10 Celebrities Who Risked Their Lives Serving In The U.S. Military


With Memorial Day just this past weekend, it's important to remember all the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives to keep us safe and protect our freedom.

While some people chose to have a career in any of the three strands in the military, others chose to purse new professions, some of which involve the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. You may even know the names of these former servicemen and women, as they've later gone on to become household names.

But who are we talking about? Here are 10 celebrities who've served in the U.S. military.

1. Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood
Military Service/Famous People

Prior to his 60 years in show business, Clint Eastwood was drafted into the Korean War.

The Gran Torino star was trained to be a lifeguard and swimming instructor at Fort Ord in California, and after three years of service, he eventually earned the rank of Corporal.

However, there was a moment in time Eastwood didn't think he'd survive. In 1951, he was on a Douglas AD-1 military aircraft that was travelling from Seattle to Sacramento.

There was a problem with the intercommunication system, and his plane ended up crashing into the Pacific Ocean.

"I thought I might [not] live. But then I thought, other people have made it through these things before," Eastwood said. "I kept my eyes on the lights on shore and kept swimming."

Due to this incident, Eastwood was prevented from serving in the war.

2. Hugh Hefner

Hugh Hefner

Although we associate Hugh Hefner with his massively successful Playboy empire, he was also a writer and cartoonist for the military's newspaper. He enlisted straight out of high school in 1944 was stationed in Camp Adair in Salem, Oregon, and Camp Pickett in Virginia before he was honorably discharged two years later.

3. Bea Arthur

Bea Arthur

While Bea Arthur had become a television icon for her role as Dorothy Zbornak on The Golden Girls, she had plenty of other accomplishments, such as her two years in the Marine Corps from 1943 to 1945.

At only 21 years old, Arthur worked as a truck driver and typist, and was one of the first members of the Women’s Reserve.

Although she was said to be argumentative and frank during her brief career, she was said to have felt it was her civic duty to join when the Marines finally decided open up enlistments for women.

By the time Arthur was honorably discharged, she had been given the title of staff sergeant.

4. Bob Ross

Bob Ross

Before Bob Ross became a household name, he was a member of the United States Air Force for 20 years. But before the celebrated painter retired with the rank of master sergeant, he felt the need to make a drastic career shift.

"I was the guy who makes you scrub the latrine, the guy who makes you make your bed, the guy who screams at you for being late to work," Ross said

"The job requires you to be a mean, tough person. And I was fed up with it. I promised myself that if I ever got away from it, it wasn't going to be that way anymore," he added.

5. Ice-T


Way before he was known as Detective Fin Tutuola on Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, Ice-T served in the 25th Infantry Division, where he was stationed in Hawaii .

In an interview NPR, Ice-T revealed that enlisting in the army provided him with an out from living life as a drug dealer.

"Yeah. You know, I was, you know, 19, out of high school and I was testing the streets because at the time I didn't feel I had any other opportunities, you know," Ice-T shared.

"And when I had my daughter I was like, man, I'm going to go to jail, I got to do something, and I went to an enlistment office," the rapper said.

6. Drew Carey

Drew Carey

In 1981, Drew Carey was craving structure in his life, so he decided to join the United States Marine Corps Reserve, where he stayed for six years.

Not only did the The Price Is Right host gain self-assurance and direction during his tenure, he also started his career as a stand-up comedian.

"While in the Marine Reserves, I was looking for a way to make some more money, and it was suggested that I try using my jokes," Carey explained.

Since then, the United Services Organization has partnered with Carey to perform comedy routines to troops stationed in military bases in Iraq.

7. Tom Selleck

Tom Selleck
Woman's World/Lloyd Bishop/NBC

Before Tom Selleck was playing the role of Navy SEAL Thomas Magnum in Magnum P.I., he served in the California Army National Guard from 1967 to 1973.

While the actor later became a part of Hollywood's elite, Selleck is first and foremost a proud army veteran. He became a spokesman for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, and has done incredible work for the organization.

"We're trying to build an education center at the [Vietnam Veterans Memorial] Wall. I have a friend on the Wall. It's really important to me to reinforce the positive nature of our reaction to men and women in the military."

8. Elvis Presley


Remembered for his chart-topping hits like "Can't Help Falling in Love" and Jailhouse Rock," people often forget that Elvis Presley was drafted in the army during the height of his career.

While it was later revealed her had plenty of dirty secrets, he never hesitated from serving his country.

"The army can do anything it wants with me," he said. "Millions of other guys have been drafted, and I don't want to be different from anyone else."

The King of Rock n Roll began his service in Fort Hood, Texas but was eventually deployed to the 1st Medium Tank Battalion, 32d Armor in Friedberg, Germany. He served in the army for two years before he was honorably discharged in 1960.

Want to read more about our military heroes? Check out these articles below:

[H/T: Business Insider, Mental Floss, PEOPLE]

Snapchat banner

Maya has been working at Shared for a year. She just begrudgingly spent $200 on a gym membership. Contact her at maya@shared.com