Golden Girl Bea Arthur may have passed away back in April of 2009 but the late comedienne is STILL finding ways to surprise us. Did you know that Bea was once a Marine in the US military? Yep, she sure was. For her entire life, Bea denied that she ever served in the military … but we now know she was not being truthful, and why. Here is a photo of the hard-nosed Bea Arthur as a young military woman and some deets about her brave service to our country:
In 1943, when she was 21 and known as Bernice Frankel, Bea Arthur enlisted in the military. Recently unearthed documents reveal she came across as a tough broad, even then. The Smoking Gun obtained the documents from her enlistment and personnel file, in which she wrote that she “heard last week that enlistments for women in the Marines were open, so decided the only thing to do was to join.” She also notes: “As far as hobbies are concerned, I’ve dabbled in music and dramatics.” But most interesting: A personality appraisal! An interviewing officer describes the young Ms. Frankel as “argumentative” and “over aggressive.” Under “General rating on personality,” the officer wrote: “Officious—but probably a good worker—if she has her own way!” A year after she enlisted, Bernice Frankel married fellow marine Private Robert Arthur. As she served as Bernice Arthur, her rank went from private to corporal to sergeant to staff sergeant. It seems that she served her country well — she was honorably discharged in 1945 — but her sole “misconduct” was contracting a venereal disease. Bea Arthur always denied serving in the military — maybe she didn’t want her medical history brought up?
The article I quote here is from Jezebel but you can read more HERE at The Smoking Gun‘s website. To be honest … I don’t even know what to say about this. I hadn’t even heard the rumors that she may have served in the military … and, to be more honest, when I first saw this photo I thought it was a mugshot from an arrest in her youth. I can’t say I’m shocked that Bea was a Marine but … she will always be my Golden Girl. Bea Arthur managed to keep her secret in life but in death we can actually look back and be proud of her service to her country. She was a very special lady …. a very special lady, indeed.