Before She Was A "Golden Girl," Bea Arthur Was One Of The First Female Marines

Nov 10, 2015 By Hannah Austin

We know her as Bea Arthur, but before she was the star of TV shows like All in the Family and The Golden Girls, she was a girl named Bernice Frankel. Born in 1922, Bea was just coming of age when World War II broke out in the fall of 1939. Eager to serve her country, the feisty young woman became one of the United States’ first ever female Marines.

Although Bea would later deny it, she served as a truck driver and typist in the United States Marine Corp Women’s Reserve for 30 months. 

Trek to the Troops

Here is her 1943 Marine identification card. For reasons unknown, Bea received an Honorable Discharge in 1945. 

The Smoking Gun

However, some Marine Corps entrance interviews hint that an “argumentative” personality might have been to blame. It was a trait viewers would come to love when she joined the cast of All in the Family in 1971 as outspoken feminist Maude Findlay. 



Although Maude became a successful spin-off show, staying on the air for six seasons and winning multiple awards, the real fame came when The Golden Girls premiered in 1985. 


It’s hard to think of any TV show that’s ever made us laugh as hard as this one. Although Bea passed away in 2009, her legacy – from serving her country to becoming a much-loved television figure – will never be forgotten. 


Watch one of our favorite Golden Girls moments below – it always makes us laugh and cry! Farewell to Bea/ Dorothy … they’ll never be another like you. 

Via: American Overlook

Trending Today: