Secret Past

Bea Arthur Was a Marine

Who knew? Golden Girls star Bea Arthur always denied rumors that she’d served in the military, but newly released records prove that she spent 30 months in the Marine Corps. According to a letter written by Arthur, in 1943 she heard “that enlistments for women in the Marines were open, so [she] decided the only thing to do was to join.” The 21-year-old was one of the first members of the Marine Corps’ Women’s Reserve, and served as a typist and truck driver, working her way up the ranks to staff sergeant until she was honorably discharged in 1945. The documents, revealed after a Freedom of Information Act request, include a report that Arthur was considered “argumentative” by higher ups. Arthur, who played “Dorothy” in the popular series, died last year at age 86.