Skip to comments.Actors Who Served: Jimmy Stewart
Posted on 08/12/2012 11:48:03 AM PDT by DFG
Jimmy Stewart is perhaps the best known of the celebrities who served, partially because he chose to serve while already a successful movie star.
However, having come from a military family (both of his grandfathers had fought in the Civil War, and his father served in both the Spanish-American War and World War I), he saw it as his duty and was more than happy to serve.
Stewart already held his private pilots license when he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1940, but was rejected for being below the required weight of 148 pounds. Rather than going back to making movies, Stewart asked the studios trainer to help him put on weight. He still missed the weight requirement on his first attempt to enlist in the Army Air Corps.
Finally, he made weight and enlisted in March 1941.
Pvt. James Stewart began pilot training and earned a commission as a second lieutenant in January 1942, after the attack on Pearl Harbor brought the United States into World War II. He became an instructor pilot and performed limited engagements for the Army Air Forces. For example, he performed with Orson Welles, Lionel Barrymore and others in the radio program "We Hold These Truths," to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Bill of Rights.
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Would that we hands men such as he, in our nation’s hour of despair.
One of the best Hollywood stars ever.
Ronald Reagan also served, however, as public relations laison. He did a lot of good for the buying Bonds efforts. Not everyone can be a front line troop.
I would like to point out that John Wayne did NOT serve.
As compared to our actors of today? No one at this time can claim that record.
I presume you believe your comment to have some meaning.
That was supposed to be a hot link, not sure what happened.
I believe it’s obvious.
Reagan joined the cavalry in ‘37, long before the war started. His eyesight kept him out of combat.
John Wayne was 34 when the war started. There was no escaping the draft or avoidance on his part. Many actors of his age did not serve. Your snide implication is rather stupid.
By his support for our military the Duke served a very valuable purpose.....so he did serve..just not actively!!!
He liked to take those bows for a service he portrayed but never put his neck on the line.
Stewart enlisted in his 30s.
I know a former Navy Seal that said when Jimmy died the AF lost a good friend. He said he was an incredible pilot that could fly anything.....
It was important too, to keep enthusiasm up on the home front for the war effort, and movies can motivate people to seek tougher duty.
That ability can be more valuable to the war effort than just one more man with a rifle.
Eddie Albert of Green Acres fame rescued many Marines off Tarawa under heavy fire and awarded a Bronze Star for it. He rarely mentioned in his interviews.
To any inconsequential losers who think John Wayne was not a great American:
“Recently declassified Soviet documents reveal that .... Soviet premier Joseph Stalin ordered Wayne’s assassination as a result of his frequently-espoused anti-communist politics.”
That’s good enough for me.
A true American hero and one of my all time favorites.
Read this tribute to J. Wayne by R. Reagan if you’re interested. Truely, I think the Duke did enough.
Watched part the rerun of the PBS series WWII. They stated the percentage of troops that actually saw combat. Can’t remember the number but it was surprisingly small. 5%?
I heartily agree. Please excuse my digression but here's my list of the top 10 American male film stars in no particular order: John (Duke) Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Clark Gable, Jimmy Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Gary Cooper, Fred Astaire, Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum,Burt Lancaster. Honorable mention to Rock Hudson, Marlon Brando, and too many more to mention. I'm sure others' lists will be different.
Marion Morrison applied for admission to the Naval Academy in 1924 and was rejected. At the time of WWII he was 34 and classified as 3-A. Republic Pictures pressured Selective Service not to reclassify him as 1-A. All according to the book “John Wayne: American” by Randy Roberts and James Olson.
All I remember now from Mom's account was that Fonda was a high-ranking officer (don't recall which service). Power was a Marine pilot, IIRC. I must ask her for a catch-up on these details....
Also as I recall, Ronald Reagan also served, but in-country, not behind the lines as spokesman of a "propaganda" effort to shore up public support for the war in its dark days....
Does anybody know of any "bright lights" of contemporary Hollywood who have served their country in like capacity in recent times? Other than Gary Sinese who served and serves outside of a uniform?
The Duke was a great American, a fine actor, and a great American icon. And nobody looked more natural in the military and western outfits he wore. I miss him.
Louis Hayward was on Tarawa too, with a combat photography unit documenting the battle. Their work - “With the Marines on Tarawa”.
John Wayne did more to popularize the US Military and its role than a thousand actors enlisting to make Bond sales movies. That was the reality.
Dennis Franz was in Vietnam for 11 months in an Army reconnaissance unit.
We can’t forget Audie Murphy who was one of the most decorated soldiers in WW2
The reality is he enjoyed fame and fortune for it. I will never consider him a hero.
This is a real hero:
Charles Durning was in a lot of battles including D-Day. He was wounded 3 times and once was the only survivor of an attack on a machine gun.
He also earned the Bronze Star in addition to the purple hearts.
May God ever bless him for his service to our country!
Thank you so much, DFG, for putting Dennis Franz into this record of those in Hollywood who have honorably served their country in wartime.
That was the point of my asking. Are there other names we can add to this list, from among our contemporaries in Hollywood?
Telly Savalas(Army, ETO) Jason Robards(Navy, Pearl Harbor vet) Charles Durning(Army, ETO Normandy vet.)
Wayne motivated thousands of enlistments. He was practically the Head Recruitment Officer.
Who said anything about Wayne being a “hero”? Not me.
Wayne made a bunch of very enjoyable movies which I enjoy still. They generally exemplified pro-American themes and were considered to be true American icons.
He was no more a “hero” than a boxer, or a marshal or a rancher.
He was famous before WWII occurred. And wealthy.
He also stood up to the Commies when they were taking over Hollywood unlike another of my favorite actors, Bogie. There is a big reason the Left HATES John Wayne.
I have been collecting information on Celebrities In Uniform for over 10 years. Here’s my list:
That from someone who was airborne and detached to SF, will watch a Wayne (Morrison) movie whenever the chance comes, thinks the original Stagecoach is the greatest western ever, and whose mother claimed to have met him as high school students in Glendale (despite being ten years his junior...she did know Bob Wian so maybe I misheard).
Worst WWII propaganda film ever shot 20 years after the fact & in another country altogether.
Worst attempt at a Cowboys and Indians movie ever set in Indochina.
On the other hand, with kudos to Wayne, at the time only that film and Patton even attempted to portray us as the good guys during our time in Vietnam.
I think Ted Williams the greatest hitter ever to step up to the plate served in WWII and Korea as a pilot.
I think Ted Williams, the greatest hitter ever to step up to the plate, served in WWII and Korea as a pilot.
One you left off your list is Richard Todd.
I don’t recall the details but do know he was a combat veteran of WWII and am pretty sure a highly decorated one. I think he was Scottish so would have been in British Army.
Also a great actor.
Lee Marvin - Pacific Marine.
Those were the days when all Americans were proud to don the uniform to serve their country.
And let’s not forget Captain Kangaroo’s Mr. Greenjeans, ex-Marine, and Johnny Carson, Navy, and Ed McMahon, Naval Aviator, World War II.