Movie Stars of World War II
How Hollywood joined the war and fought for freedom

Armies do not fight wars; nations fight wars. War is not a military activity conducted by soldiers, but rather a social activity that involves entire nations. . . . Lt. Col. Paul Yingling, U.S. Army

Hollywood stars of the 1940s that put careers on hold to fight for freedom. Movie stars of World War II earned more than 300 medals and awards that honor their valor. U.S. awards and medals include Silver Stars, Distinguish Service Crosses, Air Medals, Bronze Stars, Presidential Unit Citations, Purple Hearts, and a Congressional Medal of Honor.

Bios excerpted from imdb.com and/or filmbug.com
Please send corrections and suggestions. Thanks!
Page last updated: July 9, 2012



Parley Baer (1914-2002) [Comanche Territory (1950); Last of the Dogmen (1995)] was born Parley Edward Baer in Salt Lake City, Utah and became a hefty balding character actor of mostly comedy hijinks who, during his six-decade career, proved a durable, hot-headed foil for TV's top sitcom stars such as Lucille Ball, Ozzie Nelson and on The Andy Griffith Show as Mayor Roy Stoner replacing Dick Elliott (Mayor Pike) who died in December of the second season. Earlier he had played "Chester" on the Gunsmoke radio series which ran from 1952 to 1961 (Dennis Weaver played the Chester role in the Gunsmoke TV series). Baer was the voice of Ernie Keebler on the Keebler cookies commercials. Served in the Army Air Corps in the Pacific theater in World War II, earning seven battle stars and a presidential citation. Attained rank of captain.





Conrad Bain (1923- ) [A Lovely Way to Die (1968); Postcards from the Edge (1990)] was born Conrad Stafford Bain in Lethbridge, Alberta. He is a Canadian-American television actor, best known for his tv roles of Dr. Arthur Harmon in Maude (1972-1978) and Phillip Drummond in Diff'rent Strokes (1978-1986). He enjoyed typically Canadian sports growing up (ice hockey, speed skating), but picked up an interest in acting while in high school, electing to train at Alberta's Banff School of Fine Arts after graduating. He subsequently joined the Canadian Army during World War II, then proceeded to pick up from where he left off following his discharge and study at New York's American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Marrying Monica Marjorie Sloane, an artist, in 1945, the actor became a naturalized U.S. citizen the following year. The couple went on to have three children.





Bob Baker (1910-1975) [Courage of the West (1937); Wild Horse Stampede (1943)] was home on the Hollywood range only a few years but Bob "Tumbleweed" Baker (nee Stanley Leland Weed) still made his mark by the time he rode off into the sunset. Born in Forest City, IA, his family eventually moved to Colorado and then to Arizona during his growing years. He enlisted in the Army when he was 18 and earned the nickname "Tumbleweed" while also learning how to play the guitar. He later served during World War II and the Korea War. Baker made an initial name for himself on radio. A chance audition for Universal Pictures, which was on the lookout to groom a new singing cowboy star after the meteoric success of Gene Autry, was his big break, beating out such other sagebrush hopefuls as Roy Rogers.





Martin Balsam (1914-1996) was an American character actor. He studied dramatics at the New School in New York City and then served in the Army Air Corps during World War II. In 1947 he was selected by Elia Kazan and Lee Strasberg to be a player in the Actors' Studio television program and went on to appear in a number of television plays in the 1950s and returned frequently to television as a guest star on numerous dramas. Balsam appeared in such film as On the Waterfront (1954); as Juror #1 in 12 Angry Men (1957); Psycho (1960); as the police chief in Cape Fear (1962); Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961); Seven Days in May (1964); Catch-22 (1970); and Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970). In 1967 he won a Tony Award for his appearance in the 1967 Broadway production of You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running.





John Baragrey (1918-1975) [The Loves of Carmen (1948); Pardners (1956)] was a "tall, dark and handsome" variety on 50s Broadway and in Hollywood. He found steady work on TV soaps and in guest spots, but found regrettably few film offers...and those he did find were for the most part highly unmemorable. Born in Haleyville, Alabama in 1919, he attended the University of Alabama and decided to make a go of it in acting, moving to New York for study. He toured the South Pacific with the USO play "Petticoat Fever" from 1943 to 1945 and met actress Louise Larabee, whom he later married. From 1962 to 1964 he appeared on the daytime soap The Secret Storm (1954).





