Before she was a Golden Girl, Bea Arthur was a Marine. She denied it when asked in interviews, but the Smoking Gun found records showing that Arthur (then Bernice Frankel) served in the Marine Corps for two and a half years, starting in 1943 when she was 21. She was a typist and a truck driver, and was one of the first to serve in the Women’s Reserve, ultimately achieving the rank of staff sergeant.
In a 1943 letter to military officials, Arthur notes that she had “dabbled in music and dramatics.” After enlisting, she married another Marine and took his last name, Aurthur. Of course, she later changed her name again to Bea Arthur, and entered dramatic school in 1947.