Celebrity Veterans: Stars Who Served in the Military You Need To Know!
2023/07/17

01 of 27

Betty White

The late star Betty White was recognized by the U.S. Army for her service .

"Not only was she an amazing actress, she also served during WWII as a member of the American Women's Voluntary Services. A true legend on and off the screen," . The that she "drove a supply truck" during her time in the military.

02 of 27

Bob Barker

The host served as a naval aviator during World War II. In his autobiography , "I was a Naval Aviator, a Fighter Pilot. I completed all facets of my training, including my qualifying landings on a carrier. I was all ready to go, and when the enemy heard that I was headed for the Pacific, they surrendered. That was the end of World War II."

03 of 27

Drew Carey

Barker's successor on Drew Carey also was a military man, having served in the Marine Corps from 1980 to 1986, before beginning his career in comedy. Though he is now a self-described "peacenik," , he has tremendous respect for the military: "I believe it's important for us to always recognize the sacrifices it takes to serve in our military, and how necessary they are… We need to recognize and applaud people in our military who do their jobs well, and with honor. Period."

04 of 27

Blippi

Yes, your kids' favorite YouTube personality Blippi (real name: Stevin John) served in the U.S. Air Force before trading one uniform for another. "15 years ago! Happy Veterans Day to all my fellow Vets 🇺🇸 ! C-17 Loadmaster ✈️," he on Veterans Day in 2021.

05 of 27

Bea Arthur

The famed star Bea Arthur was a typist and truck driver in the Marine Corps for beginning in 1943. She was also one of the of the Women's Reserve, and after being discharged in 1945, married Marine Private Robert Arthur before eventually embarking on a storied career in show business.

06 of 27

Tom Selleck

Perhaps Tom Selleck's keen ability to portray former Navy SEAL Thomas Magnum in stemmed from his own time in the military. He as a soldier in the California Army National Guard from .

07 of 27

Morgan Freeman

The Oscar winner with the iconic voice, Morgan Freeman was intrigued by war films growing up, which to join the Air Force in 1955. He served as a radar technician, and, realizing that flying in the Air Force was not for him, left the military almost four years later. The actor would eventually return to duty on film: Freeman starred in the acclaimed 1989 Civil War drama .

08 of 27

Hugh Hefner

Although it's hard to picture the late Hugh Hefner as anything but the impresario behind the empire, he served as an in the Army after high school. He was discharged two years later in 1946.

09 of 27

Adam Driver

Before his acting days, 17-year-old Adam Driver joined the Marines shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

"I joined … feeling like I think most people in the country did at the time, filled with a sense of patriotism and retribution and the desire to do something," he said in a . "That, coupled with that fact that I wasn't doing anything."

The and actor "loved" being in the Marines, but was medically discharged after two years of service. (You can from

10 of 27

Prince Harry

served in the Army for 10 years and took on two tours in Afghanistan. Following his years of service, he dedicated his time to helping wounded servicemen and women with the creation of , an international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick veterans.

Recently, discussed the isolation service members often feel when returning home, and stressed the importance of supporting veterans at the .

"My experience in the military made me who I am today, and I will always be grateful for the people I got to serve with — wherever in the world we were," said Harry, adding that he created the "to honor the legacy of those who have given so much" as well as to show "that the men and women who have experienced service injuries, as well as their families, are the strongest people in the world...and they deserve a platform to be seen, a platform to be recognized, and a platform to be truly celebrated."

11 of 27

Mel Brooks

At the outset of World War II, Mel Brooks joined the Army Specialized Training Reserve program at the Virginia Military Institute before going to basic training at Fort Sill. He served overseas at the end of the war in various duties, but his talent for performing was apparent and he was asked to join a touring variety show to entertain the troops in the Army camps still stationed in Europe.

12 of 27

Tony Bennett

The legendary singer Tony Bennett was drafted into the army during World War II, serving in Germany and France. Bennett returned to the U.S. two years later in 1946 after being discharged, and went on to study at the American Theater Wing.

13 of 27

Rob Riggle

Actor and comedian Rob Riggle joined the Marines as a pilot in 1990 and served for 23 years before retiring in 2013.

"I was an undergrad a the University of Kansas, and I had my pilot's license … I was also a theater and film major. So I either was going to be when I graduated or I was gonna be a waiter. And I thought being sounded much sexier, much cooler," Riggle told .