Eric Barker (1912-1990) [Tom Brown's Schooldays (1916); Carry on Emmannuelle (1978)] was born Eric Leslie Barker in Thornton Heath, Surrey, England, and became one of the most familiar faces in British comedy. He got his start in show business during World War II, when he was part of the armed forces radio show Merry Go Round. After the war the show continued, though renamed The Waterlogged Spa, with Barker and his wife, Pearl Hackney. The show's success led to Barker's starring in other radio shows, where he achieved a rather sizable following due to his versatility at doing voices. By the mid-1950s Barker had made the move to films, and found his niche in playing variations on the busybody sticking his nose in everyone's business, or, in the case of the Carry On comedies, the gang's boss or some other authority figure who was usually on the receiving end of their shenanigans, most memorably in Carry on Constable (1960).





Lex Barker (1919-1973) [The Farmer's Daughter (1947); Away All Boats (1956)] was born Alexander Crichlow Barker Jr. in Rye, New York. He is best known as the tenth actor to play Tarzan in the movies, and starred in nearly thirty movies in the 1940s and 1950s. During this time he enlisted as a private to fight in World War II and eventually rose to the rank of Major. In 1957, as he found it harder and harder to find work in American films, Lex moved to Europe and found popularity and starred in over forty European films, especially in Germany.





Richard Barthelmess (1895-1963) [Just a Song at Twilight (1916); The Mayor of 44th Street (1942)] was born in Southampton, New York into a theatrical family in which his mother was an actress. While attending Trinity College in Connecticut, he began appearing in stage productions. While on vacation in 1916, a friend of his mother, actress Alla Nazimova, offered him a part in War Brides (1916), and Richard never returned to college. Barthelmess made 75 films in the twenty years between his first feature in 1916 and his semi-retirement from the screen in 1936. He appeared in only six more films between 1936 and 1942. His silent films number 57. His early talkies number 19. Richard joined the Navy Reserve in 1942 and served for the duration of World War II. When the war ended he retired to Long Island and lived off his real estate investments.





Benny Bartlett (1924-1999) [Timothy's Quest (1936); Dig That Uranium (1955)] was not only an actor but also an accomplished musician. In fact, he was such a child prodigy on the piano that, at eight years of age, he appeared in an RKO musical, Millions in the Air (1935), playing the piano. The next year he appeared in a short for Paramount, performing a composition he had written at the age of nine! The studio signed him to a contract soon afterwards. Bartlett began appearing with many of Paramount's biggest stars, and became such a hot property that he was often loaned out to other studios. By the early 1940s, though, he had reached the awkward age where he couldn't play juveniles anymore but wasn't quite ready for adult roles. The problem was solved when he joined the military and served in World War II. After his enlistment was over he resumed his acting career, and was cast as a member of the gang in the Bowery Boys comedies. He exited the series in 1955, and shortly afterwards left the film business entirely.





Alan Baxter (1909-1976) [Thirteen Hours by Air (1936); South Pacific (1957)] was born in East Cleveland, Ohio, the son of a Cleveland Trust Company VP. Following high school he studied drama at Williams College in Massachusetts, where he forged a strong friendship with fellow collegiate and future directing icon Elia Kazan. Once they graduated in 1930, the pair went on to attend the Yale School of Drama. He was too old for the draft in World War II but following a series of films including the classic Alfred Hitchcock thriller Saboteur (1942), in which he appeared as the meek-voiced, mustachioed, bespectacled, peroxide blond Nazi spy Freeman, Alan, at age 35, signed up for the Army Air Force in 1943, and made an appearance in the Broadway production of Moss Hart's Winged Victory, which later was turned into the 1944 movie version of the same name, also featuring Alan.





