Celebrities Who Served

PFC Jerome Silberman (Gene Wilder), U.S. Army, 1956-1958

PFC Jerome Silberman (Gene Wilder), U.S. Army, 1956-1958

In the glittering world of Hollywood, Gene Wilder remains an iconic figure, celebrated for his comedic genius and unforgettable performances. From his iconic roles in classics like "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory" to his collaborations with Mel Brooks in uproarious films like "Young Frankenstein" and "Blazing Saddles," Wilder's legacy is etched in the hearts of movie buffs everywhere. Yet, amidst the laughter and applause, there exists a lesser-known chapter of his life – his service in the United States military. Beyond the screen, Wilder's journey as a soldier reveals a depth of character shaped by discipline, sacrifice, and patriotism. Gene Wilder’s Early Life: From Milwaukee to Basic Training Gene Wilder was born Jerome Silberman on June 11, 1933, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, son of Jeanne (Baer) and William J. Silberman, a manufacturer and salesman of novelty items. His father was a Jewish Russian immigrant, as were his maternal grandparents. Growing up, Wilder and his...

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Col Edward McMahon, U.S. Marine Corps (1941-1966)

Col Edward McMahon, U.S. Marine Corps (1941-1966)

Ed McMahon, the iconic television personality and beloved sidekick to Johnny Carson on "The Tonight Show," was not only a legendary entertainer but also a dedicated patriot who served his country with honor and distinction. Let’s review the remarkable life and military service of Ed McMahon, a man whose laughter resonated across generations. Ed McMahon’s Early Life Born on March 6, 1923, in Detroit, Michigan, Edward Leo Peter McMahon Jr. grew up in a modest household during the Great Depression. His childhood revolved around traveling from town to town with his parents, as his father was a professional fundraiser for charity projects. At a young age, McMahon worked for three years as a carnival barker in Mexico, Maine, before serving as a fifteen-year-old bingo caller in the state. As a boy, he dreamed of becoming an entertainer and did impersonations of stars, using a flashlight as his microphone and his dog, Valiant Prince, as his audience. At 17, McMahon landed his first job as a...

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SM2 Humphrey Bogart, U.S. Navy (1918-1919)

SM2 Humphrey Bogart, U.S. Navy (1918-1919)

While Humphrey Bogart is primarily celebrated for his legendary performances on the silver screen, his contributions off-camera during World War I remain a lesser-known yet significant aspect of his life. Beyond the glitz of Hollywood, Bogart served his country with honor and distinction, embodying courage and resilience. From Privilege to the Stage: The Early Dramas of Humphrey Bogart Humphrey Bogart, born on December 25, 1899, in New York City, had a childhood marked by privilege. His father, Belmont DeForest Bogart, was a prominent cardiopulmonary surgeon, and his mother, Maud Humphrey, was a successful commercial illustrator. However, his parents' marriage was troubled, and they divorced when Bogart was young. Bogart had been poised to enroll at Yale, but his plans were abruptly derailed when he was expelled from Phillips Academy before completing his transfer. Though the specifics surrounding his departure remain ambiguous, Bogart was left with an education cut short and limited...

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Four Famous Veterans Who Died in 2023

Four Famous Veterans Who Died in 2023

As we enter the early months of 2024, we find ourselves pondering the significant losses of the past year. At TogetherWeServed, we take a moment to honor the memories of renowned veterans whose departure deeply impacted both the entertainment industry and the U.S. Military community. While the list below may not encompass every notable veteran lost last year, we are grateful for the enduring legacies of those mentioned. Their lives were characterized by rich experiences and unforgettable moments. At TogetherWeServed, we would like to take a few minutes to remember four famous veterans whose passing was a loss to the entertainment community and their U.S. Military family. Shecky Greene: Guest Hosting “The Tonight Show” Shecky Greene, born Sheldon Greenfield, is celebrated as a comedic legend and veteran of the U.S. Navy. Throughout his illustrious entertainment career, Greene achieved remarkable success as a stand-up comedian, actor, and television personality. Known for his quick wit...