Joking aside, , "I thought, it's an American duty. It didn't have to be the military, but I just thought service of some kind is important ... for citizenship. I just think it's important to give back, whether it's locally in your own community or statewide or national."

14 of 27

Johnny Cash

After graduating from high school in 1950, country superstar Johnny Cash enlisted in the Air Force. While stationed in Germany, where he served as an intelligence-service radioman, he wrote the lyrics for the song that would become his signature, "Folsom Prison Blues. "

15 of 27

Clint Eastwood

The legendary actor and Oscar-winning filmmaker Clint Eastwood served in the before kicking up a celebrated career in Hollywood. Drafted during the Korean War, he trained at Fort Ord in California. There, he landed a job as a swimming teacher, and was eventually discharged in 1953.

16 of 27

Elvis Presley

The one and only King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley was into the Army in 1957. He eventually rose to the rank of sergeant, and was discharged in 1960. It was during his time in the Army when he met Priscilla Beaulieu, the woman who would one day become his wife.

17 of 27

Ice-T

Ice-T joined the Army's 25th Infantry Division after high school. After being deployed to Hawaii and serving four years, he to California, eventually launching a career as a hitmaking rapper before moving into film and television, including the long-running series .

18 of 27

Robin Quivers

The cohost Robin Quivers served her country from . After graduating with a nursing degree, she worked as a nurse in the Air Force, rising to the rank of captain. The radio personality, who is a and has about her battle with the disease, published an autobiography in 1995.

19 of 27

Jimi Hendrix

When the future rock legend Jimi Hendrix in the Army in 1961, it was something of a forced choice. After being caught up in a case involving a stolen car, Hendrix of prison time or joining the Army. He opted for the latter and served in the 101st Airborne Division. Hendrix was far from a model soldier though, reportedly falling asleep on duty, and he was discharged in following an injury.

20 of 27

Humphrey Bogart

The screen legend Humphrey Bogart, who memorably helped guide Katharine Hepburn through troubled waters in , the Navy during World War I. As a sailor, he spent much of his time ferrying troops between Europe and the U. S.

21 of 27

Chuck Norris

The star Chuck Norris as an air policeman in the Air Force after high school. During his four-year military career, which ended in 1962, he was sent to the Osan Air Base in South Korea, where he reportedly began in martial arts — a passion that would later become his trademark as an action star. Norris was made an honorary United States Marine in 2007.

22 of 27

Jimmy Stewart

Before starring in soon-to-be-classic films like and , Jimmy Stewart in 1941. The first time he was drafted, he was rejected , but after putting on some pounds, he joined the Air Corps.

23 of 27

James Earl Jones

The iconic screen and stage star James Earl Jones — who was the booming voice behind Darth Vader in as well as Mufasa in — the Army right after college. He was eventually promoted to , and was a member of the 75th Rangers Regime.

24 of 27

J.R. Martinez

The actor and J.R. Martinez was serving in the U.S. Army in Iraq in 2003, when the Humvee he was driving in Iraq hit a land mine. He was burned over 40 percent of his body and required 34 months of grueling rehab - but he went on to gain fame.

"My life would not be what it is today: full of joy, happiness and positivity," he told PEOPLE about taking an optimistic outlook on the explosion. "I'm being blessed in so many ways, and it's because of the energy I'm putting out in the world."

25 of 27

David Alvarez

David Alvarez, was one of the youngest actors ever to win a Tony when he was one of the three preteen leads of After graduating high school, he joined the army and served several years before returning to Broadway in then he got cast in the highly-anticipated movie musical.

Alvarez his dance background prepared him for how tough the Army would be: "When I did basic training, I always thought, this is hard but it's not hard."

26 of 27

Jackie Robinson

Groundbreaking baseball star Jackie Robinson served in the Army during World War II, though was honorably discharged, , for refusing to move to the back of a segregated military bus — one of his many acts for racial justice in his lifetime.

27 of 27

Norman Lear

Prolific producer dropped out of Emerson College in Boston to enlist in the Air Force,

"My mother begged me not to enlist, but I couldn't take it anymore," Lear, who served in the Army from 1942 to 1945, told PEOPLE. "There was a love of country that existed then."

After he was discharged in 1945, he became a publicist, settling in California.

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