Geoffrey Bayldon (1924- ), a British actor, was born in Leeds, Yorkshire. He served in the Royal Air Force prior to training to be an actor. He trained at Old Vic Theatre School, 1947-1949. After playing roles in dramas of Shakespeare, he became famous with the role of Catweazle in the early 1970s and also played the Crowman in Worzel Gummidge. Bayldon made several film appearances in the 1960s and 1970s, including King Rat (1965), Casino Royale (1967) and the film version of the television series Porridge (1979). He also had a guest appearance in the long running BBC science fiction television series Doctor Who as Organon in The Creature from the Pit. More recently, he has also performed in two audio plays based on the Doctor Who television series by Big Finish Productions in the Doctor Who Unbound series - Auld Mortality and A Storm of Angels.





Don Beddoe (1891-1991) [Dear Old Dad (1938); Nickel Mountain (1984)] was an American character actor. Raised in New York City and Cincinnati, Ohio, Beddoe was the son of a professor at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music who happened also to be the world-famous Welsh tenor, Dan Beddoe. Although Don Beddoe intended a career in journalism, he took an interest in theatre and became involved first with amateur companies and then with professional theatre troupes. He debuted on Broadway in 1929 and kept up a decade-long career on the stage. Although said to have made some minor appearances in silent films, Beddoe made his real transfer to film work in 1938. He appeared in a wide range of supporting roles in literally scores of films, often as either a fast-talking reporter or as a mousey sort. He became one of the most readily familiar faces in Hollywood movies, despite remaining almost unknown by name outside the industry. Following service in the Army Air Corps during World War II, he continued to work steadily in small roles, complementing them with television work. Despite advancing (and very ripe old) age, he remained quite active, supplementing his acting work with a second career in real estate.





Harry Belafonte (1927- ) [Carmen Jones (1954); Uptown Saturday Night (1974)] was born in New York City. He attended George Washington High School, where he was on the track team. In 1944 he left high school and joined the Navy and served during World War II. His wife, Julie Robinson, was a featured dancer in Katherine Dunham's dance troupe. Both Harry and Julie were, and still are, extremely active fighting for civil rights for blacks by abasing, demeaning and devaluing other races. Belafonte is a communist sympathizer. He is an admirer and personal friend of Fidel Castro, the tyrant that has ruled Cuba since 1959. Belafonte was a close friend of Burt Lancaster and the other U.S. haters that penetrated and took control of Hollywood political thought after the Korean War.

From Beth:
"While showing my class a website that I though was about actors who defended our country I came across the entry below [above]. Congratulations! Fifty ten year olds now know about racism because of you. I had to explain that you were simply ignorant. The two black children in my class felt bad but their classmates assured them that you were a racist and not normal. I am so proud that they are true Americans and not fooled by prejudiced haters."

My response:
"If you choose to lie to your students its on you, not me. Harry Belafonte is a self-proclaimed, proud Marxist and he gloats that Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez are among his closest friends. He visits both tyrants regularly. Moreover, if you're in denial that he devalues other races, then you're the ignorant one and need to remove yourself from the classroom."

Isn't it amazing how PC teachers have become? It's now racist to tell the truth about one black man. Notice that SHE dwells on the color of Belafonte's skin yet calls me the racist. Notice also that I mentioned Burt Lancaster as an anti-American, just like Belafonte, but Beth gives that part of the bio no relevance whatsoever. -- BTW Beth. Why not look it up. After all, you have access to the Internet, or are you too ignorant to use it?

Perhaps I should've used this photo instead of the one above:





Tony Bennett (1926- ) [The Oscar (1966); Christmas Dream (2000, TV)] was born Anthony Dominick Benedetto in the Astoria section of Queens in New York City. His father was a grocer and his mother a seamstress. By age 10 the young Benedetto was already singing, performing at the opening of the Triborough Bridge. He attended New York's High School of Industrial Arts where he studied music and painting (an interest he would always return to as an adult), but dropped out at age 16 to help support his family. He then set his sights on a professional singing career. This was interrupted when Benedetto was drafted into the United States Army in 1944 during World War II. He served in a combat position in the 63rd Infantry Division in France and Germany, until some remarks he made against racial segregation led to his being reassigned. Subsequently he sang with the Army military band and studied music at Heidelberg University. [Text excerpted from filmbug.com]





