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Hollywood Stars and eir Service in the Marine Corps - page 2 / 4





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(1998). Sterling Hayden (1916-1968), a schooner com- mander at age 22, was established film star and a grad- uate of the British Commando Training School, but was injured in a parachute jump and discharged. He then en- listed as a boot in the Corps in 1942, changed his name to John Hamilton, and served in the Balkans during World War II commanding 400 Yugoslav partisans in guerrilla warfare against the Nazis. A flirtation with Marxism nearly ended his movie career but he cooperated with the House Unamerican Activities Commiee, and had a dis- tinguished career in motion pictures, including the role of General Jack D. Ripper in Dr. Strangelove (1964).

Louis Hayward (1909-1968), a star of swashbucklers in the 1930s who became a naturalized American citizen on 6 December 1941, joined the Corps in 1942 and became a combat cinematographer, filming With the Marines at Tarawa (1944), the Academy Award best documentary for that year. e trauma of that invasion led to de- pression and a complete physical collapse, but Hayward starred in twenty films and three television series. Child actor Brian Keith served as a rear gunner in a SBD Dou- glas Dauntless dive bomber during missions against the Japanese naval base at Rabaul during World War II, and returned to the stage, radio, films, and television. He has made fiy films and starred in nine television series.

Lee Marvin (1924-1987), a true “wild one,” enlisted in August 1942, served in the Marshall Islands (Eniwe- tok and Kwajalein), and was in the June 1944 Saipan in- vasion force. His company was ambushed and only six of 241 men survived. Marvin was, as he stated “shot in the ass” (a 9x3x3-inch wound), hospitalized 13 months, and discharged. Disabled and underemployed, he dis- covered summer stock acting, and progressed to Broad- way plays, and motion pictures. For Cat Ballou (1965) he earned the best actor Academy Award, starred in tele- vision’s M-Squad, and the classic war films e Dirty Dozen (1967), director John Boorman’s Hell in the Pacific (1968) with Toshiro Mifune, and e Big Red One (1979). He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery beside Joe Louis, the world heavyweight boxing champion.

Multilingual Pierre “Peter” Ortiz (1913-1988), of French-Spanish parentage, had an extraordinary military record and was the most decorated man to serve in to OSS. He spent five years with the French Foreign Legion in North Africa in the 1930s and rejoined the Legion in 1939, although his ship was torpedoed in the Atlantic be- fore he reached Morocco. Captured by the Germans in North Africa in 1941 he became a POW in Austria, es- caped, made his way through Portugal and back to the United States, enlisting in the Marine Corps in June 1942.


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Ortiz was sent to Morocco where he was wounded and promoted to Captain before being sent to France by the OSS to work with the maquis in 1944. A German baal- ion at Centron, France trapped Ortiz and four of his men, but he negotiated his own surrender in order to spare ret- ribution by the Gestapo against the village. Again he es- caped, was recaptured, escaped again and finally “liber- ated himsel” in April 1945. Ortiz was in training for OSS work in Indochina when the war ended. Two films (13 Rue Madeleine, 1946, starring Jimmy Cagney, and Oper- ation Secret, 1952) were modeled aer his exploits, and he worked in a dozen films prior to his death in 1988.

World War I Marine veteran and comedian Bob Burns (1891-1956), inventor of an unusual musical instrument he called the “bazooka,” had that name “commandeered” by the U.S. Army in 1943 to designate its new, portable antitank rocket launcher. Macdonald Carey (1913-1994), known in the post-war era as a stage, radio, and televi- sion soap opera star, appeared in the 1942 film Wake Is- land. Inspired, he and other cast members actually joined the Corps immediately thereaer, and he served in the South Pacific. Barry Corbin, son of a Texas state senator, served as a Marine from 1962-1963 but “never le Cali- fornia.” His distinguished theater, film, and television ca- reer as an actor is enhanced by his screenwriting abilities, and he has fond memories of the Corps. Brian Dennehy, a student-athlete at Columbia University, joined in 1962 and served on Okinawa; he later discovered acting in the- ater, motion pictures, and television. Actor and writer Bradford Dillman, a Yale literature and drama graduate, enlisted in the USNR in 1948, was selected for OCS, and as a Marine 2nd Lieutenant was assigned to teach com- munication skills to Marine veterans rather than being sent to Korea in 1951.

Gene Hackman, a high-school dropout who served two hitches in the Marines and le as a PFC in 1954, had the distinction of serving in China in 1948-1949 keeping Japanese war materiel out of Communist hands. He later aspired to the office of U.S. Secretary of State in the film No Way Out (1987). George Roy Hill, a Yale history and music graduate, joined the Corps in 1943, earned avia- tor’s wings, and piloted transports in the South Pacific. Recalled to duty in 1951, he flew F4F Panther jet fighters during the Korean War. As a story editor and film direc- tor, he is known for his stellar direction of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and e Sting (1973). Har- vey Keitel was a Marine enlistee in 1956 and served in Beirut before embarking on his film career (15 so far, in- cluding Taxi Driver, 1976, and Pulp Fiction, 1994). Bill Lundigan (1914-1975) had been a pre-law student and radio announcer, and was a film star before joining in

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