Open main menu

Maude Findlay (née Chadbourne; formerly Hilliard) is a fictional character and the main title character on the controversial 1970s sitcom Maude. She was portrayed by the Emmy-winning actress Bea Arthur.

Maude Chadbourne Findlay
First appearance"Cousin Maude's Visit" (All in the Family)
Last appearance"Maude's Big Move: Part 3" (Maude)
Portrayed byBea Arthur
NicknameMaudie (referred to as such by Arthur Harmon and was given nickname by her late aunt Gertrude)
OccupationHousewife, Congresswoman
FamilyFlorence Chadbourne (mother; deceased)
Philip Traynor (grandson)
Edith Bunker (cousin)
Gertrude Baines (cousin)
Helen Baines (cousin)
Gertrude (aunt)
Henry (uncle)
Marta Findlay (aunt by marriage)
Lola Ashburn (aunt)
SpouseBarney (1945–1950)
Chester (1952–1954)
Albert Hilliard (7 months)
Walter Findlay (1968–present)
ChildrenCarol Traynor


All in the FamilyEdit

Maude Findlay first appeared on All in the Family in December 1971, in the second-season episode, "Cousin Maude's Visit", and is the cousin of Edith Bunker. Maude cared for Edith, but disliked her husband, Archie Bunker. Archie and Maude were both known for getting on each other's nerves, especially since she was a liberal and Archie was a conservative. Because she was a liberal, Maude was also an ally of Edith's daughter, Gloria (Sally Struthers) and her husband, Mike (Rob Reiner).

In her first appearance on All in the Family, it was said that Maude was widowed twice. Her first husband, Fred, died of a brain aneurysm, and her second husband, Bert, died of a heart seizure. (Archie remarked they both had smiles on their faces at their respective funerals.) When Maude premiered, Fred was now renamed Barney and Bert became Albert Hilliard, her third husband. A second appearance on All in the Family (the final episode of the second season) depicting Archie and Edith visiting Maude for a family wedding, essentially set up the premise for the forthcoming series.


Maude debuted on CBS on September 12, 1972. On her own show, Maude lives in Tuckahoe, New York, and is married to Walter Findlay (Bill Macy), the owner and operator of an appliance store called Findlay's Friendly Appliances. They met during the Democratic National Convention, where she had ardently supported Hubert Humphrey. Before she met Walter, she had dated a writer named Russell Asher (Cesare Danova), a womanizer who had jilted her in Central Park.

Walter's marriage to Maude was his second. His previous wife was a gold digger named Marta (Carole Cook), to whom Walter was married for eleven years and was paying alimony to when he married Maude. Marta, who was as greedy as she had ever been, was engaged to Maude's wealthy Uncle Henry, much to Maude's horror. After Henry made it clear that he truly loved Marta and didn't mind her golddigging, Maude began to accept the idea of welcoming her into the family.

Walter ended up incurring Maude's unmatched wrath on numerous occasions, including when he had the nerve to call her Sylvia, in the first-season episode "Like Mother, Like Daughter".

Maude's recently divorced daughter, Carol Traynor, was portrayed by Marcia Rodd in the second All in the Family appearance (entitled "Maude"); Adrienne Barbeau, took the role over once the series Maude began. Carol's son, Philip (Brian Morrison; Kraig Metzinger), also live with the couple.

Carol, who was once married to a man named Pete, who was Philip's father (later the name was changed to Vernon, and was played by actor Charles Siebert, in the sixth-season episode "Carol's Dilemma"), was the product of Maude's first marriage to a man named Barney, whom Maude did not really like, she often mentioned that he was "a wacko you wouldn't BELIEVE!". Her second marriage to Chester lasted six years. Maude had been married four times in all: Walter was her fourth husband. Adrienne Barbeau's character was much like her mother's character, too, was liberal and clearly shared her mother's opinions, although at times, they would clash.

