Actors Who Where There.....In Real Life Then In Movies.
Jack Warden, Merchant Marine, US Navy, US Army - Movie Credits included Darby's Rangers, The Thin Red Line, From Here to Eternity, That Kind of Woman, You're in the Navy Now, The Frogmen, Red Ball Express, Run Silent Run Deep, and The Presidio.
Warden worked as a nightclub bouncer, tugboat deckhand and lifeguard before joining the United States Navy in 1938. He was stationed for three years in China with the Yangtze River Patrol.
In 1941, he joined the United States Merchant Marine but he quickly tired of the long convoy runs, and in 1942 he moved to the United States Army, where he served as a paratrooper in the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, with the 101st Airborne Division in World War II. In 1944, on the eve of the D-Day invasion (in which many of his friends would die), Warden, now a Staff Sergeant, shattered his leg when he landed in a tree during a night-time practice jump in England. He spent almost eight months in the hospital recuperating, during which time he read a Clifford Odets play and decided to become an actor. Ironically, Warden would later portray a paratrooper from the 101st's rivals – the 82nd Airborne Division – in That Kind of Woman.
After leaving the military, he moved to New York City and studied acting on the G.I. Bill. He joined the company of the Dallas Alley Theatre and performed on stage for five years. In 1948 he made his television debut on the anthology series, The Philco Television Playhouse and Studio One. His first film role, uncredited, was in the 1951 film You're in the Navy Now, a film which also featured the screen debuts of Lee Marvin and Charles Bronson.
From Mark Bando's website: Tom's (Fracassi) former platoon Sgt, Jack Lebzelter, was a stocky redhead from Newark, N.J. Jack left the outfit just before Normandy, after landing on an English fence on a practice night jump and severely breaking his leg. Lebzelter's men had laughed when he announced that after the war he intended to act in movies. Jack Lebzelter now resides in Malibu Beach, CA and is better known to movie fans as Jack Warden. Although his paratrooper buddies phone him from the 501st regimental reunion each year, he refuses to meet them at the reunions. He feels he doesn't belong, because he had to leave the 501 before combat. His buddies have the utmost pride and affection for him, and wish he would attend. Life is short, but such is Jack Warden's personal code of honor.