In honour of
Veteran’s Day, we’re taking a look back at some of Hollywood’s most famous faces who have served in the military.
Some stars, such as Chuck Norris or Elvis Presley, have well documented their time in the armed forces, while others, like Drew Carey, may come as more of a surprise.
Check out 20 entertainment icons who served in the armed forces, including one “Golden Girl.”
In 1981, Drew Carey entered the United States Marine Corps Reserve, a stint that lasted six years.
It was during his service that he first started performing stand-up comedy.
'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,' he later said.
Carey, who teamed up with the United Services Organisation, has since visited military bases in Iraq to perform comedy for troops.
Before Playboy existed, Hefner had a successful career in the military.
In 1944, after graduating high school, Hefner enlisted in the Army as an infantry clerk.
He frequently contributed cartoons for various military newspapers before he was discharged in 1946.
Before she landed a lead role in 'Golden Girls,' Bea Arthur served in the Marine Corps.
According a personal account detailing her reasons for joining, a then 21-year-old Arthur said she 'heard last week that enlistments for women in the Marines were open, so decided the only thing to do was to join.'
On an obtained personality appraisal sheet, Arthur was described as both argumentative and frank.
She was initially a typist in Washington D.C., and was then stationed at air stations in Virgina and North Carolina. Arthur was honorably discharged in 1945 with the title of staff sergeant.
Television star and martial arts professional Chuck Norris joined the United States Air Force in 1958, and served as an Air Policeman in South Korea.
In 'The Official Chuck Norris Fact Book: 101 of Huck's Favourite Facts and Stories,' Norris recounts a time in South Korea when he saw locals practicing martial arts.
Norris, who had broken his shoulder a week into training, was on a walk when he observed villagers executing spinning heel kicks and other moves.
'I was mesmerized by their incredible ability. I wanted to ask them what they were doing, but they looked very intense,' he said. 'So I returned to the base and described what I had seen to my judo instructor, Master Ahn. He said it was called Tang Soo Do. I told him that I'd love to try it, since I couldn't do judo with my injured shoulder.'
By the time he left Korea, Norris had his black belt in Tang Soo Do and brown belt in judo.
The future television host and comedian joined the U.S. Navy in 1943, starting as an apprentice shipman and eventually a midshipman assigned to the USS Pennsylvania in the Pacific Ocean.
The then 20-year-old entertained his fellow Navymen with magic and comedy while aboard the ship.
Carson briefly continued his military career as communications officer in charge of decoding encrypted messages.
Actor Bill Cosby joined the Navy in 1956 as a hospital corpsman, serving at at least five marine bases throughout his four-year service.
Cosby worked in physical therapy with seriously injured Korean War soldiers.
At a 2011 Navy ceremony designating Cosby as an honorary chief petty officer, the entertainer spoke about his time in the armed services.
'The years I spent in the Navy and so many moments remembering that the Navy gave me a wake-up call. The Navy showed me obedience and that's the thing that pushed me to realise the mistakes I had made in my young life at 19-years-old and that I could do something with myself and become somebody,' he said.
After high school, Tracy Lauren Marrow aka Ice-T found himself without much opportunity, often dealing drugs on the streets of Los Angeles to support himself.
'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,' he told NPR.
Ice-T then spent four years in the 25th Infantry Division at the Tropic Lightning Schofield Barracks in Hawaii.
Elvis Presley was drafted in December 1957, and entered into the United States Army in March 1958 -- two years after his songs 'Hound Dog' and 'Heartbreak Hotel' hit the airwaves and turned an unknown Mississippi boy into America's King of Rock and Roll.
'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.'
Presley was stationed in Fort Hood, Texas before being deployed to the 1st Medium Tank Battalion, 32d Armour in Friedberg, Germany. It was there that he met his future wife, Priscilla Beaulieu.
Elvis was honorably discharged in 1960.
Take a look at some footage of Elvis's deployment here.
Montel Williams enlisted in the U.S. Marines Corp. in 1974. After graduating the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, he was appointed as a midshipman in the Navy.
