A Marine's Story: Staff Sergeant Beatrice "Bea" Arthur

Staff Sergeant Beatrice "Bea" Arthur was born Bernice Frankel, on May 13, 1922, in Brooklyn, New York.

While young, her family relocated to Cambridge, Massachuttes and she attended the Linden Hall School for Girls in Lititz, Pennsylvania.

In early 1943, in response to WWII, she enlisted in the U.S Marines and was assigned to office duties and truck driving.  She received an honorable discharge in 1945 at the war's end.

Staff Sergeant Arthur began working as an actress after her service, beginning with the off-Broadway Cherry Lane Theater, quickly moving to Broadway performances, including the 1964 premiere of Fiddler on the Roof.

Moving to television, she became known for playing the outspoken feminist Maude (Edith's cousin) in the series All in the Family.  The character Maude was ultimately spun off to its own sitcom, which earned her several Emmys and a Golden Globe.    Her most famous role began in 1985 which she was cast as Dorothy in the Golden Girls.

After the Golden Girls sitcom ended, she continued to act, mostly as a guest star. Her acting career of seven decades is admirable in an industry known to churn through people quickly.

A committed animal rights activist, she was also a well-known feminist and advocate for the elderly. Staff Sergeant Beatrice Arthur died on April 25, 2009, from cancer.  Her ashes are spread throughout Miami, Florida.