John Beradino (1917-1996) [The Kid from Cleveland (1949); Seven Thieves (1960)] was born in Los Angeles. He was a major league baseball player from 1939 to 1953, except for three years of military service in WW II (1942-1945). He played second base and shortstop for the St. Louis Browns, Cleveland Indians, and Pittsburgh Pirates. His team, the Indians, won the World Series in 1948. After injuring his leg in 1953, he retired from baseball and returned to acting. He had appeared in his first film in 1948, The Winner's Circle. After appearing in more than a dozen B-movies, as well as the espionage series I Led Three Lives (1953-1956), he was offered the role of Dr. Steve Hardy on the soap opera General Hospital. He played the role from the show's inception in 1963 until his death. -- [Excerpted from IMDB]





Carl Betz (1921-1978) [Inferno (1953); That Lady from Peking (1975)] was born in Pittsburgh, PA. He formed a repertory theatre company while still in high school, then worked in summer stock. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II, then attended Carnegie Tech. (Was tailback in the 1938 Sugar Bowl of Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) versus Texas Christian University.) Following graduation, he worked as a radio announcer. He made his Broadway debut in The Long Watch. He was given a contract at Twentieth Century-Fox and appeared in supporting roles in a number of films before moving to TV. After a brief period working in soap operas, he was cast as Dr. Alex Stone on the popular "The Donna Reed Show" (1958) and spent eight years there. He followed that show with another series, "Judd for the Defense" (1967), in which he played a masterful attorney. He worked primarily in TV, in both guest appearances and TV movies, throughout the 1970s, though he continued to work on stage in the U.S. He fought a gallant fight against early cancer but died in 1978. -- [Excerpted from IMDB]





Jack Beutel (1915-1989) [The Outlaw (1943); Best of the Badmen (1951)]. No, contrary to what you see on the Web, it is not spelled Buetel. The credits on The Outlaw is Beutel. Born Warren Higgins in Dallas, Texas, Beutel moved to Los Angeles, California in the late 1930s with the intention of establishing a film career. Unable to find such work, he was employed as an insurance clerk when he was noticed by an agent who was impressed by his looks. Introduced to Howard Hughes, who was about to begin filming The Outlaw, Beutel was signed to play the lead role as Billy the Kid. Beutel served in the Navy during WWII. -- [Text excerpted from Wikipedia and IMDB]






Edward Binns (1916-1990) [North by Northwest (1959); Whatever It Takes (1986)] was a stage and film actor. After appearing in a number of Broadway plays, Binns begain appearing in films in the early 1950s. Some of his notable roles include playing Juror #6 (the painter) in 12 Angry Men (1957) and Major General Walter Bedell Smith in the Academy Award-winning film Patton (1970). Binns also appeared in dozens of television programs including being a cast member of It Takes a Thief (1969-1970). Binns died at the age of 74 while traveling from New York to his home in Connecticut. Served in the U.S. Merchant Marine in World War II as a wireless officer. -- [Excerpted from IMDB]





Joey Bishop (1918-2007) [The Naked and the Dead (1958); The Delta Force (1986)] was born Joseph Abraham Gottlieb, the youngest of five children of Eastern European immigrants. He was raised in Philadelphia and learned while growing up how to tap dance, do imitations and play the mandolin and banjo. Dropping out of high school at 18, he started out in the humor business in vaudeville as part of a comedy act with his brother. Billed as "Joey Gottlieb" at the time, he later joined a comedy group that called themselves "The Bishop Trio" and kept the last name for himself after the team broke up. His career was interrupted to serve in the Army during World War II but quickly resumed after his discharge in 1945. He appeared on television as early as 1948. Later, he generated public interest as the less-than-slick member of Hollywood's "Rat Pack", which was comprised of ultra-hip pals Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Peter Lawford. -- [Excerpted from IMDB and filmbug.com]





Dirk Bogarde (1921-1999) was born Derek Jules Gaspard Ulric Niven van den Bogaerde in the London suburb of Hampstead, of mixed Dutch-British ancestry. He joined the army and served in World War II, after which his good looks helped him begin a career as a film actor. His 1950 appearance as the criminal who shot P.C. George Dixon in The Blue Lamp launched him as a lead player, but it was the comedy, Doctor in the House (1954), that made him a star. He quickly became a matinee idol. During the 1960s and 1970s, Bogarde gradually abandoned his heart-throb image for more challenging parts, such as the ex-Nazi in The Night Porter (1974), a bored University professor in Accident (1967), and, most notably, as Gustav von Aschenbach in Death in Venice (1971). -- [Excerpted from IMDB]