Williams served as a cryptologic officer for naval intelligence in Guam, and in 1983 was transferred to the National Security Agency in Maryland. It was there that the then-lieutenant first began counseling his team and service men's families, a service that paved the way to further public speaking and 'The Montel Williams Show.'
When Williams left the Navy, he had received the Navy Achievement Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Navy Commendation Medal.
Montel continued to support sailors, marines and their families throughout his two decades on television, and was awarded The Department of the Navy Superior Public Service Award in 2008.
The future James Bond enlisted in the Royal Navy at the age of 16.
After three years of service, Connery was discharged because a stomach ulcer was threatening his health.
He returned to work as a bricklayer and lifeguard in Edinburgh, Scotland, eventually moving onto bodybuilding, which paved the way for a career in modelling and film.
In 1965, Arnold Schwarzenegger served in the Austrian Army -- a service then required by all 18-year-old Austrian males.
As a young weight trainer, Schwarzenegger snuck out of camp for a week so he could take part in the Junior Mr. Europe contest. Though he won the competition's title, he was punished for leaving camp and had to spend a few days in military prison.
After moving from the Bahamas to the United States as a teenager, Poitier had a hard time finding work and New York City's bitter winter temperatures were a drastic change of environment for the now Academy Award-winning actor.
So, in November 1943, at the ripe age of 16, he lied about his age and entered the Army.
According to the Los Angeles Sentinel, 'The U.S. Army literally took him in out of the cold.'
Poitier served as a medical attendant at a mental hospital in New York, but eventually grew tired of Army life. Instead of admitting his real age, he faked insanity, though he eventually came clean upon threat of shock treatments.
After talking to a psychiatrist for several weeks, Poitier was eventually granted release from the Army.
Clint Eastwood got his acting start in Western flicks, but his time serving during the Korean War presented the actor with the adventure of a lifetime.
Eastwood was a lifeguard and swimming instructor at Fort Ord, eventually being promoted to corporal.
One night in October of 1951, Eastwood was on a Douglas AD-1 military aircraft that had departed from Seattle and was heading to Sacramento.
The plane's intercommunications system failed, forcing the aircraft to crash into the Pacific Ocean, two miles off Port Reyes. Though he had to swim to shore, Eastwood escaped serious injury.
'I thought I might 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.'
When authorities caught Hendrix riding in stolen cars in Seattle, they gave him two options -- go to jail, or join the Army.
So, in 1961, Hendrix enlisted and was assigned the 101st Airborne Dibision in Kentucky.
Though Hendrix had some success -- he was awarded the Screaming Eagles patch after completing paratrooper training -- his constant guitar playing often kept him from his duties and drew criticism from fellow soldiers.
Hendrix was later discharged from the Army due to a ankle injury sustained in a parachute jump.
...And the rest is Rock 'n' Roll history.
Writer and director Mel Brooks was attending high school in Brooklyn when he was first considered for the Army.
'...I was 17 and the army came there and they took one look at me and they said, Melvin, you're our guy. They issued a test, the army specialised training reserve program test. If you pass this test, I think it was like how much is one and one, you know?' he said. 'And I nearly failed because I said, well, side by side they're 11, but they took me anyway.'
Thereafter, he attended the Army Specialised Training Program at the Virginia Military Institute.
He served in the United States Army as a corporal during World War II, a service that had him defusing land mines and fighting in the Battle of the Bulge.
Long before Alan Alda had the fictional role as Hawkeye Pierce in 'M*A*S*H,' a CBS series about a team of medical staff stationed at a surgical hospital in South Korea during the Korean War, he had his own personal military experience.
After serving in Fordham University's Reserve Officers' Training Corps, he found his way into the Army Reserve, where he was deployed for six months.
Alda later spoke to Southern Connecticut State University about his stint in the military, saying, 'They had designs of making me into an officer but, uh ... it didn't go so well. I was in charge of a mess tent. Some of that made it into the show (M*A*S*H).'
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