At one point, (in the aforementioned episode, "Like Mother, Like Daughter") Carol had dated Maude's old boyfriend, Russell Asher, which distressed Maude. However, after a fight in which Russell called Carol by her mother's name, she saw him for what he really was, a "conceited pompous bore" and both Carol and Maude threw him out of their lives for good. In the series' second season, Carol had a serious relationship with a man named Chris (Fred Grandy), a pediatrician from Boston, to whom she was engaged for a time.

The often loud and opinionated Maude would often tell someone, usually husband Walter, "God'll get you for that!" (this line served as her catch phrase, other catch phrases included "Watch it!", when someone was about to say something she wouldn't like; "TIME!", when someone would go too far and make a remark about her age, and "I'll rip his/her heart out!!!", when she was really angry with someone): but she herself would obey very swiftly whenever Walter, who was Maude's polar opposite, meek outside, tiger within, would yell, "Maude!!! Sit!" (The latter served as Walter's catch phrase.)

One of the running gags of the show is whenever Maude answered the phone, people would often mistake her for Walter, due to her voice being at a lower octave. Usually she would say to whomever it was on the phone, "No, this is not Mr. Findlay, this is MRS. Findlay."

During the course of the show, Maude and Walter's marriage would be strained for one reason or another: due to Walter's alcoholism, Walter's business going into bankruptcy, Walter having a heart attack, and Maude's political aspirations.

Walter tended to be rather old-fashioned, despite his earnest attempts at being progressive. Sometimes, he would even go as far as to stoop to emotional blackmail to get Maude to be a more traditional housewife. He wanted to be the breadwinner and couldn't stand it that Maude was a feminist. He also could be shown to be very chauvinistic as well, something which Maude wasn't going to tolerate.

More often as not, Walter's blackmail attempts met with disaster, because it only made Maude more determined to do what she wanted to do. As a result of their clashing wills, Walter and Maude would have some violent arguments in the kitchen which would often end up with some of Maude's priceless china being destroyed.

Some of their fights would also cause damage in other parts of their house (i.e.: the master bedroom windows, where Maude and Walter each threw the other's suitcases through; the kitchen window, which Walter threw a bottle of scotch through).

Maude hired the first housekeeper, Florida Evans, an African-American woman who always had the last laugh at Maude's expense. Florida gave Maude a dose of her own medicine, but Florida always knew Maude was mostly a level-headed woman and had a feminist-like attitude. Florida left in 1974. (Esther Rolle got her own show, Good Times which premiered on February 8, 1974. When Good Times premiered, Florida's character was retconned so that she had always been from Chicago: no mention was made of the Evanses living in Harlem or of her time and employment with the Findlays and her husband, Henry, was renamed James). Maude next hired Nell Naugatuck (Hermione Baddeley), a British housekeeper, who was a widow.

Unlike Florida, who commuted to Tuckahoe from her home in Harlem to work for the Findlays, Mrs. Naugatuck lived with them. She moved in with the Findlays, over Walter's initial objections and had a tendency to drink too much and constantly lie. She won Walter over by being the proper maid, which infuriated Maude. Also, unlike Florida, whom she considered a friend, Maude and Mrs. Naugatuck had a kind of semi-antagonistic relationship, due to the latter's lying, her vulgarity and her constant drinking. They respected one another, although they could get angry at one another.

In the episode called "The Case of the Broken Punch Bowl", both of Mrs. Naugatuck's faults came into play when Maude was trying to find out who broke her Antique Waterford Crystal punch bowl at a party and thanks to Carol, it was proven that Mrs. Naugatuck had deliberately thrown it while drunk and broke it.

Mrs. Naugatuck left in 1977 with her second husband, Bert Beasley (J. Pat O'Malley) to move to Ireland to care for Bert's mother. In the final season (1977–1978), Maude hired Victoria Ramsay Butterfield (Marlene Warfield), whom Maude had accused of pickpocketing while she was in New York and she remained with the series until it ended. Victoria wasn't as popular as her predecessors and wasn't credited during the show.

Maude also had neighbors: The Harmons, Vivian Harmon (Rue McClanahan) and her husband, Dr. Arthur Harmon (Conrad Bain). Maude got along with Vivian, having known her since they were in college: Vivian was well-meaning and compassionate but very scatterbrained. She could also be extremely emotional and cry at the drop of a hat about absolutely anything, no matter how insignificant.

