USAAF photograph of Clark Gable at his battle station on a B-17 Flying Flying Fortress
Many would agree that America today is not what it was sixty years ago. Today, drugs and depraved behavior seems to be symbolic of Hollywood, which radiates to other media venues. At one time there was a Hollywood that minded their manners or were at least, discreet with their shenanigans.
My generation grew up watching, being entertained by and laughing with so many of these fine people, never really knowing what they contributed to the war effort. Like millions of Americans during that era, there was a job that needed doing they didn’t question, they went and did it, those that came home returned to their now new normal life and carried on, very few ever saying what they did or saw.
They took it as their “responsibility”, their “duty” to their country, to protect and preserve our freedoms and way of life, not just for themselves but for all future generations to come. Below are just some of well-known actors from yesteryear who stepped up to serve their country.
As much of my audience know, I do meticulous research for my books. While researching for the book: The Other Side Of Courage, these interesting facts about the original Hollywood came to light.
This list includes some actors who suspended their careers to serve in the United States Armed Forces after America was attacked on December 7, 1941 … Scroll through and see how many you recognize.
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Jimmy Stewart, US Army Air Corps. He flew 20 missions as a B-24 pilot, in Europe and remained in uniform as a reservist, retiring a Brigadier General.
During the Cold War, he was a pilot for a B-47 Stratofortress squadron in SAC. To the right is a frame from: It’s A Wonderful Life. Another notable film is Flight Of The Phoenix.
In 2012, Vertigo was ranked in critics poll for one of the greatest films ever made.
Clark Gable from ‘Gone With The Wind,’ fame and coined the King of Hollywood joined the US Army Air Corps as a B-17 gunner over Europe. Gable spent most of 1943 with the 351st Bomb Group.
He flew on five combat missions - including one to Germany - between May 4 and September 23, 1943, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross. Gable's aircraft was damaged by flak and attacked by fighters, which knocked out one of the engines and shot up the stabilizer.
In the raid on Germany, one crewman was killed while two others were wounded, and flak went through Gable's boot, injuring his foot while narrowly missing his head.
When word of this reached MGM, studio executives began to badger the Army Air Forces to reassign its most valuable screen actor as a NON-combatant.
He was sent to USAAF OCS Class 42-E on August 17, 1942 and commissioned as a lieutenant. Clark Gable's new noncombatant assignment: to make films in "combat."
DeForrest Kelley film career actually began because he joined the U.S. Army Air Force. From March 10, 1943 to January 28, 1946, he was assigned to the 1st Motion Picture Unit.
Kelley was spotted by a Paramount Pictures scout while doing a Navy training film. After the war, he decided to pursue an acting career and relocated to southern California permanently, living for a time with his uncle Casey.
Kelley's mother encouraged her son in his pursuit, but his father disliked the idea. Of course, DeForrest Kelley is better known as
Dr. Leonard (Bones) McCoy of the original Star Trek series and following feature films.
Henry Fonda, famous for films like: the 1940's film: The Grapes of Wrath, enlisted in the United States Navy to fight in World War II.
Fonda served for three years, initially as a Quartermaster 3rd Class on the destroyer USS Satterlee. He was later commissioned as a Lieutenant Junior Grade in Air Combat Intelligence in the Central Pacific and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal.
Right: Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart and Henry Fonda in The Petrified Forest.
James Arness was drafted into the US Army and reported to Fort Snelling, Minnesota in March 1943. As a rifleman, he landed on Anzio Beachhead on January 22, 1944, with the 3rd Infantry Division. Arness - due to his height: 6'7" was the first man positioned off his landing craft to determine the depth of the water; it came up to his waist. Arness was seriously wounded in his right leg during the Battle of Anzio.
Arness was sent to the U.S Army 91st General Hospital in Clinton, Iowa, to be treated for his wounds. After undergoing several surgeries, he was honorably discharged on January 29, 1945. However, his wounds continued to bother him throughout the rest of his life; in later years he had to cope with chronic leg pain that often became acute, such as when he mounted horses during his performance on Gunsmoke. His military decorations include the Bronze Star as well as the Purple Heart.
Buddy Hackett, comedian & actor mostly remembered for his role of Tennessee in the Disney film: The Love Bug.
Immediately after high school, he enlisted in the United States Army during World War II and served for three years in an anti-aircraft battery.
Left: Buddy in the film It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World.
Don Adams of Get Smart, at the start of World War II dropped out of high school and joined the Marine Corps by lying about his age. Don fought at the Battle of Guadalcanal and was the only member of his platoon to survive.
