One of the things that made Steve McQueen a genuine “king of cool” to his followers was his anti-hero persona. It drove girls crazy back in the 1960s and 70s, and his films were regularly flooded by fans, making them box office hits. Among his most popular films were Papillon, Bullit, The Thomas Crown Affair, The Great Escape, and The Cincinnati Kid.
To add some more spice to his already impressive status in showbiz, he was actually in the marines by age 17, joining the corps in 1947. But you’d be disappointed if you thought he’d enlisted out of patriotism because, in his own words, he “felt bored with hanging around and went and joined the marines.” He went AWOL and got 30 days in the Brig with a $90 fine.
The Price Is Right former game show host used to be a US Navy pilot, and a very good one at that. He flew eight different types of aircraft while on active duty and was highly regarded by his peers as being among the very best.
In June 1943, after he completed his naval aviation cadet status, Barker reported for duty, where he was commissioned as an ensign. Over a period of 18 months, he was trained at eight different wartime locations, excelling nicely. He is one of those celebrities who has actually seen some real action and found he was a natural at it.
Before Pat Sajak started as host of the hit TV show, Wheel of Fortune, he was employed as a DJ for the armed forces radio. It wasn’t the experience he was looking for in active duty – having secretly been hopeful of more action – and this made him feel bad at times.
Sajak found it way too easy. He said “ I used to feel a bit guilty about my relatively soft duty. After all, I was billeted (lodged) in a hotel, and there were plenty of nice restaurants around. But I always felt a little better when I met guys who came into town from the field and thanked us for bringing them a little bit of home.”
American actor, James Stewart, wasn’t just another beautiful face in Hollywood. Before he made films that eventually became classics, Stewart enlisted before the US entered World War II as a US Army Air corp Soldier.
During his service, he was taught how to fly different types of aircraft before being transferred to England as the B-24 bomber squadron commander. He flew a total of 20 combat missions by the end of the war and was promoted to brigadier general in July of 1959. He continued to participate thereafter as a member the US Air Force reserve.
Starring in over 100 films throughout the course of his 60-year career, Charlton Heston was able to make a name for himself in Hollywood. He played the role of Moses in the Epic film The Ten Commandments, which would explain his aura of sophistication and passion for serving others. He enlisted in the army air force in 1942 and started off as a radio operator.
He made his way as an aerial gunner on a B-25 Mitchell, but never got combat experience, being assigned in the Alaskan Aleutian Islands. This turn of events was much to his disappointment as he was eager to fight and contribute to the war effort during WWII.