25 Celebrities Who Risked Their Lives Serving In The Military

Posted by , Updated on October 27, 2022

Unknown to most people, many of the popular actors today served the military. Some of these celebrities joined the military out of a civil duty while others out of their own free will. Nevertheless, the danger and sacrifice these men have faced in their lives is worthy or recognition. So here is a list of 25 celebrities who risked their lives serving in the military.


Elvis Presley

Elvis Presleywww.worldculturepictorial.com

Shortly after Elvis Presley was hailed as the King of Rock and Roll, he was inducted into the Fort Chaffee U.S. Army as a private and was assigned near Ford Smith in Arkansas. After his basic training at Fort Hood, he became part of the 3rd Armored Division in Friedberg, Germany and was paid ordinary wages. He donated most of his earnings to charity.


Tony Bennett

Tony Bennettwww.parade.com

Italian American singer Anthony Dominick Benedetto, more popularly known as Tony Bennett, was drafted into the United States Army during World War II and underwent special training at Fort Dix and Fort Robinson to be promoted as an infantry rifleman. Sometime in 1945, he was also assigned as a replacement to the 255th Infantry Regiment of the 63rd Infantry Division.


Alan Alda

Alan Aldawww.parade.com

Born on January 28, 1936, American actor and director Alan Alda finished his studies in Paris and was an active Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) member. Shorty after he graduated college, he decided to join the US Army Reserve and underwent basic training as a gunnery officer within a period of six months. He also served for a year at Fort Benning in Georgia.


Charlton Heston

Charlton Hestonwww.chacha.com

Film, theater, and television actor Charlton Heston has always been a political activist. In 1944, he enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces and became a radio operator and an aerial gunner at B-25 Mitchell, which was then stationed around the Alaskan Aleutian Islands with the Eleventh Air Force. He served the military for two years and became a Staff Sergeant before he rose to fame as an actor.


Tom Selleck

Tom Selleckmenmustachestyles.com

Best known for his private investigator role in television series Magnum P.I., Tom Selleck was once part of the 160th Infantry Regiment of the California Army National Guard where he served as a soldier. In the course of his stay in the military, his unit was stationed in Los Angeles in order to control the historical six-day L.A. riot known as Watts Riots.


Ernest Borgnine

Ernest Borgninegeeksoulbrother.com

Italian immigrant and multi-awarded actor Ernest Borgnine joined the United States Navy sometime in 1935, shortly after he graduated high school from James Hill House High School in Connecticut. After he was discharged in 1941, he enlisted again to serve the military, particularly the United States Navy. Following the bombing of the Pearl Harbor, he was promoted as the gunner’s mate 1st class rank and held several other positions.


Sir Sidney Poitier

Sir Sidney Poitierthemanfromporlock.blogspot.com

Sir Sidney Poitier is a Bahamian-American actor who was named as one of the Greatest Male Stars of All Time in 1999. At age 15, he moved to New York City and worked as a dishwasher and waiter. His desire to serve the United States Army during his late adolescence came after reading a newspaper and learning about the need for more military volunteers in the United States.


Steve McQueen


Born Terence Stephen McQueen, Steve McQueen is an American actor best known for his role in The King of Cool. In 1947, he joined the United States Marine Corps where he was immediately promoted as Private First Class. He was also assigned to serve an armored unit but was demoted because of his rebellious behavior. After 41 days in military prison, he was assigned as the security honor guard of the private yacht of President Harry Truman.


Clark Gable

Clark Gableinterestingfacts12.blogspot.com

American actor William Clark Gable joined the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1942 as a gunner on an aircrew, following the death of his wife. He underwent several trainings and entered the USAAF OCS Class 42-E months after, where he was commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant. In 1943, he also headed a six-man team at RAF Polebrook 351st in the United Kingdom.


Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagantopshelfreagan.com

The 33rd Governor of California and 40th President of the United States, Ronald Wilson Reagan, enlisted in the Army Reserve following his completion of the fourteen home-study Army Extension Courses in 1937. Before he became an actor and ventured into politics, he joined the Army Air Force and was assigned to AAF Public Relations and the 18th Army Air Force Base Unit.


James “Jimmy” Stewart

James “Jimmy” Stewartwww.awesomestories.com

Born on May 20, 1908, James Maitland Stewart or Jimmy Stewart is a film actor that had a notable military career during his early years. He served as Brigadier General in the United States Air Force Reserve Base and served crucial roles during World War II and the Cold War. He was promoted as Colonel in 1953 and served as Air Force Reserve Commander at the Dobbins Air Reserve Base.


Henry Fonda

Henry Fondaluckypuppyoddfacts.com

Before American stage and film director Henry Fonda made a debut in Hollywood in 1935, he was enlisted in the Navy to fight in the World War and helped to raise funds for the military defense of Great Britain. He served as 3rd Class Quartermaster on the USS Satterlee Destroyer and was later promoted as Air Combat Intelligence in the Central Pacific.