While on Guadalcanal, he contracted malaria which soon became a more serious complication known as blackwater fever that had a 90% mortality rate. He was evacuated and hospitalized for more than a year at a Navy hospital in New Zealand.
Don overcame the odds and recovered, becoming a Marine Corps drill instructor back in the United States for the remainder of the war.
In 1944, Charlton Heston graduated high school and enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Forces. He served for two years as a radio operator and gunner aboard a B-25 Mitchell bomber the 77th Bombardment Squadron He reached the rank of staff sergeant.
Right: studio photo from Ben-Hur.
Fred Gwynne joined the US Navy in WWII and was a radioman on a sub-chaser. He is known for comedies like Car 54 & Herman on The Munsters.
Eddie Albert enlisted in the Navy in 1942 and was discharged a short year later so that he would be able to accept an officer position in the Naval Reserve.
During the Battle of Tarawa, Albert earned a Bronze Star. He fought in the first wave of combat that lasted for three days.
Eddie Albert & Eva Gabor with Gregory Peck & Audrey Hepburn
in Green Acres in Roman Holiday
After most of the shooting was over, he was sent back to the site of the battle to salvage any equipment he could find. Because of coral reefs in the area, Marines weren't able to land directly on the beach and had to get off their boats 500 yards from shore. Enemy combatants started picking them off, and soon the waters were filled with over 100 wounded and many more dead. Albert disregarded his mission to grab equipment and began pulling Marines to safety. He took 47 in total, and oversaw the rescue of 30 more.
Art Carney was drafted into the United States Army as an infantryman and machine gun crewman during World War II. During the Battle of Normandy serving in the 28th Infantry Division, he was wounded in the leg. As a result of the injury, his right leg was 3/4-inch shorter than his left and walked with a limp for the rest of his life.
Right: Art Carney (center) on the set of
Audie Murphy was one of the most decorated American combat soldiers of World War II, receiving every military combat award for valor available from the U.S. Army, as well as French and Belgian awards for heroism. Murphy received the Medal of Honor for valor demonstrated at the age of 19 for single-handedly holding off an entire company of German soldiers for an hour at the Colmar Pocket in France in January 1945, then leading a successful counterattack while wounded and out of ammunition.
George Gobel, comedian & actor. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army Air Force and was a flight instructor in AT-9 multi-engine trainers at Altus Oklahoma, and later in B-26 Maurader bombers at Frederick, OK.
Johnny Carson made a big deal about it once on the Tonight Show, to which George said, "There was not one Japanese aircraft that got past Tulsa.”
George Gobel theatrically labeled himself "Lonesome George," and the nickname stuck for the rest of his career. He also had a production company which produced “Leave It To Beaver.”
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John Wayne was exempted from military service due to his age. He repeatedly wrote to John Ford saying he wanted to enlist, on one occasion inquiring whether he could get into Ford's military unit, but the unit consistently kept postponing it until after "he finished just one or two more pictures."
Republic Studios was emphatically resistant to losing him and (illegally) threatened Wayne with a lawsuit if he walked away from his contract.
There is a rumor in military archive circles, that John Wayne did enlist in the Marines and was sworn in at the beginning of World War II. However immediately, the War Department felt that he was more valuable as an national icon and pressed him to allow the enlistment to be ‘dissolved.'
John Wayne toured U.S. bases and hospitals in the South Pacific for three months in 1943 and 1944 with the USO. By many accounts, never serving in the military when his country needed him most was the most painful part of his life.
Brian Keith joined the Marine Corps (1942–1945). He served during World War II as a radio-gunner in the rear cockpit of a two-man Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bomber.
In addition to films, he is best known as
Uncle Bill in the sit-com Family Affair.
Burgess Meredith, already an established actor, on 27 Feb 1942, Burgess put his career on hold during and joined the Army Air Forces, where he eventually reached the rank of Captain. He transferred to the Office of War Information and was involved in making films for GIs.
In addition to many significant roles in film, he played The Penguin in the original Batman series.
Charles Bronson enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces in 1943, serving as an aircraft gunner in the 760th Gunnery Training Squadron.
In 1945 he became a B-29 Superfortress crewman with the 39th Bombardment Group, based on Guam, and flew on 25 missions.
He was awarded a Purple Heart for wounds received during his service and left the military in 1946.
Charles Durning served in the U.S. Army during World War II. He was drafted at age 20, participated in the D-Day landings at Omaha Beach in Normandy.
