Can You Identify These Iconic People Who Served in the Military?


By: Olivia Cantor

7 Min Quiz

Image: Wiki Commons by Tarponspringshund

About This Quiz

Actors in Hollywood sometimes didn't really plan on becoming thespians on the silver screen or the small screen. Many musicians and filmmakers also thought of pursuing different careers before becoming internationally recognized entertainment figures.

Many of these celebs went to school and pursued a higher education degree. Some worked in other professions, putting that education to use. Others may have worked in a variety of industries using different skill sets. And yes, there are those who thought of becoming soldiers and signed up for the military, while others were drafted into service.

Can you imagine your favorite celebrities as real-life soldiers? Some of these men and women actually saw action on the battlefields in certain wars, and some were even honored and decorated to boot. Unbelievable, right?

For this special quiz, we unearthed established icons and budding idols who have had some kind of military service in their lives. It's fun to see who's who here, and it's even more fun to guess who they are!

So come on soldier, up and at 'em! Let's do this quiz!

The King also humbly served in the Army. Can you name this "Hound Dog?"

Perhaps the most famous draft of all time is when the U.S. Army drafted the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Priestly, in 1958. He was assigned to 3rd Armored Divisions and rose to the rank of sergeant. During his time there, he refused to have any special treatment and asked to be treated as a regular soldier.


Who is this former Mr. Universe who also happens to be a veteran of the Austrian Armed Forces?

Before he became famous as "Conan the Barbarian," Arnold Schwarzenegger had to complete mandatory service in the Austrian Armed Forces when he was 18 years old. He spent a week in jail, though, because he went AWOL to join -- and win -- the Junior Mr. Europe contest.


Before he became a publisher, he was a cartoonist for Army newspapers. Who was this men's magazine mogul?

People are surprised that "Playboy" publisher Hugh Hefner was a military veteran. He enlisted in 1944 and earned a sharpshooter's badge to boot. He also made cartoons for military publications, was discharged in 1946 and would go on to publish "Playboy" magazine's first issue in 1953.


He was superbly famous in the '80s for his moustache, his good looks and his detective show. Can you name him?

Tom Selleck received a draft notice during the Vietnam War era, and he opted to serve in the California National Guard. He served in the 160th Infantry Regiment, and his good looks were put to use when they featured him in recruitment posters.


This Air Force vet has played God, a prisoner and Batman's inventor-scientist butler, and he's also a famous voice-over narrator. Who is he?

Morgan Freeman always loved the idea of flying. He joined the Air Force in 1955 and became a radar repairman. His passions changed while in the service, though, and he left in 1959.


This outspoken veteran became a champion boxer in the movies and a member of a mercenary team. Who is he?

Mr. T served in the Military Police Corps of the U.S. Army. Not surprisingly, he was a reputable bouncer and security specialist before becoming an actor. He gained wider popularity by becoming part of "The A-Team" TV series.


At the movies, he parted the Red Sea. With the military, he was in the Army. Can you guess who?

Charlton Heston enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Forces in 1944, serving for two years as a radio operator and a gunner in a B-25 bomber with the 77th Bombardment Squadron. He became a staff sergeant later on. He was still in active service when the U.S. dropped the atom bombs over Japan.


This western hero in reel life was a vet in real life. Who is this director-actor-producer?

Clint Eastwood was drafted into the Army during the Korean War. However, records show that he spent most of that time as a lifeguard and swimming instructor at Fort Ord in northern California. He survived a plane crash while in the service by swimming more than a mile to reach the shore.


This Scottish Royal Navy vet would later play the role of England's top-secret agent. Do you know who this is?

Sean Connery enlisted in the Royal Navy, but he was later discharged on medical grounds due to a stomach ulcer. Records show that he enlisted when he was merely 15 years old and served on the HMS Formidable.


This decorated Vietnam War veteran also garnered honors for writing and directing Vietnam War films. Who is he?

Acclaimed filmmaker Oliver Stone enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1967 and was wounded twice while in action. As a soldier, he is the recipient of the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and the Combat Infantryman Badge. As a filmmaker, he's directed "Platoon," "Born on the Fourth of July" and "Heaven and Earth."


This do-gooder classic Hollywood cinematic actor was a high-ranking veteran. Do you remember him?

James Stewart's family actually had military roots that go all the way back to the U.S. Civil War era. For his own service record, he enlisted in 1941, became a pilot instructor and went on combat missions. He retired as a brigadier general and was promoted to major general on the retired list.


