Sunday, May 30, 2010

Entertainers & Celebrities Who Served In Our Military

This Memorial Day weekend it's very important to ponder the fact that many entertainers and famous personalities once served our nation in our military.

Here's a few notable examples:

Bill Schonely: The famous Portland Trailers announcer and Northwest voice-over celebrity served in the United States Marine Corps and was stationed at Guam.

Larry Flynt: The founder of Hustler Nightclubs and the popular men's magazine HUSTLER used a counterfeit birth certificate to join the U.S. Army at the tender age of 15. Because the nation was not at war at time, the U.S. military eventually discharged Flynt and many other soldiers who planned to be career soldiers, so while still under 18 of age, Flynt enlisted in the United States Navy and served duty as a radar operator on the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise.

Forrest J. Ackerman: The founder of FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND Magazine was not only a huge collector of horror and science fiction movie props, but he enlisted in the United States Army in 1942 and served three years defending freedom.

Captain Lou Albano: The late great tough as nails wrestling icon known for his long beard tied with a rubber band enlisted in the U.S. Army to defend this nation.

Marty Allen: The short and heavy set little comic was actually a great U.S. Army Air Corps military hero. He earned a military medal for extreme heroism after an aircraft caught fire while refueling. He might have been short of height, but Allen certainly had the bravery of a giant. Allen acted with such bravery that he was honored with a full dress military parade in his honor.

Dan Blocker: The big son on NBC's hugely popular BONANZA Western, stood all of 6 foot 3 inches. He also served this nation as a soldier during the Korean War. Strangely, Rob Zombie eventually purchased the home of Blocker who died suddenly at the young age of just 42 from a serious medical incident.

Jimi Hendrix and Billy Cox: The two guitar greats met while serving in the U.S. Army, and played music entertaining their fellow soldiers, and the two later formed The Band Of Gypsys shortly before the death of Hendrix in 1970.

Art Carney: The lovable comic who played Norton in THE HONEYMOONERS was wounded during the battle of Normandy and walked for the rest of his life with a limp after one leg was torn open by shrapnel.

Bob Crane: The controversial actor not only played a soldier on TV, but served our nation in the Army Reserves after he enlisted.

Charles Durning: The versatile actor with a long acting career was seriously wounded during WWII while serving in combat as an infantryman. He also served in the invasion at Normany. His service to this nation earned three Purple Hearts and a Silver Cross. Durning was later wounded by a land mine with serious injuries, but refused to seek a military discharge and fought for freedom once again during the Battle Of The Bulge. Durning was wounded again in this battle, and spent time in military hospitals until 1946, well after the war ended. Durning is perhaps one of the bravest entertainers ever to serve in the U.S. Army. He survived death several times in combat to star in over 100 films.

John Fogerty: While known for his antiwar views, former CCR musical great was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1966 but chose to serve in the Army Reserves instead. He was honorably discharged in 1967 and resumed his musical career. From 1959 to 1966 Fogerty headed a band known as the Golliwogs. But, after his military service stint , resumed the band under the new name Creedence Clearwater Revival with his brother Tom on rhythm guitar, and Stu Cook on bass and Cliff Clifford on drums.

Screamin' Jay Hawkins: The shock rock pioneer served in the United States Air Force in the Pacific during WWII. He often entertained the troops because of his immense talents, but was taken prisoner and tortured by the Japanese. When his camp was liberated, Hawkins reportedly decided to take a little revenge on his chief torturer by taping a hand grenade to his mouth, pulling out the pin and blowing his head off. Maybe not the most professional conduct for a soldier, but no doubt a satisfying way to resolve some war crimes conduct that would likely have resulted in a hanging or firing squad.

Ice-T: Acclaimed rapper and actor Ice-T served this nation four four years as a U.S. Army Ranger after joining the military.

Clint Eastwood: The great actor and film director served in the U.S. Army during The Korean War.

Don Knotts: Although the late great comic actor was once rumored to have served in the USMC, the truth according to Wikipedia is that he actually served in the U.S. Army in WWII. Knotts apparently mostly worked as an entertainer.

Jack Warden: The late actor served as a paratrooper in an elite army unit during WWII and saw action during the Battle Of The Bulge despite suffering an injury due to a hard parachute landing into a fence in France.

Hugh Hefner: The founder of PLAYBOY magazine served in the U.S. Army during WWII, and used his skills as a top notch writer to do help publish a military paper that supported the war effort.

James(Jimmy)Stewart: The highly acclaimed actor rose to the rank of Brigadier General in the Army Air Force Reserves during WWII.

Many celebrities had service to this nation that was unknown to their many fans who only know them for their entertainment contributions. On this Memorial Day, it's so good to reflect on the sacrifice of many entertainers to the cause of freedom.