Before the late and oh-so-great Bea Arthur was an earth angel and international treasure, she was a truck driving marine who went by her birth name Bernice Frankel. Even in her afterlife, Bea Arthur is finding ways to capture more real estate in my heart and it’s working! But if you ever asked Bea Arthur about her marine days, she’d firmly shake her head NO and remember your face so that she can slap it after you pass through the gates of heaven. The Smoking Gun documented Bea Arthur’s 30 months with the marines starting in 1943. For whatever reason, Bea has always denied serving in the armed forces and took it to HER GRAVE!!!!
Bea enlisted in the marines in 1943 after she found out there were positions for women available. Bea was one of the first members of the Women’s Reserve and she started out as a typist, but also worked as a truck driver for a little while. Bea worked her way up to staff sergeant before she was honorably discharged (FYI: All of Bea’s discharges were honorable, thankyouverymuch) in 1945. There’s two really good parts in The Smoking Gun’s story. The first being that during enlistment interviews officials found Arthur to be a know-it-all hard bitch who spits on authority. Can you tell from the “Don’t Fuck With Me, Boys” smirk she’s throwing in the picture above?
As part of the enlistment process, Arthur underwent interviews that resulted in the production of “personality appraisal” sheets. One such analysis described her conversation as “Argumentative” and her attitude and manner as “Over aggressive.” In a handwritten note, the Marine interviewer remarked, “Officious–but probably a good worker–if she has her own way!”
Now that is the Dorothy Zbornak we all pray to before we go to bed! And the second good part involves an STD!
The military records, released in response to a Freedom of Informaton Act request, include a single “misconduct report” filed against Arthur while she was stationed at the Marine Corps Air Station in Cherry Point, North Carolina. That misconduct determination stemmed from Arthur’s contracting of a venereal disease, which left her “incapacitated for duty” for five weeks in late-1944. As a result, her pay was reduced for that period.
Bea was married at the time so don’t you call her Sgt. Dirty Slut! No, really, don’t, because then Blanche Devereaux will get pissed off since that title rightfully belongs to her.
Nobody really knows why Bea refused to acknowledge that she was once a truck driving marine. Shit, if I was a truck driving marine, I’d shout it everywhere and anywhere. But who knows and who cares. Bea has her reasons and that’s good enough for me. Below is Bea denying her military life during an interview with the TV Academy.
I LOVE IT! I love that right after the women asks her about it, Bea slightly turns her head and thinks to herself: “THIS NOSY BITCH. May she never enjoy cheesecake again!” And I don’t think she did. The cheesecake curse!