Before he became a wrestler, this veteran trained doing underwater demolitions. Who is this huge guy?

Professional wrestler Jesse Ventura served in the U.S. Navy from 1969 to 1975. He was assigned to an underwater demolition team during the Vietnam War, but he never saw combat. He also became a politician later on, and served Minnesota as its 38th governor.


Who is this lean, brooding action star who was also a veteran Marine?

Steve McQueen joined the Marines in 1947. His rebellious streak came out in full, and he was demoted multiple times. He eventually reformed his ways, becoming an honor guard for the presidential yacht for President Truman. He also saved the lives of five fellow soldiers during an Arctic exercise gone wrong.


Who was this iconic old Hollywood noir movie actor who was also a Navy vet?

Humphrey Bogart was actually from a well-off family, but certain circumstances led him to enlist in the Navy in 1918. He was a good seaman, and his military career was spent ferrying soldiers between the U.S. and Europe. He was discharged in 1919.


Can you guess who this Korean War veteran is, who became a famous medical corpsman on TV?

Alan Alda is best known for his role as Hawkeye Piece in the military-themed TV series "M*A*S*H", where he served as the captain and surgeon. In real life, though, he served for six months in the Korean War as a gunnery officer.


Can you name this "small" but talented actor, a former child star, who was a World War II veteran?

Mickey Rooney already had a fulfilling career as a young actor before he got into the Army in 1944. He became a sharpshooter and was trained for chemical warfare. He spent much of his time entertaining the troops overseas, too.


This young veteran served in the Marines years before he became a troubled young Jedi. Who is he?

Years before he became Kylo Ren in "Star Wars," Adam Driver was in the US Marine Corps as an 81mm mortar man. Unfortunately, he suffered a serious noncombat injury before he could see action. He then shifted gears and became an actor.


This British actor served in the Korean War before serving Bruce Wayne as his loyal butler. Who is this gentleman?

Michael Caine served in the British Army's Royal Fusiliers from 1952 to 1954 and was active during the Korean War. His experiences there gave him a lifelong opposition to communism, and he also supports the return of national service for his country.


This Yankee Clipper was a vet, too. Can you identify this baseball legend?

New York Yankees legend Joe Dimaggio enlisted in 1943 and became a staff sergeant, assigned to be a physical education instructor. Some sources said that he adjusted poorly to life in the service due to some personal issues, and he was discharged in 1945 because of chronic stomach ulcers.


This vet may have left his heart in San Francisco, but he's loyal to the Army, too. Who is this crooner?

Tony Bennett was drafted into the Army in 1944 and served until 1946. He had run-ins with superior officers, which led to some demotions. He served with the 63rd "Blood and Fire" Infantry Division in France and Germany before he was transferred to special services and ended up singing in a military band.


This former combat instructor of the Israel Defense Forces later became an Amazon warrior. Do you know who this is?

The Israel Defense Forces requires two years of mandatory service for Israeli citizens. Gal Gadot finished hers after competing in the Miss Universe pageant. Her physical preparedness, familiarity with martial arts, and knowledge of weapons are now coming in handy for her action-packed film roles.


"Excuse me while I kiss the sky," said this rock star vet. Who was this Woodstock musician?

Rock star Jimi Hendrix enlisted in 1961 and was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division. He completed his training and got the "Screaming Eagle" patch. He met his bandmate Billy Cox while in military service, which helped set the stage for his future music career.


Who is this celebrity therapist, who, despite being a rather short person, was in training as a sniper of the Israeli Defense Force?

Karola Ruth Siegal lost her family in World War II, and she became part of a group that would become the Israel Defense Forces. She was an excellent sniper there. Serious leg injuries due to exploding shrapnel changed the course of her life, and she became Dr. Ruth, the renowned sex therapist.


One of the legendary country singers of his generation was a veteran, too. Do you know him?

Country music legend Johnny Cash enlisted in the Air Force in 1950, and he was assigned to the 12th Radio Squadron Mobile of the Air Force Security Service. He actually intercepted Soviet Army Morse code communications, while at the same time forming his first band.


This heavyweight vet was the undefeated champion of his time. Who was this boxing great?

Boxing legend Rocky Marciano was drafted into the Army in 1943 and was assigned to the 150th Combat Engineers. He helped bring supplies across the English Channel during Worl War II, and he actually started boxing while he was in the Army.


Who was this Mr. Show Business who took a break from performing to serve his country?

