When remembering Bea Arthur (known best for her role as Dorothy on ‘The Golden Girls’) the last thing that comes to mind is her past. Not much is known about her life before she began her career as an actress. Although she denied it – Bea was enlisted in the Marine Corps as one of the first members of the Women’s Reserve where she served as both a typist and a truck driver.
Golden Girls | Best of Dorothy
Before marrying, and chancing her name to Bea, Arthur was known as Bernice Frankel. In early 1943 (Bea was 21 years old) she caught wind that enlistments in the Marines had opened up to women. She underwent an interview and a personality appraisal where she was reviewed as “argumentative” and, “Officious–but probably a good worker–if she has her own way!” She was then enlisted and assigned to a typist position at headquarters in Wathington D.C. – she was also eventually stationed in Virginia and North Carolina where she assumed a new position as a truck driver. She achieved a staff sergeant rank, and was honorably discharged in September of 1945. During her time of service she also married a Private by the name of Robert Arthur – at that time she had her name formally changed in military records.
Although serving her country is something that many would think she should take pride in, Bea was always discreet about her history in the Marines, and publicly denied her service in the military.
Bea Arthur | Questioned About Her Past In The Military