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Sgt Elvis Aaron Presley, U.S. Army (1958-1960)

Sgt Elvis Aaron Presley, U.S. Army (1958-1960)

American singer and actor Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977), widely recognized as The King of Rock-N-Roll, is the celebrity whose military service is probably best known. He enlisted in the US army at the peak of his career, in 1958, when he was already world-famous and had wide success as a rockabilly and rock-n-roll singer also encompassing other genres, including gospel, blues, ballads, and pop music. Elvis Presley: Birth of the Star Elvis Aaron Presley was born on January 8, 1935, in Tupelo, Mississippi. He was a twin, but his brother was stillborn. Elvis had a strong bond with his parents, especially with his mother Gladys. His father Vernon was doing odd jobs, and the family often depended on the goodwill of neighbors or government food support. Elvis was an average student at best, but impressed the teachers with his singing. One of the teachers encouraged him to enter a singing contest, which turned out to be Elvis’s first public appearance at the age of...

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Pvt Burt Young, U.S. Marine Corps (1957-1959)

Pvt Burt Young, U.S. Marine Corps (1957-1959)

You may not recognize the name, but you'll recognize the face. Let's be honest: a Burt Young movie marathon is a day well spent. He appeared in more than 160 roles in 50 years in Hollywood, acting alongside the silver screen's most recognizable names: Jack Nicholson, Robert De Niro, and, of course, Sylvester Stallone.  His credits include "Chinatown," "The Killer Elite" and "Once Upon a Time in America," along with his turn as Paulie in the 1976 film "Rocky." He continued in the role through all of the "Rocky" sequels, but it was his performance in the first film that earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.  The Unlikely Journey from Queens Hoodlum to Hollywood Star Burt Young, born Gerald Tommaso DeLouise on April 30, 1940, in Queens, New York, USA, grew up in a family where his father wore many hats—a sheet metal worker, an iceman, and eventually a high school shop teacher and dean. He has Italian-American heritage, which added authenticity to...

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TSgt Norman Lear, U.S. Army Air Force (1942-1945)

TSgt Norman Lear, U.S. Army Air Force (1942-1945)

Norman Lear, most known for his TV producing as the creator of such shows as All in the Family, The Jeffersons, Maude, Sanford and Son, Different Strokes, Mary Hartman, Mary, One Day at a Time and Good Times, didn't always bask in the glitz of Hollywood. Before crafting iconic television shows, Lear's journey unfolded in the United States Army during World War II. Norman Lear's military service, encompassing various roles and a transformative encounter, marked the inception of a prolific career that spanned seven decades.  Norman Lear’s Early Years Born on July 27, 1922, in New Haven, Connecticut, Norman Milton Lear was 19 years old when the Japanese Nava Air Forces bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941. Raised in a Jewish household, Lear's early years were marked by the Great Depression. His family relocated multiple times during his childhood, finally settling in New Haven. During his formative years at Weaver High School in Hartford, Connecticut, Lear displayed a keen interest in music...

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Cpl Clint Eastwood, U.S. Army (1951-1953)

Cpl Clint Eastwood, U.S. Army (1951-1953)

Clint Eastwood, the renowned actor and director, did not always grace the red carpets of Hollywood. Prior to becoming the legendary "Man with No Name," Eastwood's path unfolded in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. Clint Eastwood's military tenure, spanning from his initial odd jobs to a pivotal encounter, marked the commencement of a 70-year career in the entertainment industry. TogetherWeServed salutes Clint Eastwood for his honorable military service and the indelible mark he has left on the world of entertainment. His legacy serves as a shining example of the incredible achievements that can be realized when talent, hard work, and military values converge. We are proud to celebrate Clint Eastwood's contributions to both our nation and the entertainment industry. Clint Eastwood’s Early Years Clint Eastwood, born on May 31, 1930, at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco, California, to Ruth and Clinton Eastwood, boasts a diverse ancestry—English, Irish, Scottish, and...