For his valor and the wounds he received during the war, Durning was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star, and three Purple Hearts. He was discharged with the rank of Private First Class on January 30, 1946.
In film, Charles Durning was a versatile character actor in demand, making hundreds of films - sometimes as many as six in a year.
In addition to serving in the military, Chuck Conners played professional baseball & basketball.
During most of World War II, Chuck Connors served as a tank-warfare instructor at Fort Campbell, located on the Kentucky-Tennessee border, and later at West Point in New York.
During Vietnam, Connors also served with Special Services.
Dennis Weaver is best known for the series McCloud as a marshal on assignment to NYPD and Chester Goode on Gunsmoke.
During World War II he served as a pilot in the Navy, flying a fighter, the F-4U Corsair.
Photo right: Dennis Weaver is middle-back row in photo.
Denver Pyle (far left) is best remembered by younger generations as Uncle Jesse on the TV series Dukes of Hazzard.
In World War II, Pyle enlisted in the Navy. Seriously wounded in the Battle of Guadalcanal, he received a medical discharge in 1943.
Since his youth, Don Knotts was an accomplished ventriloquist. When World War II engulfed America, he enlisted in the United States Army.
The 19-year-old soldier was assigned to the Special Services Branch, where he entertained the troops. It was while in the Army that Don ditched ventriloquism for straight comedy.
Don Rickles was an American stand-up comedian and actor. He became well known as an insult comic. His prominent film roles included Run Silent, Run Deep (1958) with Clark Gable and Kelly's Heroes (1970) with Clint Eastwood, and beginning in 1976 he enjoyed a two-year run starring in the television sitcom C.P.O. Sharkey. After graduating from Newtown High School,
Rickles enlisted in the Navy during World War II, serving on the motor torpedo boat tender USS Cyrene (AGP-13) rising to seaman first class. He was honorably discharged in 1946.
Earl Holliman lied about his age and enlisted in the Navy during World War II and was assigned to a Navy communications school. The Navy discovered his real age and discharged him. Holliman returned home and finished high school. As soon as he was old enough, he re-enlisted in the Navy to finish his service. Holliman’s later film credits include: The Bridges at Toko-Ri, Forbidden Planet, Giant,
Sons of Katie Elder and the series Police Woman.
Ed McMahon (left) is most famous for his thirty-year run as Johnny Carson's second banana on The Tonight Show from 1962 to 1992.
He flew a Chance-Vought F-4U Corsair, completing a total of 85 combat missions in both World War II and Korea, earning six medals.
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. is best known for his role in the series: The FBI. He served in the United States Army for five years during World War II. He was awarded the Purple Heart for a leg wound received during the Battle of Hürtgen Forest.
Ernest Borgnine is best known for McHales Navy.
He joined the Navy in 1935, after graduation from high school. He served aboard the destroyer/minesweeper USS Lamberton (DD-119; AG-21 and DMS-2) and was honorably discharged from the Navy in October 1941. In January 1942, he reenlisted in the Navy after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
During World War II, he patrolled the Atlantic Coast on an antisubmarine warfare ship, the USS Sylph (PY-12). In September 1945, he was honorably discharged from the Navy. He served a total of almost ten years in the Navy and obtained the grade of gunner's mate 1st class.
Fess Parker is known for the series: Daniel Boone and movies like
The Dirty Dozen.
He enlisted in the Navy in World War II, hoping to become a pilot. He was turned down because he was too tall at 6 foot 6. He then tried to become a radioman gunner, but he was found too big to fit into the rear cockpit. He was finally transferred to the Marine Corps as a radio operator.
Forrest Tucker is best known for the TV series, F-Troop.
He graduated high school at sixteen and joined the U.S. Army cavalry. He was stationed at Fort Myer in Virginia, but was discharged when his age became known.
He moved to California and became a favorite among directors, quickly rising to a Hollywood icon.
Despite his budding stardom, Tucker enlisted in the Army during World War II, earning a battlefield commission as a second lieutenant.
Frank Sutton is best known for his role as Sgt. Carter in the series Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C.
He enlisted in the Army during World War II and served in the South Pacific, taking part in fourteen assault landings, quickly rising to the rank of sergeant.
He was honorably discharged in 1946 and took up stage acting which led to Hollywood.
George Kennedy joined the U.S. Army during World War II as enlisted personnel and while intent on a career only served 16 years, but achieving the rank of captain. He was medically discharged in the late 1950s due to a back injury.
Harvey Korman served in the U.S. Navy during World War II.
