As we celebrate Veterans Day in November, we remember and honor the great sacrifices made by our nation’s veterans, including celebrity veterans.
You may know them best for their performances on the big screen or in the studio, but these celebrities have something else interesting on their resumes: military service. These veteran celebrity profiles are a reminder that vets are all around us. Please thank the veterans in your life this month and every month!
We’d also like to remind you that veterans over 65 years old may be eligible for both Medicare and Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits, which includes celebrity veterans. While Medicare and VA benefits do not work together, you are allowed to have both types of coverage. Visit our site to learn more about the Medicare program.
List of celebrity veterans
1. Paul Newman
Newman joined the Navy’s V-12 officer training program at Yale University in 1943. After shipping off to basic training, he became a rear-seat radioman and gunner for torpedo bombers. Before moving on to his acting career, Newman became a decorated Veteran and was awarded the American Area Campaign medal, the World War II Victory medal, and the Good Conduct medal.
Did you know? Due to his color blindness, Newman couldn’t fulfill his dream of becoming a pilot. This celebrity veteran did, however, become one of America’s most famous actors and philanthropists.
2. Bea Arthur
Before she became famous as Maude and as Dorothy on The Golden Girls, Arthur served during World War II and was one of the first members of the Women’s Reserve branch of the Marine Corps. She served as a both a typist and truck driver for the 30 months of her military career.
Did you know? During her interview for the Women’s Reserve, Arthur’s superiors observed that Arthur was “officious–but probably a good worker if she has her own way.” Perhaps this celebrity veteran was practicing for her famous role all along!
3. Leonard Nimoy
Originally from Boston, Massachusetts, Nimoy (famous as Spock from Star Trek) enlisted in the Army Reserves during the early 1950s. He earned the rank of sergeant before discharging in 1955. Not much is known of Nimoy’s service due to a fire that destroyed his military records.
Did you know? Nimoy demonstrated his passion for theater during his military service by writing, narrating, and emceeing shows for the Army Special Services branch in which he served.
4. Morgan Freeman
After becoming entranced by war movies and fighter pilots as a child, Freeman joined the Air Force in 1955 and served for three and a half years. He began as a radar technician and eventually had a chance to train as a fighter pilot. Freeman described his experience of sitting in a plane’s cockpit as having a “distinct feeling [he] was sitting in the nose of a bomb.” Freeman didn’t take to flying and left the Air Force in 1959 to become one of the most recognizable faces and voices in American film.
Did you know? Freeman’s ambitions to become a pilot were so strong that he passed up a Jackson State University scholarship in drama to enlist.
5. Willie Nelson
Born in Texas and raised in Arkansas, Nelson enlisted in the Air Force in 1950. Due to back problems, he was discharged for medical reasons after only nine months. His military service was short-lived, but Nelson has become a passionate advocate for veterans, voicing strong support for veteran advocacy organizations and for improved healthcare for service members.
Did you know? Nelson was born during the Great Depression and relied on his performance skills to avoid the chore of picking cotton.
Photos courtesy of Flickr.
Celebrity information provided by Military.com.
Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed this information.