When Sammy Davis, Jr. was drafted in the Army in 1943, he was shocked to see how intense racism was in the military. He was eventually transferred to an entertainment regiment, where he learned that his innate talents could cross social and cultural barriers.


"The Hustler" actor was also a vet. Can you name this blue-eyed idol?

Paul Newman enlisted in the Navy in 1943, but being colorblind prevented him from becoming a pilot. He was assigned to various posts such as being a radioman and a gunner for a flight crew. He was discharged in 1946 and honed his skills as an actor instead.


Who is this hippie country singer who served in the U.S. Air Force?

Willie Nelson may be the counterculture cowboy, but he's a true patriot at heart. He served in the Air Force for nine months before he was discharged because of back problems. His time in service was important to him, and he publicly supports military veterans in many ways.


This American actor and veteran was part of the "Magnificent Seven" when he didn't have a "Death Wish." Who was this action hero?

Charles Bronson enlisted in the Air Force in 1943, serving in the 760th Flexible Gunnery Training Squadron before being assigned as an aerial gunner in a B-29 Superfortress bomber in the 61st Bombardment Squadron. He flew 24 missions and received a Purple Heart for injuries received in battle.


This director-comedian known for "Blazing Saddles" also knew life in the military. Who is he?

Mel Brooks was drafted into the Army during World War II while he was finishing a degree in psychology. He was assigned to the 1104 Engineer Combat Battalion, where part of his job was to defuse land mines!


Onscreen, he played an officer in the military film "The Bridge on the River Kwai." Offscreen, he was a Navy vet. Can you name him?

Shakespearean actor Alec Guinness joined the Royal Navy Voluntary Reserve in 1941, putting a temporary halt to his acting career. He then commanded a landing craft during the Allied invasion of Sicily.


He may have felt "The Grapes of Wrath" while in the Navy. Who was this Hollywood head of an acting family?

Henry Fonda enlisted in the Navy during World War II, saying he did not want to be just portraying the war from a movie set. He was assigned as a quartermaster on the USS Satterlee before shifting to Air Combat Intelligence in the Central Pacific combat theater.


"Some Like It Hot," and some like to serve in the Navy, too. Can you guess who?

Tony Curtis enlisted after the Pearl Harbor bombing happened. He joined the submarine forces of the U.S. Navy and served aboard the USS Proteus. He saw the surrender of Japan in Tokyo Bay from the bridge of his ship.


This hippie guitarist icon actually served in the Army. Can you name him?

Yep, the Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia did join the Army in his youth. However, his uncooperative demeanor and habit of going AWOL got him discharged in 1960 after only nine months in service. He tried to smuggle his guitar in there, too.


Guess who tried to act his way out of the Army, and later appeared in "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner." Can you guess?

Sidney Poitier enlisted in the Army in 1943 and was assigned to a mental hospital as an attendant. He later tried to appear insane to get out of the service but was supposedly forced to tell the truth when they were about to give him shock treatments. That acting talent came in handy later.


She was a sassy actress in "All in the Family" and in her own show called "Maude." Who was this imposing vet?

For some reason, Bea Arthur denied being a veteran for most of her life. But records showed that she was indeed a typist and a truck driver in the U.S. Marine Corps Women's Reserve. She actually reached the rank of staff sergeant and was honorably discharged in 1944.


He would later be one of "The Dirty Dozen," as well as a lollipop-sucking detective. Who was this bald but beautiful man?

Telly Savalas served in the army from 1943 to 1946 as a part of a medical training battalion. He received a Purple Heart for his services to the country, but not much is known about his time in the military because of missing records.


Who was this veteran who would later have a lead role with James Dean in "Giant?"

Rock Hudson enlisted in the Navy at age 18, in 1944. He was sent to Samar, in the Philippines, to join Aviation Repair and Overhaul Unit 2. He returned to the U.S. and was discharged in 1946.


This World War II vet played vampires, sorcerers and Sherlock Holmes. Can you name him?

Christopher Lee's service record actually reads like a movie character's outline! According to sources, he was officially a Royal Air Force liaison officer, but there have been hints that he also worked in certain clandestine missions. Some experts actually doubt this claim, though.


What was the name of this man who was a drill instructor before he became the meanest "Sarge" onscreen?

R. Lee Ermey was a real-life Marine, and he was assigned as a drill instructor from 1965 to 1967. He was then assigned overseas, splitting time between Okinawa, Japan and South Vietnam. His role as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in "Full Metal Jacket" is still the measure for all such roles since then.


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