He is best remembered for comedy on Carol Burnett Show and films like History Of The World & Blazing Saddles with and by
Mel Brooks served in the Army as a corporal in the 1104 Engineer Combat Battalion, 78th Infantry Division, defusing and removing land mines during World War II. Apparently he knew his job well.
He is best known as a comedy writer, director & actor.
Jack Klugman served in the Army during World War II.
He attended Carnegie Institute of Technology, now Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, graduating in 1948.
He is best known for (left)
Quincy M.E. and (right)
Oscar in The Odd Couple.
Jack Palance was a professional boxer. With the outbreak of World War II, Palance's athletic career ended as a member of the Army Air Force. Palance's face, which took many beatings in the boxing ring, was said to have become disfigured while bailing out of a burning B-24 Liberator bomber during a training flight over Southern Arizona (where Palance was a student pilot). His distinctive cheekbones and deep set eyes were said to have been the result of reconstructive surgery. Palance won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as the cowboy Curly Washburn in the comedy City Slickers (1991).
Jack Warden joined the U.S. Navy in 1938.
He was stationed for three years in China with the Yangtze River Patrol.
In 1942, he joined Army, where he served as a paratrooper in the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment (the band of brothers), with the 101st Airborne Division in World War II. In 1944, on the eve of the D-Day invasion (in which many of his friends would die), now a Staff Sergeant, shattered his leg when he landed in a tree during a night-time practice jump in England. He spent almost eight months in the hospital recuperating. He was field commissioned to 2nd lieutenant during the invasion of Germany.
Jackie Coogan is best known as Uncle Fester on the Addams Family.
Coogan enlisted in the U.S. Army in March 1941. After the attack on Pearl Harbor that December, he requested a transfer to Army Air Forces as a glider pilot because of his civilian flying experience.
Graduating the Advanced Glider School with the rank of Flight Officer(warrant officer today), he volunteered for hazardous duty with the 1st Air Commando Group.
In December 1943, the unit was sent to India. He flew British troops, the Chindits, under General Orde Wingate on March 5, 1944, landing them at night in a small jungle clearing 100 miles behind Japanese lines in the Burma Campaign.
James Gregory was an American character actor known for his deep, gravelly voice and playing brash roles.
Gregory served three years in the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps during World War II. His early acting work included Army training films.
Left: James Gregory playing General Robert "Iron Guts" Kelly in an episode of MASH with Loretta Swit.
Jason Robards as Ben Bradlee in
All The President's Men
Jason Robards was a Navy radioman, assigned to the heavy cruiser USS Northampton in 1941. Northampton was later directed into the Guadalcanal campaign, participating in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands.
In the waters north of Guadalcanal on the night of November 30, 1942, Northampton was sunk by hits from two Japanese torpedoes. Robards found himself treading water until near daybreak, when he was rescued by an American destroyer. Two years later, in November 1944, Robards was radioman aboard the light cruiser USS Nashville, the flagship for the invasion of Mindoro in the northern Philippines. On December 13, she was struck by a kamikaze aircraft. The aircraft hit one of the port five-inch gun mounts, while the plane's two bombs set the midsection of the ship ablaze. With this damage and 223 casualties, Nashville was forced to return to Pearl Harbor and then to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington for repairs.
During his senior year at Springfield High School, Jonathan Winters quit school to join the U.S. Marine Corps at age 17 and served in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He served in combat but would not discuss it outside of close friends.
After the war, he became a comedian and actor. He was friends with the late Robin Williams whom they traded endless zany quips.
During World War II, Karl Malden served as a non-commissioned officer in the Army Air Corps in the 8th Air Force. He is best known for his role as Gen. Omar Bradley in Patton and The Streets Of San Francisco.
Forrest Tucker with Larry Storch (right) is best known for his role in F-Troop as the bumbling Corporal Agarn.
He served in the Navy during World War II on the submarine tender USS Proteus with Tony Curtis.
Lee Marvin (right) was known for his distinctive voice, initially appearing in supporting roles, mostly villains, soldiers, and other hardboiled characters.
He left school at 18 to enlist in the Marines on August 12, 1942. He served with the 4th Marine Division in the during World War II.
While serving as a member of "I" Company, 3rd Battalion, 24th Marines, 4th Marine Division, he was wounded in action on June 18, 1944, during a intense assault on Mount Tapochau in the Battle of Saipan.
He was hit by machine gun fire, and then was hit again by a sniper. After over a year of medical treatment in naval hospitals, Marvin was given a medical discharge in 1945 at Philadelphia.
