We celebrate all the troops in the armed forces including some familiar faces with some celebrities that served in the armed forces with some you may know and others that can shock you. These celebrities are honored for being influential in the entertainment industry and in the military.
Clint Eastwood is known for creating his acting career during the age of spaghetti westerns and playing a cowboy. Before Eastwood’s first acting role in 1955, he was drafted into the Army during the Korean War but didn’t see much combat being assigned as a swim instructor at a military base in California.
Gene Wilder is known as one of the greatest entertainers in American history but is also a veteran. Before Wilder pursued the entertainment industry, he was drafted into the Army in 1956 serving as a medic at a U.S. Army hospital.
One of the most famous veterans is the king of rock ’n’ roll himself, Elvis Presley. The famous musician created his first album in 1956 and in 1958 decided to join the Army. Presley was initially approached with an opportunity to fulfill his service through performing for troops while serving a recruiting model, but he chose to serve as a common soldier. Presley served for the Army from 1958 to 1960 and shortly returned to his music career that was during the height of his popularity.
The king of comedy and satire Mel Brooks is known for his outrageous movies being a groundbreaker in Hollywood with his unique style of comedy. Before pursuing his career in the entertainment industry, Brooks enlisted in the Army right out of high school with the intelligence scores that assigned him to a specialized unit. During his time in service, Brooks was fighting from the front in Europe and fought heavy combat including the Battle of the Bulge.
Another actor from the golden age of Hollywood, Clark Gable, was famous overnight for his portrayal of Rhett Butler in the timeless classic film “Gone With the Wind” (1939) but is also known for his military accolades. Gable’s wife died in a plane crash in 1942 and he decided to leave his career for acting to enlist in the Army Air Force at the age of 41. During Gable’s time in service in World War II, he works as a tail gunner during five missions over Germany and also helped create propaganda films for the U.S. military.
Leonard Nimoy is well-known for playing Spock on the timeless TV series “Star Trek” but he also was enlisted in the Army Reserves in the early 1950s as the actual date was lost following fire damage to his documents. Nimoy stepped up ranks becoming the leader of a platoon and was discharged in 1955 with a high rank of sergeant.
Bob Newhart is a beloved American actor starting with his sitcom “The Bob Newhart Show” along with a couple of namesake entertainment shows during his early career. Newhart is still a working actor known for his roles in movies such as “Elf,” “Legally Blonde 2,” and “Horrible Bosses.”
With a long list of acting credits, Newhart was also drafted to serve in the Army during the Korean War from 1952-1954. After completing his military service, Newhart returned to acting to be featured in many major movies.
Chuck Norris created his reputation starting in 1968 as an action star acting in some of the best fight scenes to brace the silver screen. Norris is well-known for his role in the “Missing in Action” movie franchise and the TV series “Walker, Texas Ranger.”
Before getting into the entertainment industry, Norris served in 1958-1962 for the Air Force in Korea where he was introduced to martial arts. Norris went on to make history as the first Westerner to be awarded an eight-degree black belt in the Korean fighting style of taekwondo.
Jeff Bridges is a well-known actor starting his career in1951 and by 1967 at the age of 18 Bridges traveled to New York with the hope of attending Herbert Beregh of Studio while also joining the Coast Guard Reserves. Bridges came from a family with his brother and father both served for the Coast Guard while Bridges recalled his service on the sea with grueling conditions.
Sammy Davis Jr. built his reputation as an entertainer starting with the famous Rat Pack being talented in singing and acting being featured in movies including “Oceans 11” and “Sergeants 3.” He built a successful entertainment career until being drafted into the Army during World War II. Along with serving the military for his country, he would also entertain the troops to help raise moral.