From Combat to Hollywood: 31 Actors That Served Overseas, Part I

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Despite how strong, focused and uniformed our military is, individuals from all walks of life enter their respective branch — you’ll find the serious types, you’ll find the adventurous types, and, among others, you’ll also find the entertaining types.

Entertainers: that’s what you’ll find on this two-part list. From Mel Brooks to R. Lee Ermey, the actors you’ll find on this list not only served in the military, they served overseas, in WWI, WWII, The Korean War, and the Vietnam War. The names throughout just may surprise you…

Enjoy, and don’t forget to mosey on over to Part II!


Mel Brooks

You probably know him as the funnyman behind classics like Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein and Spaceballs, but did you know that he served in World War II as a U.S. Army Combat Engineer?

From the documentary about his life, Make Some Noise, this clip sheds light on what Brooks’s experience was like in the war.


Charles Durning

Charles Durning served in World War II (U.S. Army, 1944 – 1946), but went on to have over 210 acting credits to his  name. Where have you seen him? Try The Sting, O Brother Where Art Thou, Tootsie, and The Hudsucker Proxy.


Jamie Farr

You know him as the eccentric, but infamous Klinger on MASH, but Jamie Farr was the only cast member that had any military experience, serving in the U.S. Army and fighting in the Korean War.


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Dennis Franz

Before this Chicago native had a starring role on NYPD Blue, he served in the U.S. Army and fought in the Vietnam War.


James Garner

The Great Escape, Space Cowboys, Grand Prix, The Notebook — those are just four stellar films from a long career that took off after the Korean War, where Garner served in the U.S. Army.

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G.D. resides in West Michigan. When he isn’t writing (or editing), you can find him outside, riding a bike, reading a book, or just plain running. Other interests include sports (of any kind), music (again, any kind) and cinema (a bit pickier here).