Leroy Van Cleef’s sinister features overshadowed his acting skills and typecast him as a minor villain for a decade before he achieved stardom in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Hatchet-faced with piercing eyes, he declined to have his hook nose altered to play a sympathetic character in his film debut, High Noon, and was relegated to a non-speaking outlaw as a result. Van Cleef began to lose interest in his apparently waning career until in For a Few Dollars More. The film made him a box-office draw, especially in Europe.
After basic training and further training at the Naval Fleet Sound School, Van Cleef was assigned to a minesweeper, USS Incredible, as a sonarman. The ship initially patrolled the Caribbean, then moved to the Mediterranean, participating in the D-Day landings in southern France.
Neville Brand’s hulking physique, rough-hewn, craggy-faced looks and gravelly voice lead to him largely playing gangsters, Western outlaws and other screen "heavies", cops and other tough-guy roles throughout his career. He played opposite stars like John Wayne.
He served in World War II, seeing action with the 83rd Infantry Division (Thunderbolt Division) in the Central European campaigns. Brand, a sergeant and platoon leader, was wounded in action along the Weser River on April 7, 1945. His upper right arm was hit by a bullet, and he nearly bled to death.
Brand was awarded the Silver Star, the third-highest decoration for valor in the U.S. Military, for gallantry in combat. In a 1966 interview he explained the Silver Star, stating that withering fire from German machine guns in a hunting lodge kept him and his unit pinned down. “I must have flipped my lid,” he said. “I decided to go into that lodge.” He was discharged from service in October 1945.
Norman Fell (Noah Norman Feld) is most famous for his role as landlord, Mr. Roper on the sitcom Three's Company and its spin-off, The Ropers.
He serving as a tail gunner on a B-25 Mitchell in the Army Air Force during World War II.
Pat Hingle appeared in hundreds of television shows and feature films. His first film was On the Waterfront in 1954. He often played tough authority figures. Hingle was a close friend of Clint Eastwood and appeared in the Eastwood films Hang 'em High, The Gauntlet and Sudden Impact. For younger people, he is known for his role as Commissioner Gordon in the Batman movies.
Hingle enlisted in the Navy in December 1941, dropping out of the University of Texas. He served on the destroyer USS Marshall during World War II. He returned to the University of Texas after the war and earned a degree in radio broadcasting in 1949. As a Navy Reservist, he was recalled to the service during the Korean War and served on the escort destroyer
Paul Leonard Newman’s roles include the title characters in The Hustler (1961), Hud (1963), Harper (1966) and Cool Hand Luke (1967), as well as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972), The Sting (1973), and The Verdict (1982).
Newman served in the Navy in World War II in the Pacific theater. Initially, he enrolled in the pilot training program but was dropped when his colorblindness was discovered. Training as a radioman and gunner.
Aviation Radioman Third Class Newman was a turret gunner in an Avenger torpedo bomber. As a radioman-gunner, his unit was assigned to the USS Bunker Hill shortly before the Battle of Okinawa in the spring of 1945.
Peter Graves (born Peter Duesler Aurness) was best known for his role as Jim Phelps in the CBS television series Mission: Impossible from 1967 to 1973 (original) and from 1988 to 1990 (revival). His elder brother was actor James Arness.
Graves was also known for his portrayal of airplane pilot Captain Clarence Oveur in the 1980 comedy film Airplane! and its 1982 sequel
After graduating high school, Graves served two years (1944-1946) in the Army Air Force during World War II.
Robert Stack (born Charles Langford Modini Stack) acted in more than 40 feature films, he starred in the ABC-TV television series The Untouchables (1959–63), for which he won the 1960 Emmy Award for Best Actor in a Dramatic Series, and later hosted Unsolved Mysteries (1987–2002). He was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the film Written on the Wind (1956).
During World War II, Stack served as an Aerial Gunnery Officer in the Navy.
Rodman Edward "Rod" Serling was an American screenwriter, playwright, television producer, and narrator known for his live television dramas of the 1950s and his science-fiction anthology TV series, The Twilight Zone. Serling was known as the "angry young man" of Hollywood, clashing with television executives and sponsors over a wide range of issues including censorship, racism, and war.
Serling began his military career in 1943 at Camp Toccoa, Georgia and served in the 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment. In November 1944, his division first saw combat, landing in the Philippines. The 11th Airborne Division would not be used as paratroopers, however, but as light infantry during the Battle of Leyte.