Rudy Bond (1912-1982) [A Streetcar Named Desire (1951); The Rose (1979)] was born Rudolph Bond in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the second youngest of five children. He was raised in urban Philadelphia by his mother. He was educated in Philadelphia schools, and eventually received a BA degree from Central High, the only school in the nation certificated to grant such degrees. At age 16 Bond was introduced to the world of acting. He was playing basketball with a group of friends when Julie Sutton, the director of a city amateur acting group (Neighborhood Players, which performed in the same building as the basketball area) approached the group and asked if anybody wanted to be in an upcoming play. He volunteered, and acted in several plays before leaving Philadelphia to join the United States Army. He spent four years in the army, was wounded while serving in World War II, and returned to Philadelphia upon his discharge.





Tommy Bond (1926-2005) was born Thomas Ross Bond in Dallas, Texas, and is forever etched in our minds as the bully with the protruding lip who gave beloved Alfalfa plenty of angst in the "Our Gang" serial shorts. He was actually a gentle, benign soul off the set. He was discovered by a Hal Roach talent scout at the age of five simply walking hand-in-hand down a Dallas street with his mother. Asked to interview in Hollywood, Tommy made the exhausting Depression-era trek by car with his grandmother and was not disappointed. Tommy served in the Army during World War II and found "B" feature work with Man from Frisco (1944), which was one of his best roles, The Beautiful Cheat (1945) and Big Town Scandal (1948), among others. Another highlight of his career was playing cub reporter Jimmy Olson in the Superman (1948) and Atom Man vs. Superman (1950) cliffhangers that starred Kirk Alyn and Noel Neill.





Richard Boone (1917-1981) [Have Gun - Will Travel (tv 1957-1963), Big Jake (1971)] was a college student, boxer, painter and oil-field laborer before ending up in the U.S. Navy during World War II. After the war he used the G.I. Bill to study acting with the Actor's Studio in New York. -- [Excerpted from IMDB]





Ernest Borgnine (1917-2012) [Marty (1955); Bad Day At Black Rock (1955); The Dirty Dozen (1967)]. Joined the United States Navy in 1935 after high school. He was discharged in 1941, but re-enlisted when the U.S. entered WW II and served until 1945 reaching the rank of Gunner's Mate 1st Class. His military decorations include the American Campaign Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the American Defense Service Medal with Fleet Clasp, and the World War II Victory Medal. In 2004, Borgnine received the honorary rank of Chief Petty Officer from the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, Terry D. Scott -- the U.S. Navy's highest ranking enlisted sailor at the time -- for Borgnine's support of the Navy and Navy families worldwide. Borgnine died July 8, 2012, of renal failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.





Tom Bosley (1927-2010) [The World of Henry Orient (1964); Divorce American Style (1967)] is an American actor. Bosley was born in Chicago, Illinois and during World War II he served in the U.S. Navy. While attending DePaul University in Chicago in 1947, he made his stage debut in Our Town with the Canterbury Players at the Fine Arts Theatre. His breakthrough stage part was as New York's Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia in the long-running Broadway musical Fiorello! (1959) for which he won a Tony Award. He is best known as Ritchie Cunningham's father, Howard, in the long running sitcom "Happy Days" (1974-1984) and he also portrayed the titular Father Frank Dowling on the TV mystery series, "Father Dowling Mysteries" (1989-1991). -- [Text excerpted and edited from filmbug.com]





Pat Brady (19141972, right, in photo) [Rio Grande (1938;) The Man from Music Mountain (1943); Twilight in the Sierras (1950)] was born Robert Ellsworth O'Brady in Toledo, Ohio and died in Green Mountain Falls, Colorado. He was a regular on the Roy Rogers/ Dale Evans TV Series. He named his onscreen jeep Nellybelle. He played the bass fiddle with the Sons of the Pioneers and the group was awarded a star at 6843 Hollywood Blvd on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for recording. During World War II he served in the US army as a tank crewman in the 4th Armored Dvision, a unit of Gen. George S. Patton's Third Army.





