Bea Arthur Was a Secret Marine
Actress later denied serving, when asked
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 10, 2010 10:35 AM CST
This 1985 file photo originally released by NBC shows cast members of the television series "Golden Girls," clockwise from left, Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan, Betty White and Estelle Getty.   (AP Photo/NBC, File)
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(Newser) – 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.