tennis match. If “You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby” wasn’t exactly Maude’s jam, her sitcom picked up on that ubiquitous Virginia Slims ad campaign’s seamless blend of feminism and fashion. Maude’s outspoken chic was central to her character, and what she wore then resonates today. The looks projected confidence, comfort, and an uncensored spirit. She wore the pants; the pants didn’t wear her.

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