Arthur, Walter's best friend, served as Maude's foil. In the first-season episode, "Doctor, Doctor", Maude explained to Arthur that Maudie had been a hated nickname given by her aunt Gertrude whom she cursed when she was 14 and 33 years later passed on. Arthur's catch phrase was "So, that's it for America, huh?"

Maude and Arthur were always clashing about something: usually dealing with political or moral issues. Arthur could become very bombastic at times when he was confronting Maude. Carol would also join in the argument, usually on Maude's side, although she was able to get along with Arthur better than her mother did (though she could and did get annoyed with him). Walter, although he did agree with Maude, would, on the other hand, tend to side more with Arthur, because of his long-standing friendship with him.

However, in spite of their ideological differences, Arthur showed that he really did care a great deal about Maude. This was evidenced in the episode "Maude's Big Decision" when he compassionately explained to a distraught Maude that she shouldn't feel responsible for Walter, who was an alcoholic, beginning to drink again. "You've got to detach yourself with love, Maudie," Arthur said wisely, "because he's going to drink no matter what you do."

In the episode, which was part of a longer story arc centering on the possible end of the Findlay marriage, Walter had once again stooped to blackmail to get Maude to stop her run for State Senate (the incident which had led to Maude and Walter separating). He told her that if she didn't drop her bid for office, he would walk out on her and never come back. He felt that Maude's only real job was to take care of him and the family and that she had no business doing anything else.

After Vivian made it clear what she thought of Walter's manipulating Maude to drop her Senate bid (she thought it "sucked scissors") and stormed into the kitchen with Mrs. Naugatuck to comfort her friend, Arthur then finally confronted Walter on his selfishness. Walter had bragged about his victory in forcing Maude to give up her plans of running for office. This led to Arthur angrily telling Walter what he really thought about what he was doing to Maude.

However, after watching Maude on TV during a morning show interview with the rest of the family, Walter relented and allowed her to run for office. However, she lost the primary, but supported her former challenger, a James Kunkle, and both celebrated when he won.

Widower Arthur (his late wife's name was Agnes) and Vivian met each other (thanks to Maude) after she divorced her husband, Chuck Cavender after 21 years and the two (Arthur and Vivian) were married in the middle of the second season of Maude (1973–1974).

In the series, Maude mostly dealt with the events happening in her life, but in the most-watched and controversial two-part episode of the first season, entitled Maude's Dilemma, Maude discovered at age 47 that she was pregnant. Maude and her entire family and friends are shocked and Carol tries to persuade Maude to get an abortion, which is now legal in New York. Arthur also tried to convince Walter to get a vasectomy. The episode was seen by an estimated 9.94 million viewers.[citation needed] The show had also dealt with menopause and women's liberation.

A Season Four two-part episode called "Maude's Moods" revealed that Maude has bipolar disorder (then called manic depression). She attempted to run actor Henry Fonda for President and as she did, her moods swung from very high happiness, to the very pits of depression. After sinking Phillip's College fund for her Henry Fonda for President campaign scheme, she was criticized on all sides by Walter, Carol, Arthur and Vivian, who felt that she had been crazy for cleaning out his college fund.

This led Phillip to forcefully stand up for his grandmother, saying that she had done what she had done in a good cause. He then kissed his grandmother. Walter praised his grandson for standing up for her, "Your grandmother needed that," he said, which met with agreement from his mother and the Harmons. She eventually went to see a psychiatrist about her condition.

In the final episode, Maude finally achieved her political goals: She was tapped to take over the unfinished term of Congresswoman Irene McIlhenny (Mary Louise Wilson), who had died in office. Maude and Walter move to Washington, D.C.


In May 2012, Maude was one of the 12 moms chosen by users of iVillage on their list of "Mommy Dearest: The TV Moms You Love".[1]


  1. ^ Garfinkel, Jacki (May 10, 2012). "Mommy Dearest: The TV Moms You Love". iVillage. Retrieved June 17, 2012.

External linksEdit