Thump In The Morning

Thump In The Morning

Thump In The Morning

Actors have long tried to give audiences a taste of the realities of war and military service since the earliest days of the motion picture industry. But if called upon to portray a member of the Armed Forces on screen, many actors could draw from their own life experience. Some of history’s biggest stars served their countries in times of war and peace. Some experienced combat, while others were stationed in friendly countries or at home.

From comedians and action stars to dramatic actors and television icons, I have compiled a look at the stars who moved on from careers as servicemen and women to lives of fame. All branches of the military, including the Coast Guard, are represented on the list, along with some actors from foreign countries. Most of the actors who served will be remembered not for their service in a foreign theater overseas, but for their films that filled seats in movie theaters back home. Some celebrities, such as Elvis Presley and Clint Eastwood, are well known as having served in the military, And others, like Adam Driver and Ice-T, are not as widely known for their service. Rather than shining a light on the hundreds of films depicting the military or war, today we’re recognizing movie stars who served their country in real life.

This Veterans Day, take a moment to honor someone who took the time out to serve our country in the military. On top of that, you can check out a film or show featuring one of these Hollywood stars who served in the military. Some of the actors on this list have military careers that date back to World War II. While this list excludes celebrity veterans who have died, including people like Jimmy Stewart, Elvis Presley, Kirk Douglas and Bea Arthur, there’s more than enough patriotism on this list to go around.

  • Kevin Hart

    KEVIN HARTKevin Hart recently retired from the U.S. Army as a lieutenant colonel after 20 years of service as a nuclear medical science officer.

  • Morgan Freeman

    Morgan Freeman

    Morgan Freeman turned down a partial scholarship for acting and instead opted to join the Air Force. From 1955 to 1959, he served as a radar technician and rose to the rank of Airman 1st Class. He told AARP magazine (via that he felt as though he were sitting “in the nose of a bomb” once he finally trained to fly a fighter plane. “You are not in love with this; you are in love with the idea of this,” Freeman said.

  • James Earl Jones

    James Earl Jones

    Though he was recruited during the most active time during the Korean War and eventually rose to the rank of first lieutenant, James Earl Jones was stationed at a cold-weather training command base in Leadville, Colorado beginning in 1953.

  • Sinbad


    The comedian Sinbad told Ebony that he nearly had a dishonorable discharge for going AWOL while he was serving in the Air Force as a boom operator. He frequently left base to perform stand-up comedy.

  • Drew Carey

    Drew Carey

    Drew Carey still has his crew cut and signature glasses that he first wore during his Marine Corps days. He served as a field radio operator in the 25th Marine Regiment in Ohio. The comedian served for six years and has frequently given back to the military in the form of performances for the USO.

  • M.C. Hammer

    M.C. Hammer

  • Sunny Anderson

    Sunny Anderson

    Anderson, a long time Food Network host and an Army nerd, joined the Air Force in 1993 and worked as a radio broadcaster stationed in Seoul and San Antonio, she told ABC News.

  • Clint Eastwood

    Clint Eastwood

    Though he’s more well known as a cowboy and cop, Clint Eastwood was drafted into the Korean War and served as a lifeguard while training at Fort Ord in California. He was discharged in 1953 and was able to attend acting school during his tenure thanks to the G.I. Bill.

  • Tom Selleck

    Tom Selleck

    “Magnum P.I.” actor Tom Selleck served in the California Army National Guard between 1967 to 1973. Selleck has previously said he’s proud of his time in the military. “I am a veteran, I’m proud of it,” he told “We’re all brothers and sisters in that sense.

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