Serling returned from Leyte with two wounds, including one to his kneecap, but neither kept him from combat when General Douglas MacArthur deployed the paratroopers for their usual purpose. On February 3, 1945. 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment landed on Tagaytay Ridge, marched into Manila where Vice Admiral Sanji Iwabuchi had arranged his 17,000 troops behind a maze of traps and guns and ordered them to fight to the death.
As it moved in on Iwabuchi's stronghold, Serling's regiment had a 50% casualty rate, with over 400 men killed. Serling was wounded and three comrades were killed by shrapnel from rounds fired at his roving demolition team by an antiaircraft gun. He was sent to New Guinea to recover.
Ronald Reagan was already serving in the Army Air Force Reserve and an established actor when World War II broke out.
Due to poor eyesight, he was on limited duty which included overseas duty. His first assignment was at the San Francisco Port of Embarkation at Fort Mason, California, as a liaison officer of the Port and Transportation Office.
Upon the approval of the Army Air Forces, he was assigned to Public Relations and subsequently to the First Motion Picture Unit in Culver City, California. He left the Army with the rank of captain.
Reagan (left) with his NCOIC
Mary Ann & the "Professor."
Russell David Johnson was an American television and film actor, best known for his role as "the Professor" on the CBS television sitcom Gilligan's Island.
After graduating from high school, Johnson enlisted in the Army Air Force. On completing his training, he flew 44 combat missions in the Pacific Theater during World War II as a navigator/bombardier in B-25 Mitchells.
On March 4, 1945, while flying with the 42nd Bombardment Group, 13th Air Force, his B-25 and two others were shot down during a low-level bombing and strafing run against Japanese military targets in the Philippine Islands. The B-25s encountered heavy anti-aircraft fire, and all three had to ditch in the sea off Zamboanga. Johnson broke both ankles in the landing, and his bomber's co-pilot was killed.
Johnson was honorably discharged as a first lieutenant on November 22, 1945.
Ted Knight was an American actor and voice artist well known for playing the comedic roles of Ted Baxter in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Henry Rush in Too Close for Comfort, and Judge Elihu Smails in Caddyshack.
Knight dropped out of high school to enlist in the Army in World War II. He was a member of A Company, 296th Combat Engineer Battalion, earning five battle stars while serving in the European Theatre.
Thomas Edward “Tom” Bosley was an American actor, voice artist, television personality, and entertainer. Bosley is best known for portraying Howard Cunningham on the long-running ABC sitcom Happy Days, and the title character on the NBC/ABC series Father Dowling Mysteries. He also was featured in a recurring role on Murder, She Wrote.
Immediately after graduating high school, he joined the Navy in 1944 and went to boot camp at the Naval Training Center Great Lakes. He was then sent to radioman's school at Naval Training Center, Gulfport, Mississippi but at that point the war was over and he was sent to the 11th Naval District in San Diego until he was muster out as part of the military reduction at the end of WWII.
Tony Curtis (born Bernard Schwartz) was an American film actor whose career spanned six decades but who was mostly popular in the 1950s and early 1960s. He acted in more than 100 films in roles covering a wide range of genres, from light comedy to serious drama.
When it came time to decide which branch of the armed forces to join, Tony looked to his film hero Cary Grant and his role as a sailor in Destination Tokyo. At the age of 17, Tony forged his mother's signature so that he could enlist in 1943.
He served as Signalman 3rd Class, SSU with Submarine Relief Crew 202 onboard the USS Proteus. His squadron, Submarine Squadron 20, was commissioned on March 1, 1944 and was assigned to the USS Proteus for the duration of the war. They performed complete refit and voyage repairs to 26 submarines. No submarine from from Squadron 20 - nor any submarine that was retrofit by Proteus - was ever lost to the enemy. Proteus' Squadron 20 submarines fired some 350 torpedoes, scoring 132 hits-resulting in the sinking of 56 enemy ships - and damaging 9 others.
Walter Matthau - far right
Walter Matthau was an American actor and comedian, best known for his role as Oscar Madison in The Odd Couple and its sequel 30 years later, The Odd Couple II, and his frequent collaborations with Odd Couple co-star Jack Lemmon, particularly in the '90s with Grumpy Old Men and its sequel Grumpier Old Men.
After graduating from Seward Park High School in Manhattan, New York City, he enlisted in the Army Air Force during World War II and served with the Eighth Air Force in England as a B-24 Liberator radioman-gunner, in the same 453rd Bombardment Group as
James Stewart. He attained the rank of staff sergeant.