Scott Brady (1924-1985) [Canon City (1948); Gremlins (1984)] was born in Brooklyn of Irish-American parents and christened Gerard Kenneth Tierney. He was called Jerry by his parents, Lawrence and Maria Tierney. Both Scott's older and younger brothers, Lawrence and Edward, went on to become actors as well. Scott grew up in Westchester County and attended Roosevelt and St. Michael's High Schools. Like his older brother Lawrence, Scott was an all-round athlete in school and earned letters for basketball, football and track and expressed early designs on becoming a football coach or radio announcer. Instead he enlisted before graduating from HS and served as a naval aviation mechanic overseas in World War II. During his term of duty he earned a light heavyweight boxing medal. He was discharged in 1946 and decided to head for Los Angeles where his older brother Lawrence was making encouraging strides as an actor.





Neville Brand (1920-1992) joined the US Army in 1939, meaning to make a career in the military. According to official military records, Brand was the recipient of the Silver Star for gallantry in combat. His other awards and decorations are the Purple Heart, the Good Conduct Medal, the American Defense Service Ribbon, the European/ African/ Middle Eastern Theater Ribbon with three Battle Stars, one Overseas Service Bar, one Service Stripe, and the Combat Infantryman's Badge. It was while he was in the Army that he made his acting debut, in Army training films, and this experience apparently changed the direction of his life. Once a civilian again, he used his GI Bill education assistance to study drama with the American Theater Wing and then appeared in several Broadway plays. His first movie was D.O.A. (1950). Among his earliest films was the Oscar-winning Stalag 17 (1953). His heavy features and gravelly voice made Brand a natural tough guy. He played Al Capone in The George Raft Story (1961), The Scarface Mob (1959 TV), and TV's The Untouchables (1959). Among his other memorable roles are the sympathetic guard in Birdman of Alcatraz (1962) and the representative of rioting convicts in Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954).





Walter Brennan (1894-1974) [The Long, Long Trail (1929); Sergeant York (1941); Smoke in the Wind (1975)]. In many ways the most successful and familiar character actor of American sound films and the only actor to date to win three Oscars for Best Supporting Actor, Walter Brennan attended college in Cambridge, Massachusetts, studying engineering. While in school he became interested in acting and performed in school plays. Brennan enlisted in the U.S. Army at age 22 to serve in World War I. He served in an artillery unit and although he got through the war without being wounded, his exposure to poison gas ruined his vocal chords, leaving him with the high-pitched voice texture that made him a natural for old man roles while still in his thirties. He was too old to serve in World War II.





Tony Britton (1924- ) [Waterfront (1950); Dead End City (1988)]. Renowned British classical stage star Tony Britton was born in Birmingham, England, the son of Edward Leslie and Doris (Jones) Britton. He took his first professional curtain call at age 18 in Quiet Weekend with a company in Weston-Super-Mare just before joining the Army in November of 1942. Serving with the Royal Artillery for 4 1/2 years, he eventually returned to the theater after the war, at first in the capacity of an assistant stage manager at the Manchester Library Theatre. While there he progressed to lead actor, then made his London debut in The Rising Wind at the Embassy Theatre.





Charles Bronson (1921-2003) [The Great Escape (1963); Death Wish (1974)]. Joined the Army Air Forces in 1943 and served as an aircraft gunner in the 760th Flexible Gunnery Training Squadron, and in 1945 as a B-29 Superfortress tail gunner with the 39th Bombardment Group based on Guam. He also served on Tinian and Saipan. He was awarded a Purple Heart for wounds received during his service.





Joe Brooks (1923-2007) [The All American (1953); Eye of the Tiger (1986)] was born in Los Angeles and became an actor after graduating high school. He did some work as an extra, and his first speaking part was in John Wayne's The Fighting Seabees (1944). Brooks' acting career was interrupted by World War II service in the South Pacific. Returning to California after the war, he got back into acting again. He spent most of his career in bit parts and extra work until he was called to audition for the pilot for the western comedy series F Troop (1965). When told he would be testing for the part of the lookout, Brooks got the idea to play him as extremely nearsighted, making him virtually useless as a sentry. The pilot sold and Brooks was cast in the series as the "sight-impaired" lookout, Trooper Vanderbilt.





