4 actors and actresses with military experience you many not know about

Armed Forces, Articles |

The Oscars aired this month, and people everywhere were commenting on who won what – and who wore what. At first glance, Hollywood life and military life seem to have nothing in common. However, many actors and actresses have lesser-known pasts as servicemembers. They aren't all action heroes, either. Many are comedians, sitcom stars and voice actors. Here are just four of the many actors and actresses who served their country:

An image of a microphone with text that reads, "Comedians, voice actors and game show hosts - former servicemembers come in all types."Many famous people are also former servicemembers.

1. Drew Carey

Star of the 1990s sitcom "The Drew Carey Show", former host of the U.S. version of the sketch comedy program "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" and current host of "The Price Is Right", Drew Carey may be one of the more surprising names on this list. Interestingly, his time in the armed forces is what led him to enter the world of comedy – and gave him his signature look of a crew cut and horn-rimmed glasses. He joined the Marine Corps Reserve in 1981 and served for six years. He needed a way to make more money during his tenure, and someone suggested performing standup. According to Military.com, Carey made around $10 per joke back then (he's worth approximately $165 million now).

2. Clark Gable

Unlike most veteran actors, Clark Gable enlisted in the middle of his career. In fact, he starred in his most famous role (Rhett Butler in "Gone with the Wind") three years before entering the Air Force on August 12, 1942. His decision was spawned by grief; Gable decided to enlist after his third wife tragically died in a plane crash. He served in England during WWII and returned to the U.S. in October 1943. Approximately nine months later, he was relieved from active duty and returned to acting.

3. Bea Arthur

Not much is known about Bea Arthur's time in the military. In fact, she previously denied her service during an interview. However, tabloid website The Smoking Gun found and exposed her military records, proving Arthur served in the Marines for 30 months.

Always a trailblazer, Arthur was one of the first members of the Women's Reserve. She started basic training in March 1943 and hoped for an assignment in ground aviation but instead worked as a typist and truck driver. According to her personality appraisal sheet, Arthur acted much like the characters she would play in the future: frank and argumentative.

4. James Earl Jones

One could say James Earl Jones' military career began during his college years. The famous actor attended the University of Michigan as a pre-med major. During his time at school, he enrolled and excelled in ROTC. Jones eventually realized medicine wasn't his passion and switched his major to drama in 1955.

After graduation, while the Korean War gained momentum, Jones was recruited to the Army. He expected to see combat, but his battalion was tasked with building a cold-weather command center in Colorado. 

Jones left the military for two primary reasons, according to a separate Military.com article. A superior officer suggested he take a break to decide whether he wanted to stay in the military full time, and Jones figured he could re-enlist if acting didn't pan out as a career. Needless to say, Jones had a very successful acting career and voiced some of the most famous characters in the film industry.