Hollywood may be known for bragging and showing off, but these celebs decided to stay humble about their time in the military. Who knew that so many celebrities served our country in the military? It’s a wonder they managed to stay so quiet, even though they did the most selfless thing possible for one’s country. Some of them chose to enlist and others were drafted when their country went to war. It doesn’t matter how famous you were, though, you couldn’t get out of enlistment! In fact, many celebrities have fought in the Vietnam War, Korean War, World War II, while others did some service in the 21st century. Here are the celebrities that used to be in the military!
It must have been in the army where Mr. T (born Lawrence Tureaud) got his bad-boy look but then again, he did grow up in Chicago.
The I Pity the Fool actor enlisted in the United States Army after he was expelled from Prairie View A&M University and served in the Military Police Corps. Mr. T did well in the army as his drill sergeant gave him a letter of recommendation and out of 6,000 troops, he was named “Top Trainee of the Cycle.” He went on to become squad leader!
His voice was probably so soothing to soldiers! After high school, Morgan Freeman chose to go into the United States Air Force instead attending Jackson State University where he was awarded a drama scholarship.
He became an Automatic Tracking Radar Repairman in 1955 and ended up serving in that position for 4 years. At first, Freeman thought flying was his passion but after being a pilot in the military, he changed his mind. He remarked, “You are not in love with this; you are in love with the idea of this.” When he left the Air Force in 1959, he was given the title “Airman 1st Class.”
It may come as a surprise to many that actor and funny-man Drew Carey served in the military at one point during his life. Carey actually served in the US Marine Corps for six whole years. He was once asked why he doesn’t talk about his time as a Marine more often and he stated that he didn’t want to hurt his image as a comedian.
Carey adopted his iconic crewcut while he was in the military and has kept it ever since. Also interesting, for much of his life, he didn’t need to wear corrected lenses. The black-rimmed glasses were a fashion choice but later in life, he did develop a need for bifocals.
That’s right, Willy Wonka was a veteran! Gene Wilder was drafted into the Army when he was 23-years-old but even then, he knew he was going to be an actor!
When he finished his recruiting training, Wilder was assigned to the medical corps and got to choose where he wanted to go. He ended up picking the Valley Forge Army Hospital, in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, where he was a paramedic, because it was close to New York City where he was taking acting classes. Wilder was discharged after two years and went on to become a full-time acting student!
Celebrity musician Willie Nelson enlisted in the US Air Force straight after high school in 1950. His military career didn’t last long though, he was medically discharged after about nine months of service due to back problems.
After his service and a number of odd jobs, he began to pursue a career in music. It took him nearly two decades to achieve success but he stuck with it and now he is world famous for his work, as well as for his advocacy for the legalization of marijuana.
It wasn’t just male celebrities who served in the military. Actress and comedian Beatrice “Bea” Arthur was another famous face who joined the marine corps during World War II!
The Golden Girls‘ actress was a truck driver and typist for the Marines 30 months, although she did deny it at one point. 21-year-old Arthur stated back then, “heard last week that enlistments for women in the Marines were open, so decided the only thing to do was to join.” When she was honorably discharged in 1945, she had the title of staff sergeant.