Today we honor the brave souls who have courageously served our country. Thank you for your selfless service that protects our freedom and inspires hope for generations to come. On this Veterans Day, we wanted to highlight some of the military veterans whose careers lie on the stage and screen. Below are seven men and women who became producers, actors, and directors in the entertainment industry after serving our country in the armed forces.
James Earl Jones
- Served from 1953-1955: First Lieutenant of the 38th Regimental Combat Team (United States Army)
- Film Credits Include: Star Wars, The Lion King, The Hunt for Red October
- Broadway Credits include: The Gin Game, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Fences
- Served from 1956-1958: Paramedic at the Valley Forge Army Hospital in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania (United States Army)
- Film Credits Include: Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, Young Frankenstein, The Producers
- Broadway Credits Include: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The White House
Bea Arthur (Bernice Frankel)
- Served from 1943 - 1945: Member of the Women’s Reserve of the United States Marine Corps
- Television/Film Credits Include: The Golden Girls, Maude, Mame
- Broadway Credits Include: Fiddler on the Roof, Bea Arthur on Broadway, Mame
- Served from 2002 - 2005: An 81 mm mortar man of the Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines.
- Film Credits Include: Star Wars, Paterson, BlacKkKlansman
- Broadway Credits Include: Burn This, Man and Boy, Mrs. Warren’s Profession
- Served from 1955-59: a radar technician of the United States Air Force
- Film Credits Include: Driving Miss Daisy, Invictus, Shawshank Redemption
- Broadway Credits Include: The Country Girl, The Gospel at Colonus, Purlie
- Served from 1951-1953: a lifeguard at Fort Ord in California (United States Army)
- Film Credits (Acting): Million Dollar Baby, Bridges of Madison County, Gran Torino
- Film Credits (Directing): Sully, American Sniper, Jersey Boys
Although this man is not an American actor or director, Bob Ross’ instructional television show ran for 11 years from 1983 to 1994.
- Served from 1961-1981: First Sergeant of the US Air Force Clinic at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska
- Television Credits: The Joy of Painting