The Essentials: Veterans Day Special
To celebrate Veterans Day this year, we at Bulletproof Action would like to send a heart-felt thank you to all the soldiers out there, past and present, who have served our country with honor. Between watching episodes of Band of Brothers, I’d like to present to you this list of action icons who also served in our nations military. There haven’t been many actors running off to join up in quite a while but during the “greatest generation”, it was all the rage. People had a sense of patriotism that went passed talking shit about your country like that douche Sean Penn. Without further ado, here is my list of Essential Veteran Action Stars.
- Audie Murphy
Murphy was born into a large sharecropping family and after his father abandoned them and his mother died, Murphy used his skills with a hunting rifle to put food on the table. Audie’s sister helped him falsify documents in order to enlist in the military but he was turned down by the Navy and the Marine Corps before finally getting into the Army. He saw his first action in the Allied invasion of Sicily and Anzio and later was part of the liberation of Rome and the invasion of Southern France.
Audie Murphy had an acting career which spanned from 1948 to 1969, appearing in more than 40 feature films and in one TV series. Before that Murphy was one of the most highly decorated soldiers in American military history. In fact, Audie Murphy may be the only guy ever to star in a movie based on a book about himself, written by himself. The movie is title To Hell and Back and it should be required viewing for all Americans. If half of what is in the movie is true then Murphy was the ultimate soldier during World War 2, wasting German soldiers with the skill of a John Rambo.
- Kirk Douglas
Douglas enlisted in the US Navy in 1941, shortly after the US entered the World War 2. He was later medically discharged for war injuries in 1944. In his autobiography Douglas said he tried to get into the Air Force but failed their psychological test. He would become a Communication Officer in antisubmarine warfare.
Douglas’ acting career spanned from 1946 all the way to 2008. That is a long ass time to be acting but Douglas has made some really sweet movies in his career including Spartacus, Paths of Glory, 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, and The Final Countdown.
- George C. Scott
Scott served in the US Marine Corps from 1945 until 1949, and later served as a guard at Arlington National Cemetary. He also taught English literature at the Marine Corps Institue. He is most known for portraying General George Patton in the film Patton, which he refused the Oscar nomination but won it anyway.
- Steve McQueen
McQueen joined the Marine Corps and was promoted to Private First Class and assigned to an armored unit. Much like his bad boy persona, McQueen was demoted seven times even getting thrown in the brig for going AWOL to see his girlfriend. Eventually he would get serious about his career and he saved the lives of five other Marines during and Arctic exercise, pulling them from a tank before it broke through the ice and fell into the sea below. McQueen served until 1950 when he was honorable discharged and started studying acting after using his G.I. Bill to pay for his training.
McQueen would become one of the biggest stars in the world and is famous for roles in such movies as The Great Escape, Wanted: Dead or Alive, Papillon, and Bullitt.
- Dennis Franz
After graduating from college in 1968, Franz was drafted and immediately enlisted in officer’s school. He served 11 months with the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions in Vietnam. Franz says “It was life-altering. I came back a much different person than when I left, much more serious. I left my youth over there.” Franz would begin his career in 1978 with the film Remember My Name but is most famous for playing Detective Andy Sipowicz on NYPD Blue from 1993-2005.
- Jimmy Stewart
Stewart was already an established actor by the time World War 2 came around and was the first American movie star to don a uniform for WW2. An avid pilot, Stewart already had his pilot’s license and hours of pre-war flying experience. He enlisted 2 years prior to Pearl Harbor and after he began flying combat missions, he was quickly promoted to Major and then Colonel, eventually becoming a Brigadier General after the war in the Reserves. Stewart would return to the US and star in such movies as Rear Window, It’s a Wonderful Life, Vertigo, and Anatomy of a Murder.
- Paul Newman
Before he was making popcorn and what not, Newman had enrolled in a Navy program hoping to become a pilot. He unfortunately was color blind and instead became a radioman/gunner in torpedo bombers. Later he flew from aircraft carriers as a turret gunner in an Avenger torpedo bomber. In the spring of 1945, he served aboard the USS Bunker Hill during the Battle of Okinawa.
After the war he completed his BA degree in drama and economics at Kenyon College in Ohio. Newman was one of the few actors to make the transition from 1950’s cinema to the movies of the 60’s and 70’s. Newman is famous for his roles in such classics as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting, and Cool Hand Luke.