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Real Hollywood Heroes

The actors of yester-year loved their country. They had both class and integrity. With the advent of World War II, many actors gave up their wealth, position, and fame to become enlisted men. The woman listed here endured rejection of her contribution for too many years.

Our page lists only a few, but from this group of merely nineteen men and one woman came over 70 medals in honor of their valor and contribution, spanning from Bronze Stars, Silver Stars, Distinguished Service Crosses, Purple Hearts, and one Congressional Medal of Honor.

Perhaps it would be wise to add a statement of source and motivation for this page. Most of the heroes listed, and their descriptions, were sent via an Email years ago. I converted that Email to a web page. Their pictures will be the beveled ones. Any who have been added since will be the flat photos. As viewers send in comments, I have edited the commentary where requested.

As to motivation, one veteran (named Gil) said it better than I ever could in an Email dated April 18, 2013. Here, thankfully, are his words:

It's nice that honoring our service men and women is popular again - it hasn't always been that way. I remember a sad but truthful poem from my Army days that went like this:

God and the soldier we adore
In times of danger, not before.
The danger passed and all is righted,
God is forgotten, the soldier slighted.

Continues Gil: I was in the U.S. Army, stationed in Germany, from 1961 to 1963 and am proud to have served.

Special Note:

 

Hedy Lamarr (Samson and Delilah, Copper Canyon, Zane Grey Theater), with her co-inventor George Antheil, designed a torpedo guidance system that was two decades before its time. Their concept lies behind the principal anti-jamming device used today in the U.S. government's Milstar defense communication satellite system. Ms. Lamarr also demonstrated her loyalty to the U.S. by raising seven million dollars in a single evening selling war bonds. You can read about her invention and patriotism here.

We are using flattened pictures of both Ms. Lamarr and Mr. McMahon (below) as they are additions by this webmaster. The 3-D images for the other actors were garnered through a broadcast Email.

 

Ed McMahon (Tonight Show, Jerry Lewis Telethon, Star Search) was a fighter pilot Marine in WW II, served in the Korean conflict, and retired as a Colonel. He later became a Brigadier General in the California Air National Guard.

 

Eddie Albert (Green Acres TV) was awarded a Bronze Star for his heroic action as a U. S. Naval officer aiding Marines at the horrific battle on the island of Tarawa in the Pacific Nov. 1943.

 

Alec Guinness (Star Wars) operated a British Royal Navy landing craft on D-Day.

 

James Doohan ("Scotty" on Star Trek) was a member of the Canadian Army. Here is what one Internet biography states: At the age of 19, Doohan joined the Canadian Army and saw action during World War II. He fought on the beach at Normandy on D-Day. While leading a group of soldiers, Doohan was shot several times, injuring him in the leg and chest. The chest wound could have proved fatal had it not been for a cigarette case in his shirt pocket. Doohan also lost one of his fingers. You can find that biography here. Thank you to all who Emailed, correcting the original paragraph on this tribute.

 

Donald Pleasance (The Great Escape) really was an R. A. F. pilot who was shot down, held prisoner and tortured by the Germans.

 

David Niven was a Sandhurst graduate and Lt. Colonel of the British Commandos in Normandy.

 

James Stewart Entered the Army Air Force as a private and worked his way to the rank of Colonel. During World War II, Stewart served as a bomber pilot, his service record crediting him with leading more than 20 missions over Germany, and taking part in hundreds of air strikes during his tour of duty. Stewart earned the Air Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross, France's Croix de Guerre, and 7 Battle Stars during World War II. In peace time, Stewart continued to be an active member of the Air Force as a reservist, reaching the rank of Brigadier General before retiring in the late 1950s.

 

Clark Gable (Mega-Movie Star when war broke out) Although he was beyond the draft age at the time the U.S. entered WW II, Clark Gable enlisted as a private in the AAF on Aug. 12, 1942 at Los Angeles. He attended the Officers' Candidate School at Miami Beach, Fla. and graduated as a second lieutenant on Oct. 28, 1942. He then attended aerial gunnery school and in Feb. 1943 he was assigned to the 351st Bomb Group at Polebrook where flew operational missions over Europe in B-17s. Capt. Gable returned to the U.S. in Oct. 1943 and was relieved from active duty as a major on Jun. 12, 1944 at his own request, since he was over-age for combat.

 

Charlton Heston was an Army Air Corps Sergeant in Kodiak.

 

Earnest Borgnine was a U. S. Navy Gunners Mate 1935-1945.

 

Charles Durning was a U. S. Army Ranger at Normandy earning a Silver Star and awarded the Purple Heart.

 

Charles Bronson was a tail gunner in the Army Air Corps, more specifically on B-29s in the 20th Air Force out of Guam, Tinian, and Saipan.

 

George C. Scott was a decorated U. S. Marine.

 

Brian Keith served as a U.S. Marine rear gunner in several actions against the Japanese on Rabal in the Pacific.

 

Lee Marvin was a U.S. Marine on Saipan during the Marianas campaign when he was wounded earning the Purple Heart.

 

John Russell: In 1942, he enlisted in the Marine Corps where he received a battlefield commission and was wounded and highly decorated for valor at Guadalcanal.

 

Robert Ryan served in the Marines, stateside at Camp Pendleton for the duration of the war (this description has been officially authorized by the Robert Ryan family).

 

Tyrone Power (an established movie star when Pearl Harbor was bombed) joined the U.S. Marines, was a pilot flying supplies into, and wounded Marines out of, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

 

Audie Murphy, little 5'5" tall 110 pound guy from Texas who played cowboy parts? Along with Matt Urban, one of the most decorated serviceman of WWII and earned: Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, 2 Silver Star Medals, Legion of Merit, 2 Bronze Star Medals with "V", 2 Purple Hearts, U.S. Army Outstanding Civilian Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, 2 Distinguished Unit Emblems, American Campaign Medal, European, African, Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with One Silver Star, Four Bronze Service Stars (representing nine campaigns) and one Bronze Arrowhead (representing assault landing at Sicily and Southern France) World War II Victory Medal Army of Occupation Medal with Germany Clasp, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, Marksman Badge with Rifle Bar, Expert Badge with Bayonet Bar, French Fourragere in Colors of the Croix de Guerre, French Legion of Honor, Grade of Chevalier, French Croix de Guerre With Silver Star, French Croix de Guerre with Palm, Medal of Liberated France, Belgian Croix de Guerre 1940 Palm.

 

 

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This page edited on 9/4/2013
Copyright 2013, Paul L. White and HeroesWest.com

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