Celebrities Who Served

Lt Tom Ewell, US Navy (1942-1945)

Lt Tom Ewell, US Navy (1942-1945)

Tom Ewell, of the United States Navy between 1942 and 1945, interrupted a successful career as a stage actor in order to protect the merchant shipping vital to the country’s war effort as part of the US Navy Armed Guard. Born Samuel Yewell Tompkins in Kentucky during the year 1909, he was expected to join the family professions (either law or tobacco and whiskey dealing) but instead pursued acting. In 1928, he began acting in summer stock while attending the University of Wisconsin. Determined...

read more
Maj Clark Gable, US Air Force (1942-1947)

Maj Clark Gable, US Air Force (1942-1947)

Clark Gable, of the US Army Air Force between 1942 and 1947, is best known as the ‘King of Hollywood’, the womanizing man’s man with a filmography of over 60 productions. However, he had a passion for flying combat missions and defied death in World War II. Born William Clark Gable in 1901, his father Will was an oil-well driller living in Cadiz, Ohio. Baptized Catholic, his mother Adeline died when he was just ten months old, and his father refused to raise him in the faith. Gable’s father...

read more
PO3 Isaac Sidney (Sid) Caesar, U.S. Coast Guard (1939-1945)

PO3 Isaac Sidney (Sid) Caesar, U.S. Coast Guard (1939-1945)

Born in 1922, Caesar was the youngest of three children born to the Ziser family, who were Jewish immigrants who settled in Yonkers, NY. His parents ran a 24-hour luncheonette, and Caesar spent a lot of time around its diverse clientele. From a young age he developed a knack for imitating the cadence and accents of the customers, while speaking in gibberish vaguely reminiscent of their native languages. Caesar himself spoke only English and Yiddish, but could perform this ‘double-talk’, as he...

read more
SSgt John (Johnny) R. Cash, U.S. Air Force (1950-1954)

SSgt John (Johnny) R. Cash, U.S. Air Force (1950-1954)

The legend who would become Johnny Cash was born in 1932 into the Cash family of poor cotton farmers in Kingsland, Arkansas. Known simply as J.R. growing up, Cash graduated high school in 1950 and joined the US Air Force with the Korean War raging. Unable to sign up under an initial, he gave his name as ‘John R. Cash’. He completed basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, which is the same time he met the young woman that would become his first wife, Vivian Liberto, at a roller rink....

read more
LCdr John (Jackie) Cooper, U.S. Navy (1943-1982)

LCdr John (Jackie) Cooper, U.S. Navy (1943-1982)

Born in Los Angeles in 1922, Cooper was born into a family of entertainers and became a child actor while very young, accompanying his grandmother to her auditions. His first actual credit was in 1929, in the short film Boxing Gloves, part of the Our Gang series of comedic films directed by Hal Roach. Jackie’s stock rose and he took larger and larger roles in these shorts, leading in The First Seven Years (1930) and When The Wind Blows (1930). In 1931 Cooper’s uncle, director Norman Taurog,...

read more
Col Frank Capra, U.S. Army (1918-1945)

Col Frank Capra, U.S. Army (1918-1945)

Frank Capra, who served in the US Army between 1918 and 1945, is perhaps most well-known for his direction of classic Americana films It’s A Wonderful Life and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. However, his greatest contribution to American culture may be the documentary series he produced during World War II for the Allied forces: Why We Fight. Born in Bisacquino, Sicily, in 1897, Francesco Rosario Capra was the youngest of seven children born to the Capra household: humble fruit growers. In...

read more
Sgt Drew Carey, U.S. Marine Corps (1980-1986)

Sgt Drew Carey, U.S. Marine Corps (1980-1986)

Drew Carey, who served in the US Marine Corps between 1980 and 1986, may be better recognized as the host of the game show The Price is Right, or for his previous work as host of improv comedy show Whose Line is it Anyway? It might surprise some to learn, however, that his distinctive haircut and glasses are artifacts from his years of service as a Marine.Born the youngest of three sons to the Carey family of Old Brooklyn in Cleveland, Ohio, at the age of eight Carey lost his father Lewis to a...

read more
Cpl William (Bill) Ralph Blass, U.S. Army (1943-1945)

Cpl William (Bill) Ralph Blass, U.S. Army (1943-1945)

William (or Bill) Ralph Blass who served in the US Army between 1943 and 1945 is better known for his contributions to the fashion industry. However, his efforts during World War II are as remarkable as they are unusual. William Ralph Blass was born on June 22 1922, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. His father was a traveling salesman, his mother a dressmaker. Sadly, Blass’ father committed suicide when Bill was 5. Bill took after his mother, sketching Hollywood-inspired fashions in the margins of his...

read more
PO2 Jeff Bridges, U.S Coast Guard Reserves (1967-1975)

PO2 Jeff Bridges, U.S Coast Guard Reserves (1967-1975)

Jeff Bridges, who served in the US Coast Guard Reserves between 1967 and 1975, was a showbiz presence before he ever put on a uniform. The son of renowned Hollywood actor Lloyd Bridges, both his brother Beau and Jeff made appearances with their father on the TV series Sea Hunt between 1958 and 1960. Perhaps it was his father’s Coast Guard Auxiliary experience, combined with the Coast Guard role Lloyd played on the show, that influenced young Jeff’s choice to enlist as a young adult. The...

read more
LCpl Orville Richard Burrell (aka Shaggy), U.S. Marine Corps (1988-1992)

LCpl Orville Richard Burrell (aka Shaggy), U.S. Marine Corps (1988-1992)

Orville Richard Burrell, also known as Shaggy, who served on the US Marine Corps between 1988 and 1992, came to live in Brooklyn as a teenager after leaving his home of Jamaica. While he showed early musical promise, he was in need of steady income, and the Marines were happy to take him. Born on October 22 1968 in Kingston, Jamaica, Orville took singing lessons as a teen and discovered a natural talent. He earned the nickname ‘Shaggy’ because of his untamed hair, after the Scooby-Doo...

read more