Who would have thought that these A-list superstars were former military men who have served and risked their lives for their country and its people? Let us pay tribute to some of these famous Military Veterans who did their jobs with flying colors even if the cameras are off and the films are not rolling.
6 Famous Hollywood Stars who are Military Veterans
1. Clint Eastwood: Swimming Instructor, U.S. Army
Who would have guessed that “DIRTY HARRY” once strutted his stuff during the Korean War? Yes, Clint Eastwood was stationed at Fort Rod in California when he was drafted in 1950 during the Korean War. Clint served as a swimming instructor because of his training as a lifeguard. His lifeguard training and talent in swimming also served as his lifeline when the airplane bomber he was in crashed in the ocean near Point Reyes in 1951. Clint and the pilot survived the crash and both swam to the nearest shore which was 3 miles away.
Hollywood Military Roles: Heartbreak Ridge (1986), Kelly’s Heroes (1970), Where Eagles Dare (1968)
2. Gene Hackman: Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps
This guy really wanted to be in the Military! When Gene Hackman was just 16 years old, he lied about his age to join the Marines. He served as a radio field operator for almost five years. He was even stationed in Japan, China, and Hawaii. His first taste of show business was when he served as a DJ on the then Armed Forces Network.
Hollywood Military Roles: Behind Enemy Lines (2001), Crimson Tide (1995), The Package (1989), Bat (1988)
3. Paul Newman: Radioman/Gunner, U.S. Navy
Paul Newman always wanted to be a fighter jet pilot. So, he enrolled in a Navy program to fulfill his dream. Sadly he was disqualified from the program because he was color-blind. Instead of quitting, he enlisted himself and he became a radioman and later a gunner. He was deployed in Hawaii and stationed to torpedo bombers in 1944. A year later, in the Battle of Okinawa, Paul Newman was on the USS Bunker Hill, the largest amphibious assault in the pacific theater.
Hollywood Military Roles: The Rack (1956), Until They Sail (1957), Fat Man and Little Boy (1989)
4. Sir Alec Guinness: Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve
The “FORCE” was strong with this one! Before Sir Alec Guinness became Obi Wan Kenobi and taught Luke Skywalker to “USE THE FORCE” in the Star Wars movies, he was an infantry landing craft pilot in the Mediterranean. Sir Alec Guinness was already a theater actor before he joined the Royal Navy in 1939. During the invasion of Italy in 1943, he landed more than 200 British soldiers on the beaches of Sicily. In one of his voyages in 1944, his boat was caught in a hurricane near the coast of Italy. After successfully guiding his boat into the harbor and got out to safety, his boat was thrown into the rocky shoreline and was smashed to pieces.
Hollywood Military Roles: The Bridge on the River Kwai, Tunes of Glory, Hitler: The Last Ten Days
5. Elvis Presley: Private, U.S. Army
Elvis Presly was already on his way to becoming the KING OF ROCK ‘N’ ROLL when he received his draft notice in 1958. After finishing the film “King Creole”, Elvis was ordered to report at Ford Hood where he received his basic military training. After finishing his training, the King of Rock joined the 3rd Armored Division stationed in Friedberg, Germany. During his time in the service, Elvis donated all his Army pays to charity.
Hollywood Military Role: G.I. Blues (1960)
6. Ronald Reagan: Captain, U.S. Army
Before Ronald Reagan was a Hollywood actor and later became the 40th President of the United States of America, he was first a soldier. Enlisting himself into the Army in 1937, Reagan was already a Second Lieutenant when World War II started. Reagan was never assigned abroad because he was nearsighted. He was assigned in Culver City, California as an armed forces PR.
Hollywood Military Roles: This is the Army (1943), Hellcats of the Navy (1957)