Born Bernice Frankel, on May 13 1923, Beatrice Arthur is one of three children of Philip and Rebecca Frankel and a native of New York City. During the Depression, when she was about eleven years old, her family, including an older sister and a younger sister, moved from New York to Cambridge, Maryland, where her father opened a clothing store. They were among the very few Jewish residents of that Eastern Shore town. Always tall, the dark-haired girl reached her adult height of five feet nine and a half inches by the time she was twelve. She took refuge from self-consciousness in going to the movies, collecting pictures of Hollywood actors, and daydreaming that she was a small, blonde, beautiful screen star.