Having just recently celebrating the 4th of July, I am reminded of our country’s military and the many, many sacrifices they have made over the course of America’s history!
Ever grateful for their dedication and willingness to serve, all through the ranks, whether they are Privates or Generals, we have much to be thankful for!
Thinking of the military and the ranks of our servicemen and woman, I am often reminded of the episode of The Golden Girls when Dorothy helps Sophia with delivering food to shut-ins. When Dorothy sees a young and viral man stepping out to get his food, she questions him. He is obviously not elderly or crippled and on the outside appears healthy enough to be able to go out into the world. Dorothy’s response to his questions as to why she is interrogating him is: “Sergeant Zbornak, Food Police!” That line cracks me up every time I hear it!
How true that statement was for Bea Arthur. You see GG fans, before her acting career, Bea Arthur was a U.S. Marine! According to a website that publishes factual information about all sorts of things, Bea Arthur, whom at the time was going by Bernice Frankel enlisted in the U.S.M.C. [W.R.] at the age of 21 in 1943. During her 30 months of service, Bea was “one of the first members of the Women’s Reserve and spent time as a typist and a truck driver”. Bea went from a Private all the way up to a Staff Sergeant during her time as a Marine.
So, it is a little surprising that Bea Arthur spent the rest of her life DENYING that fact that she ever served time as a U. S. Marine or any other branch of the military! Perhaps her “honorable discharge” may have a little bit to do with it. Now here is where the story gets really juicy!
About a year into her service, Bea met and married her first husband, a fellow Marine, Private Robert Aurthur (Bea had her name changed to Bea Aurthur that was later changed to Arthur after her military career). At some point she was stationed in Cherry Point, North Carolina. It was during this time that our dear Bea had a “misconduct report” issued against her! It seems that Miss Bea had contacted a venereal disease that left her unable to report for duty for five weeks. This led to the misconduct report and a decrease in her pay for that period of time.
I must admit that I had my doubts about this, until I looked further into it. Apparently there is a law called ‘The Freedom of Information Act’, which gives people the right to access information from the Federal Government. This allows citizens to be aware and know what it is going on. According to the website I was using to research, through ‘The Freedom of Information Act’, they were able to access Bea Arthur’s actual file from her short role starring as a Marine! In said ‘file’, were papers and documents proving she had been in the military, things such as finger prints, Discharge Papers, Misconduct Papers, Marine Qualifications Card, a letter written by Bea Arthur herself and other things.
Like I stated before, after Bea was Honorably Discharged from the military, she spent the rest of her life denying the fact that she ever served in the military. Could it have been because she was embarrassed by her Misconduct report? Or perhaps the fact that she was discharged, albeit honorably. Could have been the combination of the two or the fact that the discharge and the misconduct was a product of her contracting a venereal disease. The following link is to the website where I got a lot of information for this article, but also, it fascinated me to see the documents, her actual hand writing and photos from a time in Bea’s life when she was NOT on a stage and under the lights of stardom! (You may have to copy and paste to your browser.) http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documents/celebrity/bea-arthur-was-truck-driving-marine
The link also has a small clip of an interview where Bea denied the fact that she had ever served in the military. In that same interview she admitted that she started school in 1947…four years after her 21st birthday, and four years after she may or may not have enlisted. What do you think? As for me, I’m proud to be an American and proud to say that one of my all-time favorite actresses and part of THE Golden Girls, once served our country!