Photo: Was Bea Arthur a Marine?

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Bea Arthur was in the Marines? Who knew? According to “The Smoking Gun” Bea Arthur was then known by her given name Bernice Frankel and spent thirty months in the Marines. She denied any enlistment time, but “The Smoking Gun” has uncovered her military records from the time she enlisted in the Women’s Reserve back in 1943. She was a truck driver and a typist in the armed forces. “The Smoking Gun” reports:

In a February 1943 letter included in her Marine personnel file, Arthur gave military officials a brief account of her prior employment as a food analyst at a Maryland packing plant, a hospital lab technician, and an office worker at a New York loan company.

A source said that she was slated to start a new job, but “heard last week that enlistments for women in the Marines were open, so decided the only thing to do was join.” According to her personnel file, She was “willing to get in now and do whatever is desired of me until such time as ground schools are organized.” She added, “As far as hobbies are concerned, I’ve dabbled in music and dramatics.”

Yes, back before she was known as Dorothy Zbornak, she was a gun-toting Marine truck driver. I’ll say it again, who knew?!