Sean Connery

Sean Connerybilldesowitz.com

Multi-awarded Scottish actor and producer Sean Connery joined the Royal Navy before he ventured into Hollywood. He got two tattoos during his service in the militia to show his lifelong commitment to his family and to his country, Scotland.


Tony Curtis

Tony Curtiswww.telegraph.co.uk

Bernard Schwartz, more commonly known as Tony Curtis, is an American actor who rose to fame in the 1950’s. Following the Pearl Harbor attack during World War II, he enlisted in the United States Navy and the Pacific Submarine Force. He also served aboard the submarine USS Proteus until the war came to an end.


Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzeneggercoltrevolver.umwblogs.org

Long before he ventured into Hollywood and politics and became an executive and a professional bodybuilder, Arnold Schwarzenegger served the Austrian Army to fulfill the requirement of the Austrian government among Austrian males to render at least one year of service in the military. He was around 21 years old when he served the militia and underwent basic army training in 1965.


Bill Cosby

Bill Cosbywww.history.navy.mil

Bill Cosby is an American comedian, producer, and activist who joined the United States Navy and served the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Virginia. He was also assigned to serve in the Naval Station in Argentina, and Newfoundland Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland. His assignment involved helping the injured Korean War casualties by providing physical therapy treatment at Hospital Corpsman.


Sammy Davis, Jr.

Sammy Davis, Jr.www.boston.com

American entertainer, dancer, and impersonator Sammy Davis, Jr. has always been a large civil rights financial supporter. During the 1940’s, he decided to serve the United States Army and was assigned to a Special Services Unit in integrated entertainment. Following his discharge from the military, he regained his fame by producing albums and acting.


Song Seung Heon

Song Seung Heonchichismusings.blogspot.com

Song Seung Heon is a South Korean Actor best known for his role in Endless Love, Autumn in My Heart and Summer Scent. He tried to avoid the compulsory military service in South Korea but failed. He served the Korean military for two years and was discharged in 2006 with the Corporal rank, which earned him the attention of the media.




Jung Ji Hoon, more popularly known as Rain, is a South Korean superstar who now manages the J. Tune Entertainment Company. He held off his military service until 2011 to pursue his Masters Degree. In 2012, he enlisted in the military and served for 21 months at the Uijeongbu Camp in the province of Gyeonggi-Do. He was also transferred to the Ministry of national Defense months after.


Hyun Bin

Hyun Binonekpop.com

Best known for his role in Kim Sam Soon and Secret Garden, South Korean actor Hyun Bin volunteered to render military service to the Marine Corps in 2010 as part of the Marine Corps Compulsory Military Service. He was discharged and received special citation as an exemplary soldier upon his release on December 6, 2012.


Lee Dong-Gun

Lee Dong-Gunwww.dkpopnews.net

Born Emmanuel Lee, Lee Dong-Gun is a South Korean actor, singer, and model who enlisted for 21 months of active duty to render military service in the South Korean militia. He enlisted in June 2010 and was immediately appointed Honorary Ambassador of Military. When he was discharged on March 28, 2012, he was appointed as the 2012 Korean Formula One Ambassador.


Kim Ji-Seok

Kim Ji-Seokwww.hancinema.net

A rapper in the five-member band Eurodance, Kim Ji-Seok enlisted in South ChungCheong Province for his mandatory military service on May 24, 2010. He had most of his army trainings at the Nonsan Training Center where he stayed for five weeks. He served at the Defense Media Agency of the Ministry of National Defense in Seoul and was discharged March 2012.




Born Park Jae-Sang, Psy is a South Korean singer; rapper and dancer who popularized the hit single Gangnam Style. He was enlisted in the South Korean Military in 2003 but was excused from military duty because of his employment in a government-owned software developing company. He was released from his duties in 2005 and produced his fourth album shortly afterwards.


Dale Robertson

Dale Robertsonwww.ammoland.com

In 1942, Dale Robertson entered as a Private in the Horse Cavalry where he served until 1945. He also joined the military as a tank commander in the 777th Battalion in North Africa and he was promoted to first Lieutenant with 332ng Combat Engineers in the third Army of Patton. As an actor, he is best known for his roles in the television series entitled Dynasty & Dallas.


Ed McMahon, Jr.

Ed McMahon, Jr.www.militarymuseum.org

Ed McMahon has served the military longer than most actors have. He was the Captain of the United States Marine Corps from 1943 to 1945 and from 1952 to 1953. His career as a military man reached its peak during World War II and the Korean War, where he served as a Corsair fighter pilot instructor. He also led missions in Korea and earned six air medals. Later in his military service, he was promoted as the Colonel of the California National Guard.

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