Mel Brooks (1926- ) [Comedian, actor, producer and director, i.e, Blazing Saddles (1974)] served in the U.S. Army in WW II as a combat engineer and took part in the Battle of the Bulge. His main job was to deactivate land mines.





Robert Brubaker (1916-2010) [The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell (1955); The Bus Is Coming (1971)] is the son of George Brubaker and descendant of Jonas Sparks, a friend of frontiersman Daniel Boone. Born in Robinson, IL, Brubaker was acting in NYC when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. The show quickly closed and he returned to Hollywood in early 1942 where he subsequently volunteered for the US Army Air Force and became a pilot. He was an instructor and then an aircraft commander in B-24's. His group was selected to go overseas twice but never got past San Francisco before orders were canceled. He ended the war at Gowen Field in Boise, ID, and was discharged in Dec., 1945. He returned to Hollywood, but not for long. In 1949 he was recalled to active duty for the Berlin Airlift and flew 130 missions. Back home, he was greeted by Gen. Curtis LeMay, Commanding General of the Strategic Air Command, who promptly drafted him and his bomber experience for SAC. As a B-29 pilot for his second Air Force tour he was assigned to the Korean War for 9 months and flew nearly 100 missions over North Korea. After Korea and his release from SAC, he returned to Hollywood and his movie career.





Raymond Burr (1917-1993) [Sleep, My Love (1948); Rear Window (1954)] was born Raymond William Stacy Burr in New Westminster, British Columbia. Burr spent most of his early life travelling. While still young, his father moved his family to China, while the elder Burr worked as a trade agent. When the family returned to Canada, Raymond's parents divorced; his mother then took him to Vallejo, California, where she raised him with the aid of his grandparents. As he got older, Burr began to take jobs to support his mother, younger sister and younger brother. He took jobs as a ranch hand in Roswell, New Mexico; as a deputy sheriff; a photo salesman; and even as a singer in night clubs. In World War II, Burr served in the Navy. When in Okinawa, he was shot in the stomach and sent home. Soon after Burr made his film debut in San Quentin (1946). From there, he went on to act in more than 90 films before landing the role of defense attorney, Perry Mason, in the series of the same name (1957-1966). Then, in 1993, in a battle with cancer dating back to his days on Perry Mason, he died at his ranch home.





Richard Burton (1925-1984) [The Longest Day (1962); Where Eagles Dare (1968)] was born Richard Jenkins, the son of a Welsh coal miner. He received a scholarship to Oxford University to study acting and made his first stage appearance in the early 1940s. During World War II, he was admitted to Exeter College, Oxford in 1944 to take the "University Short Course" for six months as a Royal Air Force cadet. He served until 1947.





Peter Butterworth (1919-1979) [William Comes to Town (1948); The First Great Train Robbery (1979)]. His promising career in the British Navy ended when the plane in which he was traveling was shot down by the Germans in World War II and he was placed in a POW camp. There he became close friends with Talbot Rothwell (later a writer on the British TV "Carry On" series, on which Butterworth often worked) and the two began writing and performing sketches for camp shows to entertain the prisoners (and to cover up the noise of other prisoners digging escape tunnels). After the war Butterworth decided to continue his acting career, and soon became a familiar character actor in both films and television.





Red Buttons (1919-2006) [Sayonara (1957); The Longest Day (1962) ] went to work in burlesque in 1939 and in 1941 Jose Ferrer asked Buttons to appear in Vicki, Buttons' first Broadway show. In 1942, Buttons appeared in Wine, Women and Song, the last burlesque show in New York City. In 1943, while serving in the Army Air Corp., Buttons was chosen for a role in Moss Hart's Broadway show Winged Victory and then in the motion picture of the same name for Darryl Zanuck with George Cukor directing. During World War II, Buttons joined Mickey Rooney in France and entertained the troops all through the European Theater of Operations.


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