Bea Arthur: “One Hell of a Marine”

October 26, 2023

(internet image)

~ 1922-2009
~ Bea Arthur was an Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress who starred in the television shows ‘Maude’ (ran for 6 seasons) and ‘The Golden Girls.’ (seven years)
~ appeared on All the in Family, and her character Maude received a spin-off show which dealt with topics like women’s rights and abortion
~ Known for her sharp wit, Arthur first attracted notice for her performance in the off-Broadway production of The Threepenny Opera in 1954
~ after Golden Girls, she made guest appearances on Malcolm in the Middle, Curb Your Enthusiasm,


Before she became a famous actress in classic sitcoms like “The Golden Girls”, Bea Arthur served as a truck driver in the United States Marine Corps, women’s reserve during world war 2. She respectively earned Honorable Discharge and was regarded as “One Hell of a Marine”.

~ With her parents’ permission, Bea Arthur, then known as Bernice Frankel, enlisted
~ Bea submitted a handwritten letter, showcasing her dedication to the cause: “I was supposed to start work yesterday, but heard last week that enlistments for women in the Marines were open, so decided the only thing to do was join.” While she hoped to be assigned to ground aviation, she was “willing to get in now and do whatever is desired of me until such time as ground schools are organized.”
~ Bea Arthur attended the first Women’s Reservists school at Hunter College in New York for basic training. She was then sent to the Marine headquarters in Washington, DC, where she worked as a typist. Feeling her past experience would be more valuable elsewhere, she requested a transfer to the Motor Transport School at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. The request was granted in June 1943.
~ A year into her enlistment, Bea married fellow Marine, Private Robert Aurthur. She adopted his surname, requesting it appear on all official military documents. She kept this name after they divorced, altering it slightly into her famous stage name.
~ Between 1944-45, Bea served at the US Marine Corps Air Station (USMCAS) in Cherry Point, North Carolina. While there, she worked as a driver and a dispatcher. According to records, she received just one misconduct report during this time, in late 1944. She’d contracted a venereal disease, which left her “incapacitated for duty” for five weeks. The resulting punishment was a dock in pay for that length of time.

“I believe you’re here on earth for a short time
and while you’re here
you shouldn’t forget it”

~ Bea Arthur

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