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.