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S1C Don Rickles, U.S. Navy (1944-1946), WWII

S1C Don Rickles, U.S. Navy (1944-1946), WWII

Before emerging as the renowned comedy legend celebrated for his wit and humor, Don Rickles navigated a significant chapter in his life that often goes overlooked. Long before his name became synonymous with laughter, Rickles dutifully answered his country's call by enlisting in the United States Navy during World War II. These military years in the Navy laid the groundwork for the extraordinary career that would later make him a comedy icon adored by audiences worldwide. Don Rickles’s Early Years Donald Jay Rickles was born on May 8, 1926, in New York City. Raised in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens, Rickles grew up in a close-knit Jewish family. Despite the financial challenges posed by the Great Depression, his parents Etta and Max Rickles nurtured his comedic talents, encouraging him to find laughter in everyday situations.  After graduating from Newtown High School, Rickles embarked on a new chapter in his life. In response to his country's call during World War...

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1LT James Earl Jones, U.S. Army (1953-1955)

1LT James Earl Jones, U.S. Army (1953-1955)

Before gaining fame as the iconic voice behind Darth Vader in 'Star Wars,' James Earl Jones had a significant chapter in his life. During his youth, Jones responded to his country's call and served in the United States Army during the Korean War. His military experience profoundly influenced his character and laid the foundation for his exceptional journey in the entertainment industry. James Earl Jones’s Early Years James Earl Jones was born on January 17, 1931, in Arkabutla, Mississippi. His father, Robert Earl Jones, a boxer and actor, was largely absent from his life growing up. At an early age, Jones was raised by his maternal grandparents on their farm in Michigan. He is of Irish, Cherokee and African descent. Jones developed a severe stutter in childhood, which left him terribly self-conscious and shy around other children. He refused to speak in school until a teacher helped him out of his silence during his high school years. "I had a great English teacher who believed in...

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ENS Johnny Carson, U.S. Navy (1943-1945)

ENS Johnny Carson, U.S. Navy (1943-1945)

Before achieving fame as the renowned host of late-night television, Johnny Carson was a young man who dutifully responded to his country's call. His early years were defined by his service in the US Army Air Force from 1943 to 1945. This period of his life served as the cornerstone for his exceptional Hollywood career, where he emerged as the unmatched presenter of "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson." Through his military service, Carson not only made a lasting impact on the silver screen but also within the hearts of his fellow servicemen. Johnny Carson’s Early Years Born on October 23, 1925, in Corning, Iowa, Johnny Carson spent his formative years in the heart of the Midwest. Carson's family relocated to Norfolk, Nebraska, where he enrolled in Norfolk High School. During his academic years, he showcased his comedic prowess by participating in school plays and honing his magic skills. At the age of 12, during a visit to a friend's house in Nebraska, he stumbled upon a magic...

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Pvt. Mr.T (Laurence Tureaud), U.S. Army (1975-1978)

Pvt. Mr.T (Laurence Tureaud), U.S. Army (1975-1978)

Lawrence Tureaud, famously known as Mr. T, rose from humble beginnings to become one of Hollywood's most recognizable tough guys and an enduring cultural icon. Before he became the face of the "A-Team," Mr. T's journey began with a commitment to serving his country. Join us as we follow the military journey of Mr. T, paying tribute to his profound influence on both the world of cinema and the hearts of his fellow Americans. This story serves as a compelling testament to the incredible impact of unwavering dedication and self-belief. Mr. T’s Early Life Born on May 21, 1952, in Chicago, Illinois, Laurence Tureaud had a childhood marked by challenges and determination. Raised in a tough South Side neighborhood, Laurence Tureaud was the youngest of twelve siblings, and his early years were far from glamorous.  Growing up in a tight-knit African-American family, Mr. T faced adversity from a young age. Poverty was a constant companion, and his family struggled to make ends meet....

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