What do the following celebrities have in common: Jack Benny, Humphrey Bogart, Paul Newman, Henry Fonda, Gene Kelly, and Bill Cosby? Answer: they are all U.S. Navy Veterans, many seeing combat in World Wars I and II. The lives of movie stars are often more closely followed than those of political leaders, sports figures, or sometimes one's own relatives, but even the most avid film buffs might be surprised to learn their favorite actors served in one of this country's sea services and distinguished themselves above and beyond the call of duty. In this book, filled with fascinating and revealing profiles of more than fifty celebrities, many readers will discover for the first time the patriotic contributions and sacrifices actors have made in the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard from World War I to Vietnam.
Henry Fonda, Humphrey Bogart, Robert Montgomery, and Ernest Borgnine are among many stars who have portrayed naval personnel on film, but do their fans know that Fonda won a Bronze Star for his actions during Pacific naval encounters, that Bogart dropped a fleeing prisoner with his .45, that Montgomery was awarded a Bronze Star for his courageous performance of duty during the Normandy invasion, or that Borgnine hunted U-boats off America's East Coast? A virtual Who's Who, this entertaining yet historically accurate and complete account brings to life these and dozens of other stars' naval and coast guard service backgrounds and film careers, drawn from interviews, diaries, letters, and official military and film industry archives.
Find out how John Howard won a Navy Cross, how Navy Hellcat ace Wayne Morris downed seven Japanese planes, how UDT frogman Aldo Ray reconned the Okinawa landing beaches, how Eddie Albert saved more than a dozen wounded marines on the bloody reefs of Tarawa, and how Hedy Lamarr patented World War II communications anti-jamming technology still in use today. Rarely have movie stars' real lives been portrayed in such detail, including interesting anecdotes from their Hollywood careers and never before published photographs from their military careers, including Paul Newman as a Navy radioman/gunner who flew in torpedo bombers during World War II.
Author James Wise, a retired captain in the U.S. Navy who served as a naval aviator and intelligence officer, is the coauthor of Shooting the War: The Memoir and Photographs of a U-Boat Officer in World War II and author of Sole Survivors of the Sea. He lives in Alexandria, Virginia.
"A powerful piece of work."—Ernest Borgnine
"A damned good read and also a reminder that wars are fought someplace other than on the screen."—Paul Newman
"Exciting new evidence that the acting profession is best practiced by those who have known firsthand the extremes of life’s experiences."
Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.
"What did you do in the war?’ is still a hot question when its answers come from celebrities. Wise and Rehill’s compendium offers a sunny look at the sea services careers of U.S. movie actors. . . . A volume as colorful as black and white can be and a vital addition to the movie-star trivia shelves."
"Full of little-known facts . . . a fun read."
--Wings of Gold
"Highly recommended. A fascinating account of the lives of more than fifty movie celebrities who served in the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard."
--World War II Times
"Even the most avid film buffs might be surprised to learn that their favorite actors served in one of this country’s sea services and distinguished themselves above and beyond the call of duty."
"A browser’s delight . . . contains nuggets of gossip, information, and an occasional surprise."
--Naval Aviation News
"A well-researched, tightly written book on a unique subject."
--American Reference Books Annual
"Truly deserves the traditional naval plaudit ‘Well done!’ Historians and film buffs alike should find the book appealing.":
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